Post-Game Analysis: Leafs Fall Short, Lose Tough One 3-1 in Manhattan Vs. Rangers

Maple Leafs Forward Pierre Engvall Skates With Puck in Neutral Zone Vs. Rangers
Maple Leafs Forward Pierre Engvall Skates With Puck in Neutral Zone Vs. Rangers Photo credit: Jared Silber/NHL via Getty Images

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a tough one tonight, 3-1, in New York! A real low-event hockey game was the story tonight at Madison Square Garden. Both goaltenders were sharp, keeping both sides’ offenses relatively quiet. Former Maple Leaf forward Jimmy Vesey had himself a night for the Rangers en route to their victory! This was the Maple Leafs first regulation loss since the blue and white hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 11th. On Top of the loss, Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner’s 23-game point streak also ended tonight. Just one of those games tonight for the Maple Leafs. 

Once the puck was dropped at Madison Square Garden, the action got started early! An opening rush from Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, who tried to thread a pass through the Rangers defense to Rasmus Sandin, was just broken up in time to keep the Leafs off the board! A good attempt from the Maple Leaf forward but an even better defensive play by the Rangers. After a couple of minutes of the game, Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano was called for slashing. A two-handed chop in the neutral zone to the stick of Rangers forward Julien Gauthier of the Rangers sent New York to the power-play! The Rangers power play was getting some good movement down low before finding forward Filip Chytil all alone to finish a one-timer! Chytil’s goal was his 7th of the season giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead early. After the Rangers opened up the scoring, New York still came out flying. Waves of momentum clearly started to show in this one before the Leafs got on the board! Maple Leafs defenseman Conor Timmins fired a shot from the point that was stopped. The rebound came right to the blade of Michael Bunting, who put it past Shesterkin! After the Maple Leafs tied the game late in the first period, the blue and white drove the momentum! The period finished with a 1-1 score line heading into the second. 

Things started off a lot quieter in the second period than in the first. A few good looks for both teams were turned away! Both teams were playing with good structure, credit to Maple Leaf center Pontus Holmberg who had a few productive shifts on both ends of the ice. However, ex-Leaf Jimmy Vesey came streaking down the near wall and drove one up high on Matt Murray. A beautifully finished goal for Vesey’s 4th-goal of the season! As the Maple Leafs trailed by a goal, the teams’ compete level remained strong. Despite not being able to get the equalizer before the second intermission, you couldn’t have been upset with the offensive zone time from the blue and white. 

In the final frame of this one, it was another low-event type of period. The Rangers were backed up by a real solid performance from reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin who was locked in tonight! However, Maple Leafs goaltender Matt Murray was just as strong! It was definitely a better night for the goalies in this one despite loads of offensive talent on both sides. Toward the end of regulation, the Maple Leafs kept pressing. Real good opportunities for Maples Leafs forward Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews just couldn’t be converted! Marner came streaking down the near wall for his opportunity and fired a shot that nearly beat Igor, but Shesterkin made the save. After the Maple Leafs lost possession of the puck late, Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey scored the empty-netter! This was the former Maple Leafs 5th goal of the season and the second of the game! As the clock came to a close, the Maple Leafs fell short in this one 3-1. The team will now look ahead to Saturday night’s battle against the Washington Capitals! 

Thanks for reading! For more hockey content, follow my Twitter at @ITR_Anselmo

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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