Leafs open it up in the third, defeat Rangers in Toronto

The Rangers went into Toronto last night looking to skate with a potential Stanley Cup hopeful, and came out with “only” a 5-3 loss. The Rangers actually kept up with the Leafs in the first two periods. But with the game tied 1-1 heading into the third, Toronto opened it up with a pair of early goals.

Toronto is dangerous up and down the lineup. This time around, it was John Tavares (two assists), Morgan Reilly (goal, assist), and Mitch Marner (two goals, assist) who did the damage. There is so much fire power, I’m surprised it wasn’t more from the Leafs. Then again, five goals is a lot.

It looks like the Rangers are what they were last year. A team that will score a good amount, but will also give up a ton. Such is life.

Leafs 1, Rangers 0

Mats Zuccarello with the costly turnover along the boards in the defensive zone, which led to the point shot by Reilly that was tipped by Patrick Marleau. The bouncing puck found its way past Alex Georgiev for the goal. Bouncing pucks are tough.

Rangers 1, Leafs 1

This was a good setup by Brady Skjei to find Neal Pionk as the fifth man in at the opposite point. There may have been a lot of traffic, But Freddy Andersen had a clear line of sight. It was just a blast of a shot.

Leafs 2, Rangers 1

The point shot gets deflected by John Tavares into the slot, and Marner’s shot into the empty net goes off Andreas Johnsson. Just a mess in front by the Rangers, but a great play by Tavares to redirect the puck to the slot.

Leafs 3, Rangers 1

Another slot line pass allowed by the Rangers. Reilly joined the play, and Johnsson had three Rangers covering him. Recipe for disaster.

Leafs 3, Rangers 2

What a play by Filip Chytil here. Kid is good, folks.

Leafs 4, Rangers 2

This is another great pass by Tavares, but the 2-on-1 happens because Adam McQuaid tried to break up the initial Reilly pass to Frederik Gauthier and missed, followed by Skjei swinging and missing at the puck and missing. Great play, but bad defense too.

Leafs 4, Rangers 3

Another goal by Chris Kreider in front. He’s really good there.

Leafs 5, Rangers 3

Mitch Marner empty netter.

Shot Heatmap

That’s a lot of shots by the Leafs, and the majority again from the home plate area. At this point, this is what the Rangers are. So much for the system hopefully changing things up.

The Rangers are back in action tonight at MSG against the Flyers. The Flyers are nowhere near the quality of the Leafs, and are laughable in net. This should be an interesting game.

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28 thoughts on “Leafs open it up in the third, defeat Rangers in Toronto

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 10:31 am
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    Leafs top players:
    Matthews (#1 overall draft pick)
    Tavares (#1)
    Marner (#4)
    Rielly (#5)
    Kadri (#7)
    Nylander (#8)

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:26 am
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      yep, it’s not rocket science.

      again, no one is expecting the Rangers to lose on purpose, but the goal to achieve mediocrity certainly hurts their opportunities to draft at the top to get a franchise or near franchise player.

      Though Chytil at 21 appears to be a brilliant move. If he were in this past draft, if he were a month younger, then he would (probably) have been a top 5 pick. So we can look at it that way.

      • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:29 am
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        idk about 5, pronman said 10-15.

        • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:43 am
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          Then Pronman would be wrong.

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 2:58 pm
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      I think this is the part where someone should remind you that Toronto’s current talented lineup was due to a seven-season long playoff drought. And while that drought was going on for Toronto, the New York Rangers had 2 Cup semifinal appearances, and 1 Cup Finals appearance. Additionally in this time span they beat the Crosby/Malkin-led Penguins twice in the playoffs, and Ovechkin’s Caps three times.

      How quickly people forget success—is it because they’re innately miserable, or just have pathetically short memories?

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 3:01 pm
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      Also, John Tavares is a great player and a former first overall, but he’s a free agent signing and really shouldn’t be part of your list. The Islanders drafted him, remember? Nearly spent a decade as an Islander, remember?

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 10:39 am
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    The Rangers spent a lot of time running around in their own end and chasing the puck. With a team like Toronto it’s better to collapse in front of the net and give Toronto the perimeter. The Blueshirts did a great job on the PK and I thought killing off the 4 minute minor gave them some momentum. The Rangers offense is coming to life but they need to tighten up their defence.

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:06 am
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    Lundqvist lost the game for the Rangers, he was invisible!!

