After a disappointing shootout loss to the LA Kings last night, the Leafs travelled down the 405 freeway to meet the Anaheim Ducks. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Scott Pilgrim vs the World, but the main character has to fight his girl’s 7 evil exes in order to date her. That’s essentially the situation the Leafs faced on Friday night in Anaheim, except it was their own evil exes that had the opportunity to vanquish their hopes, as Anaheim employs, Randy Carlyle, Dave Nonis, Jonathan Bernier, and Jonas Enroth who are former Leafs, as well as Rickard Rakell and John Gibson, who were drafted by the Ducks with picks that initially belonged to the Leafs. Early on it looked like it was working. After hanging with the Ducks for about 10 minutes, Jake Gardiner, who certainly didn’t have the best start of his career, got beat by Chris Wagner, who fed Rickard Rakell for a one timer and a 1-0 Ducks lead. The Leafs would rally however, and Zach Hyman would tip home a Nikita Zaitsev point shot to tie the game at 1 despite a lengthy offside review that was deemed inconclusive. The first period would end 1-0 despite several good chances by JvR on a late powerplay.
The Leafs would get back to back power plays as Corey Perry took two undisciplined penalties, giving him 3 for the game. Perry also wins the award for best facial expression following being penalized after the first penalty, a high stick on Matt Hunwick. The Leafs would capitalize on the 2nd of the penalties as a Tyler Bozak shot hit Nazem Kadri in the leg, Kadri grabbed the rebound and put it past Bernier to make it 2-1 Leafs. However, the lead would be short lived as two rare mistakes from the Leafs rookies led to two goals in 16 seconds for the Ducks. First Mitch Marner tried a cross ice backwards feed to Alexey Marchenko that was picked off by Ryan Kesler, leading to a sequence that eventually led to a Jakob Silfverberg goal. Then Connor Brown would fail to clear the zone, leading to Rakell’s 2nd goal of the night and a 3-2 lead for the Ducks which they would carry into the 3rd.
The Leafs came out and had several scoring chances, including a Tyler Bozak shot that would beat Jonathan Bernier, and was trickling towards the goal when future Leafs Josh Manson managed to clear it away to the corner. As has often happened to the Leafs this year, after coming out and getting several chances to no avail, the Ducks managed to score on their next trip down the ice as Ryan Getzlaf fed Sami Vatanen for a one timer that eluded Curtis McElhinney to make it 4-2 Ducks. Aside from one goal mouth scramble, the Leafs never seriously threatened after that and would drop a 5-2 decision after Patrick Eaves added an empty netter for his first goal as a Duck. The Leafs are off until Tuesday when they’ll take on the Detroit Red Wings at home with another crucial 2 points at stake in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Anaheim Goal 10:40 R. Rakell (25) assisted by C. Wagner and L. Shaw
Toronto Goal 16:15 Z. Hyman (9) assisted by N. Zaitsev and W. Nylander
Toronto Goal 5:53 N. Kadri (26) (power play) assisted by T. Bozak and M. Marner
Anaheim Goal 9:41 J. Silfverberg (18) assisted by R. Kesler and A. Cogliano
Anaheim Goal 9:57 R. Rakell (26) assisted by H. Lindholm and N. Ritchie
Anaheim Goal 1:19 S. Vatanen (3) assisted by R. Getzlaf
Anaheim Goal 18:46 P. Eaves (22) assisted by R. Getzlaf and S. Vatanen
SHOTS ON GOAL
MIKE BABCOCK POST GAME SCRUM