Toronto cannot climate storm in blowout loss

TORONTO — Empathy is briefly provide for a Toronto Maple Leafs crew that has crashed out of the primary spherical six consecutive occasions, however in fact, this 12 months’s crew has been the image of resiliency. Toronto has weathered harm after harm, main the NHL in man-games misplaced previous to Friday’s contest towards the Ottawa Senators, however this sport was barely completely different than the 49 previous to the newest Battle of Ontario.

Auston Matthews didn’t take the morning skate and reporters rapidly discovered why, because the Hart Trophy winner was dominated out for 3 weeks with a knee sprain. And with Matt Murray broadly presumed to be the starter, Ilya Samsonov unexpectedly was again between the pipes. William Nylander appeared to tag Murray throughout the warmups with a shot to the shoulder, however Nylander informed reporters post-game Murray mentioned he was alright. Sheldon Keefe confirmed that Murray was coping with an ailment that flared up, however didn’t get into specifics, solely informing reporters that it wasn’t the adductor harm that beforehand bothered him this season.

Toronto couldn’t climate the storm once more. After largely controlling the primary interval, the Maple Leafs failed to point out the resolve that has maybe outlined this 12 months’s group, and the Senators chipped, tumbled and rolled away to a 6-2 victory.

Right here’s what you must know from Maple Leafs-Senators:

Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (7) was too much for the Maple Leafs to handle. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (7) was an excessive amount of for the Maple Leafs to deal with. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star through Getty Pictures)

Three stars:

1. Brady Tkachuk, Senators

Tkachuk led the cost for the Senators on Friday night time. He was the perfect participant on the ice, notching two objectives, 4 photographs, three hits and utterly received below the Maple Leafs’ pores and skin. Ottawa’s captain scored his first objective 23 seconds into the second body, then offered his crew with an insurance coverage marker just below 4 minutes into the ultimate stanza — it rocketed out of the web so rapidly that play needed to be stopped.

For the opening half hour, this was anybody’s sport — Toronto dominated the superior stats charts within the first interval — however Tkachuk went round and thru the Maple Leafs. Ottawa most likely didn’t deserve a four-goal win, however Tkachuk received the perfect of Toronto’s star-studded top-six on Friday night.

2. Claude Giroux, Senators

Giroux led all Senators with six photographs and scored a highlight-reel objective to punctuate the victory for the Senators — extra on that under. He completed the sport with a glowing 83.5 p.c share of the anticipated objectives when on the ice at 5-on-5, per Pure Stat Trick, and he obtained the first help on Derick Brassard’s objective –– which is ignored as a result of Timothy Liljegren by accident banked Brassard’s shot into his personal web. Giroux has been precisely the participant the Senators paid for this offseason and this was one among his higher video games of the 12 months. He performed a unbelievable defensive sport and the Maple Leafs couldn’t include his relentless vitality. It was a stellar efficiency for the 35-year-old.

3. John Tavares, Maple Leafs

This area may’ve gone to Mitch Marner or Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle, but when there was one participant who consistently confirmed up for the Maple Leafs, it was Tavares. Tavares was consistently producing possibilities, made a degree of throwing his physique round to field out in entrance of the web, recorded six photographs, a game-high 5 hits and produced just below one particular person anticipated objective in all conditions. Tavares had the first help on William Nylander’s objective, taking a feed from Marner and whacking away at it earlier than the puck fell on to his linemate for the tap-in. It’s powerful to search out too many positives from a tough night time for the Maple Leafs, however their captain wasn’t the explanation why they misplaced.

Off night time: Pontus Holmberg and Rasmus Sandin, Maple Leafs

Holmberg was given a golden alternative to impress in Matthews’ absence and, at the very least for one night time, he fumbled it. The 23-year-old was meant to be a bit participant for the Maple Leafs and had exceeded expectations so far. Holmberg was positioned alongside Calle Jarnkrok and Nylander initially, but he took a careless double minor for high-sticking that was killed off, then took one other penalty that led to the person benefit when the Senators scored the go-ahead objective.

He was given an opportunity to excel in prolonged minutes and uncharacteristically turned a legal responsibility for the Maple Leafs. We’ll should see if Keefe trusts him towards harder competitors once more.

“Six minutes of penalties is an excessive amount of,” Keefe mentioned tersely post-game.

Sandin performed his worst sport of the season. In the course of the second interval, he took a nasty angle to the puck, then received caught puck-watching as Drake Batherson walked in unimpeded to present the Senators a 4-2 lead. He took a careless tripping penalty within the third interval, then received walked by Giroux minutes in a while Ottawa’s sixth objective. He uncharacteristically flailed across the ice, he was on for 3 objectives and wasn’t efficient at suppressing possibilities. Sandin is rising into one of many Maple Leafs’ most strong defenders however he’ll need to burn this tape.

Play of the sport:

Giroux punctuated a radical victory with a completely nasty objective the place he walked Sandin — does it rely as a stroll if Sandin was sliding to start with? Semantics apart, Giroux scored a highlight-reel objective, making it look manner too straightforward, ripping a picture-perfect toe drag round Sandin and previous Samsonov for his seventeenth objective of the season to utterly flush out any likelihood of a Maple Leafs comeback.

Misplay of the sport:

It was a merciless destiny for Liljegren, who was in good place, however after Holmberg took an ill-advised tripping penalty within the second interval with the sport tied at 2-2, Brassard tipped the puck in direction of the web. Liljegren’s try and swat it out of hurt’s manner backfired proper into the web. Ottawa took a 3-2 lead and didn’t look again.

Stat of the night time:

This isn’t essentially an actual downside, however there’s sufficient proof to recommend the Maple Leafs present a bent to play right down to their opponent’s high quality. Toronto managed play throughout the first interval then utterly took its collective foot off the gasoline.


Quote of the day:

Keefe on Murray’s harm that thrust Samsonov into an surprising beginning gig: “He’s been coping with one thing that flared up on him tonight and he wasn’t out there to play.”

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