Auston Matthews, Zach Hyman, and William Nylander: Seriously, I’m just going to automatically copy and paste this into this category every night to save myself time. All around the puck, all kinds of shot attempts, two goals for Matthews, and several shifts in the offensive zone where they cycled the Habs into oblivion. The Habs for their part, managed to carry the game to OT and gain a point, while holding this line to just two goals, because they were able to be so disruptive defensively, constantly getting sticks in shooting and passing lanes. This is one game where I think shot attempts probably paint a much clearer picture of what actually happened than shots on goal do. This line was absolutely dominant.
Naz, Patty, and Leo: If the Leafs have a checking line, I guess this would be it, and they spent a lot of the night, starting behind the play and working it the other way, a lot of times ultimately resulting in nothing, other than on the Marleau goal, but they were able to reverse position on ice and force the Habs to skate all the way down the sheet again. They were also able to create a goal for Marleau through relentless forechecking.
Third Period Freddie Andersen: The Leafs needed Freddie to have a big third period, and he did, stopping double digit Montreal shots and holding the game tied, while the Leafs didn’t seem to be able to get much going outside of a couple of dominant shifts by the Matthews line. Andersen seemed to be in the right place at the right time a lot in the third, but hopefully a game like this buoys his confidence which has seemed a bit shaken at times.
Morgan Rielly, Nikita Zaitsev and Jake Gardiner: I put them in this category specifically because I don’t know how many times on a Habs clearing attempt, one of these three managed to hold the line, and get the puck in deep for some more cycling in the offensive zone. The didn’t create much offense, but this trio was very good at keeping the puck from going the wrong way.
First and Second Period Freddie Andersen: In the first two periods, Freddie just seemed shaky, even when he made saves, he didn’t do it with the confidence that he had last year, and any type of difficult save, like a tip or a screen? Forget it. Something seems to be going with Freddie so far this year, causing him to overplay some shots and just generally not be the same goalie he was after getting healthy last year. I’m sure it’s something the coaching staff and goalie whisperer can figure out. After all, goalies are voodoo, right?
Tyler Bozak and JvR: I know, JvR scored a goal, but it bounced right too him and Carey Price didn’t even have time to react. This is about the fourth game in a row where these two have contributed offensively, and I’ve just hated their game overall. Mitch Marner gets a pass on this one, because although he hasn’t exactly been spectacular this year, he’s at least looked like he’s trying a heck of a lot harder than his linemates.
Mike Babcock: Mike Babcock is without question the best head coach in the NHL, which is why it completely boggles my mind that multiple times tonight, he came out of a TV timeout with his fourth line and third defensive pairing on the ice to take a defensive zone faceoff, without having the benefit of last change to get the matchup he wants. The only explanation I could come up with is that he’s hoping they can survive whatever matchup they get, and create a mismatch with one of the Leafs three headed monster lines against the Habs fourth line. He got away with it tonight, but this is something that could burn the Leafs in the future if it continues.
GOALS BY PERIOD
SCORERS BY PERIOD
Montreal Goal 2:19 — J. Petry (1) assisted by J. Drouin and A. Lehkonen
Toronto Goal 7:32 — J. van Riemsdyk (4)
Toronto Goal 8:16 — A. Matthews (4)
Montreal Goal 16:49 — A. Galchenyuk (1) (power play) assisted by C. Hudon
Montreal Goal 11:33 — J. Drouin (1) assisted by K. Alzner
Toronto Goal 12:40 — P. Marleau (3) assisted by N. Kadri
Toronto Goal 0:48 — A. Matthews (5) assisted by W. Nylander
SHOTS ON GOAL
MIKE BABCOCK POST GAME