NEW YORK RANGERS (5) vs MAPLE LEAFS (8)
The Fourth Line: Matt Martin directly contributed to the scoring of the first and fourth goals in the first period with terrific forechecking/making the opponent fear for their lives, Dominic Moore scored the opening goal and was absolutely dominant in the face off circle, and Connor Brown was a demon on the forecheck as well as the penalty kill. If the Leafs can get fourth line contributions like this on a regular basis, they could be contenders.
Zach Hyman: Hyman has been known for being a great forechecker, but having hands of stone. He was definitely the former on this night, but he also managed to score two first period goals, including a beautiful one where he deked out Henrik Lundqvist. As for his forechecking, there was a point where a Rangers player tried to battle him for a puck one on one against the boards, and I actually laughed out loud and said, “aw, that’s cute, he thinks he can outmuscle Hyman.”
William Nylander: Nylander was around the puck all night, so much so that we thought he scored two goals, and I’m still not sure that the first one, credited to Zach Hyman, wasn’t last touched by Nylander. It’s seemed that Nylander has been as dynamic as just about any player in the league since the All Star break last year, he’s creative and strong on the puck and wherever he goes, chances follow. Nylander and Auston Matthews should rival any duo in the league for years to come.
Nikita Zaitsev: Zaitsev scored a goal, and set up another, but what I’ll remember most about his game tonight were a couple of defensive plays in the third period, with the game tied where it appeared that the Rangers were about to have dangerous scoring chances, and Zaitsev managed to break up the rush and keep the Leafs in the game.
The 25/42/16 line: This line rebounded well in the 3rd period, but they were atrocious in the first two. Tyler Bozak in particular looked like he’d rather be anywhere but on the ice at the Air Canada Center, JvR didn’t seem like he WAS on the ice at the Air Canada Center, and Mitch Marner, despite trying to make up for his teammates’ deficiencies, couldn’t seem to hold onto his stick to save his life. The came to life with an amazing shift halfway through the third period that led to Bozak scoring the tiebreaking goal. This line will have to be better in order for the Leafs to get where they want to go this year.
The Second Period: Not sure what on earth was in the the Leafs’ orange slices between the first and second periods, but they were brutal in the second, taking careless penalty after careless penalty, and then not being able to kill off a penalty to save their lives. The penalty kill allowed Chris Kreider to hang out in front of the net, making it impossible for Frederik Andersen to see the shot on two power play goals. This team has to be better than that in order to contend this year, and fortunately, in the first and third periods, they were.
Toronto Goal 2:30 — D. Moore (1) — assisted by N. Zaitsev and M. Martin
NY Rangers Goal3:42 — J. Miller (1) — assisted by C. Kreider and K. Hayes
Toronto Goal5:34 — Z. Hyman (1) assisted by W. Nylander
Toronto Goal11:07 — J. Gardiner (1) (power play)
Toronto Goal13:59 — N. Zaitsev (1) — assisted by R. Hainsey and N. Kadri
Toronto Goal17:19 — Z. Hyman (2)
NY Rangers Goal19:37 — K. Shattenkirk (1) (power play) assisted by M. Zuccarello and C. Kreider
NY Rangers Goal7:43 — M. Zibanejad (3) (power play) — assisted by K. Shattenkirk and M. Zuccarello
NY Rangers Goal12:14 — M. Staal (1) — assisted by M. Zuccarello and R. McDonagh
NY Rangers Goal14:06 — M. Zuccarello (1) — assisted by M. Staal and J. Miller
Toronto Goal7:17 — T. Bozak (1) assisted — by J. Gardiner and M. Marner
Toronto Goal9:51 — L. Komarov (1) (power play) — assisted by W. Nylander and A. Matthews
Toronto Goal18:30 — N. Kadri (2) (power play) — assisted by P. Marleau and L. Komarov
MIKE BABCOCK POST GAME SCRUM