In a game during which each team dominated one half, the Leafs dug their way into a hole that they came so very close to climb out of, only to fall short. Toronto ultimately ended up dropping a 5-4 decision to the visiting Chicago Blackhawks for their second straight loss.

The Good

  • With the Leafs trailing 5-0 late in the second period Andreas Johnsson deflected a shot by Morgan Rielly to register his 20th goal of the year .
  • Toronto notched three third period goals to climb back into a game that had seemingly been out of reach. Auston Matthews collected his 32nd of the season. William Nylander earned his second assist of the night, and the 100th of his career.
  • The Leafs scored on the game’s only power play, on a point shot from Morgan Rielly.
  • John Tavares established a new season high for his career with his 39th goal of the year.

The Bad

  • Frederik Andersen was pulled for the second consecutive game, the first such instance of his career. Although the game was certainly not entirely his fault, the netminder looked subpar on Chicago’s first two goals; a shot by Duncan Keith that just barely squeaked through his pads, and a long shot from just inside the blue line by Brendan Perlini, low to the glove side.
  • The Rielly-Hainsey pairing was burned on the Hawks’ third goal, scored by a streaking Dominik Kahun.

The Ugly

  • Brandon Saad’s goal, Chicago’s fourth marker of the first period, epitomized the Leafs’ horrible defensive coverage. All five skaters for Toronto were on one side of the ice to the right of Andersen, leaving Saad all uncovered.
  • Toronto came out with a lethargic start for the second straight game in front of the home fans. Not starting the game on time has been a mantra for Mike Babcock’ squad. Rinse. Repeat.

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca.

In 2019, Rob co-wrote with Evan Gubernick “Hockey Addict’s Guide: Toronto”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.