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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      Richter, your imitation of the Haters is good, except you spelled all your words correctly and had a properly constructed sentence.

      • Dec 24, 2018 at 7:27 am
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        You’re bad MC, lol

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:29 am
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    “Bust” Andersson played well…

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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      He looked like a 4th liner lol

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:31 am
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    Assessing the current team, using the unsophisticated metric of goals scored, I looked at who was on the ice for goals against. Obviously Lundqvist leads the team, but surprisingly second place doesn’t go to a defenseman. Rather it is Zibanejad, on the ice for 45% of goals against. Meanwhile, Zuccarello is on the ice for more goals per game than Zib, but is lower of course because of his missed games (on ice for 32% of goals despite playing in only 62% of games). In the +/- metric, Zuccarello is off the charts as the worst Ranger and has also been ineffective as a penalty killer.

    Long term question: Is Zib a major weakness defensively? Or is it being on the ice with Zuc?
    Short term question: Is Zuccarello slowing down, slumping, or is his injury turning him into a crap player?

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm
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      He was on the ice for tons of goals against when Zucc was out. I also remember him being on the ice last year for goals against. People brushed it aside because he came off a injury but by March that theme became clear. You can’t watch a highlight of Barzal without seeing 3-4 plays where he burned Zib from the same game.

      I don’t know how much the coaches use the +/- stat but it’s pretty alarming when you add up his recent deployments. You have Hayes who played in a role that required to start in the DZ% and against top lines. Until Feb 25th, he saw limited time in the OZ but still he ended the year with a +1. Zib was in more of a sheltered role with tons of chances on offense and he ended up with a -23. Unless you’re Ovi, that is never a good sign in any sports to have. He hasn’t even played in a tough shutdown role yet and he’s already a -12.

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:39 am
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    here is a stat: zucc and his 12 points and -15. that’s less points then chytil and howden and a combined +/- of lias, chytil and howden. how long can quinn keep rolling him on the top line (not that it hurts the tank)? I have no idea what transpired last deadline but whatever it was they likely felt they couldn’t sell it to the fanbase.

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:46 am
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      I said it all year that Zuc is playing like he knows he’s being traded. And then he said it a few weeks ago.

      The Rangers are trying to trade him, there is no benefit to them NOT putting him on the top line.

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 11:47 am
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    Trotting out Slow Motion McQuaid against the fleet Leafs makes a whole lot of sense. He can look mean at them as they fly by him, scaring them to no end with ferocious looks!

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm
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      I don’t know what the Rangers were thinking giving up assets for this guy. The Rangers cornering the market in slow footed over the hill D men?

      • Dec 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm
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        Bad trade, but the Rangers were playing it safe as it was really not clear for example if DeAngelo could play. But at this point how can you sit ADA so mcQuaid can play.

        • Dec 24, 2018 at 7:29 am
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          Playing it safe? I would rather see a guy come up from Hartford than trade a 4th for this stiff.

          This trade is exactly why Sather needs to go. Immediately.

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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    Just unreal…can any of you yokles ever be happy? Shame on youse. Yes the Rangers lost but this was not a loss to be ashamed of.

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 2:12 pm
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      who said anything bad?

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm
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    I saw Georgiev play well, Chytil show some moves, Smith have a great game, Howden play well, Pionk showing more promise, Nieves have a great game along the boards. For 2 periods they were the better team. Rangers need high draft choices, simple as that. To get those you have to be bad for several seasons as one is not enough

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm
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      And trade away all that are not involved in the rebuild!

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm
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    I swear that some of you don’t understand what’s involved in a rebuild. This was a good game against one of the top teams in the League. To basically lose 4-3 against TO is akin to a victory of sorts — at least under the current conditions. This is how you build team character. Accept it, focus on the positive and let’s move on.

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 4:07 pm
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    Actually yes they played a pretty good game a highly skilled team. I just object McQuaid playing instead of young players and especially against speedsters like the Leafs. The Flyers game would make a little more sense if you have to get him in the game. I’d dump him faster than he can skate!

    • Dec 23, 2018 at 5:07 pm
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      Agreed, ADA should have been instead …

  • Dec 23, 2018 at 5:45 pm
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    The perfect game! good effort, no points against a non-rival

    Now if only they could learn to play the damn islanders, devils, penguins, flyers, and craps like it’s Game 7 every time, we’d have the beginning of a team here 🙂

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