Tonight it was a battle of the brothers when the Dallas Stars and Jason Robertson came to town to play the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nick Robertson. Another player having a big night was Erik Källgren, who got his first NHL start for the Maple Leafs.
Källgren is tested early in the period with a wrister that bounces a bit but he scrambles and makes the save.
The period is pretty much all Stars for the first ten minutes with the Stars leading the way in shots and the Leafs not getting an official shot on net until 12:38 of the period when Rasmus Sandin (5) scores to opening the scoring. 1-0 Toronto.
The Leafs had a few chances before this one but like this one below, they kept getting deflected.
The Leaf start to pick things up again, tying the Stars in shots by the six minutes mark, and also using their control of the game to double the score when John Tavares (20) deflects one past Jake Oettinger.
2-0 Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs continue to put pressure on the Stars, but don’t score again this period, but it does end 2-0, which is much better than the last few games.
There is a big scrum in front of the net right before the buzzer goes for the period where Källgren makes a couple huge saves, and in the scrum Ilya Lyubushkin gets called for holding Marian Studenic. The Stars will begin the second period on the power play.
The Maple Leafs easily kill off the period opening penalty, surrendering just one shot that’s turned away. The Stars get another shot at the power play when the Leafs are called for too many men, and it is served by Michael Bunting.
David Kämpf gets away from the pack with the puck shorthanded and dangles around the Dallas defender (Tyler Seguin), but he can’t get the puck past Oettinger.
No goals on that power play either.
The Maple Leafs then get a power play chance of their own (#GameManagement) when Michael Raffl slashes Alexander Kerfoot. They do well, but don’t score. They also don’t get a call on this nonsense.
Michael Bunting “hooks” John Klingburg, and the Stars get their third power play, and it feels like we’ll be spending this entire period playing special teams, with no one scoring on them.
Speaking of scoring, I think this hit was a 12 pointer.
We have a real goalie battle going on tonight, halfway through the game both teams are well into the 20’s with shots (25-23 Toronto) but the score is still only 2-0.
The Maple Leafs are playing hard and fast trying to up the score, but nothing gets in. Bunting, Marner, Nylander, all doing what they can.
Roope Hintz gets called for hooking Bunting and the Leafs get another power play. The fifth time the special teams come out this period. No Leafs goal at the start but this power play will continue into the third. After 13 shots for Dallas and 18 for Toronto no goals were scored in the second, and it’s still 2-0 Toronto.
The start of the third gives us some nice set ups by the power play, but the Dallas penalty kill is all over them until the last second where Morgan Rielly sets up Ondřej Kaše (13) who scores the Leafs third of the game.
The top line comes flying into the Dallas zone and Bunting goes a bit overboard and crashes into Oettinger, no call on that play, and the Leafs try but can’t score with all the confusing in front of the net.
William Nylander almost makes it 4-0, but Oettinger makes a highlight reel save to stonewall him.
Halfway through the third period the Maple Leafs have been dominating the Stars, and it’s great to see them play on the level they should be, rather than playing down to a bottom feeding team like the Coyotes or Sabres.
The Maple Leafs have played well recently in front of goalies making their NHL debuts, so perhaps they should sign 40 goalies and just play one every day until they win the cup.
Dallas is doing everything they can to ruin the rookies debut shutout. they pepper hi with shots as the game clock counts down, and pull the goalie with just over two minutes remaining. After the Leafs ice the puck on an empty net attempt, the Stars call a time out.
It does nothing but energize the Leafs and Ilya Mikheyev (11) scores with the empty net to make it 4-0.
After that the Stars put the goalie back on the ice, but it doesn’t slow down the Leafs as Pierre Engvall hits the post, but the puck bounces down the ice and the horn goes to give Erik Källgren a 35 save shutout in his debut .
Erik Källgren becomes the 25th WHA/NHL goalie to get a shutout in their debut game, and it was very well deserved. Sheldon Keefe also got his 100th win as an NHL coach tonight.
This was a great game for the Maple Leafs, and hopefully they can carry this over to Thursdays game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
I hope you enjoyed the game, thank Omar for the GIFs, and we’ll see you Thursday night!