Auston Matthews and William Nylander: There were a couple of dominant shifts for these two in the first two periods, but in the third they took over, it was like they had the puck on a string. Certainly part of this was Ottawa sitting back, but part of it was just the sheer skill and will of 34 and 29, as well as their unreal on ice chemistry. I wonder if they finish each other’s sentences.
Mitch Marner: Marner has by all accounts struggled so far this season, however, tonight when he got a chance to play up in the lineup a bit once again, it seemed like the jump and swagger came back into his game, so he ends up in this category, more for seeming to find his mojo than anything he actually did on the ice.
Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev: Gardiner may have had a couple of redeeming offensive plays, but this pairing combined for at least four brutal giveaways, one of which ended up in the back of the net. These two cannot have games like this and expect this team to be successful.
The Leafs in the first two periods: This team just could not get anything going, turning the puck over at every chance, giving Frederik Andersen absolutely no support. That’s why they end up in this category and he doesn’t, if not for him making spectacular saves, it could easily have been 7 or 8-0 going into the third period. This team will need a much better effort on Monday if they hope to beat the Kings.
Mike Babcock: Auston Matthews has just electrified the crowd, the Leafs cut the Lead to 3-2, Ottawa has called a timeout, and for the faceoff at center, Babcock puts out…you guessed it, the fourth line. Now it should be noted the this is not the reason that the Sens scored seven seconds later. That was a brutal giveaway by Nikita Zaitsev, however it still makes absolutely zero sense. After a timeout, Ottawa is obviously going to put their big guns out for the faceoff. The Matthews line scored, then there was a full timeout, so why not come back with a rested Kadri line? Mike Babcock is the best coach in the game, but he still makes mistakes, and it’s ok to be critical of those mistakes. Tonight was not his best night as a coach in the NHL.
The faceoff police: It seems as though the crackdown on face off violations is getting worse, not better, and tonight was a pathetic parade of one player after another getting tossed out of the circle. It makes the game hard to watch, but it wasn’t the only thing that did that tonight.
Guy Boucher’s boring system: The reason there seemed to be more players tossed than normal, could have been because there were more faceoffs than normal, due to Boucher’s unbelievably boring, frustrating system, which emphasizes clogging up open ice, resulting in a myriad of offsides and pucks going out of play off of errant sticks. Boucher’s system is about as exciting as if a basketball team went up 10 points in first quarter and resorted to the hack-a-Shaq technique the rest of the game. It’s terrible to watch, no wonder the Sens had trouble selling out their own building during the playoffs. It’s an absolute shame that Erik Karlsson, one of the most dynamic players of our generation, has be play under such a stifling coach.
GOALS BY PERIOD
SCORERS BY PERIOD
Ottawa Goal 12:01 — N. Thompson (1) assisted by A. Burrows and L. Brown
Ottawa Goal 14:20 — R. Dzingel (3) assisted by E. Karlsson and C. Wideman
Ottawa Goal 19:48 — D. Brassard (5) assisted by B. Ryan and E. Karlsson
Toronto Goal 6:00 — J. van Riemsdyk (5) assisted by R. Hainsey and C. Brown
Toronto Goal 8:34 — A. Matthews (7) assisted by W. Nylander and R. Hainsey
Ottawa Goal 8:41 — M. Stone (4)
Toronto Goal 12:52 — W. Nylander (3) (power play) assisted by J. Gardiner and A. Matthews
Ottawa Goal 16:30 — D. Brassard (6) assisted by M. Stone and E. Karlsson
Ottawa Goal 18:21 — M. Stone (5) assisted by D. Brassard and D. Phaneuf
SHOTS ON GOAL BY PERIOD