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Post-Game Analysis: Maple Leafs Drop Fourth Straight Loss in Anaheim Vs. Ducks

Denis Malgin skating through the neutral-zone vs. Ducks
Denis Malgin skating through the neutral-zone vs. Ducks Photo credit: Debora Robinson/NHL via Getty Images

    On the eve of Halloween night, the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped their fourth straight loss, this time to the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. It was a game that needed overtime after a late comeback from the home side. The Maple Leafs now hold a 4-4-2 record and sit seventh in the Atlantic Division. On the other side, the Anaheim Ducks finally broke their seven game losing streak tonight. Their last win was in their season opener against Seattle, which also featured a similar comeback. 

    In the opening period, the Maple Leafs came out of the gate hot. Firing pucks on Ducks goaltender John Gibson early, and they made one count quickly. A slick power-play goal for Auston Matthews opened the scoring on an Adam Henrique hooking minor. This was Auston Matthews third goal of the season and his second in three games. After Matthews goal, Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg ripped one blocker side on Erik Kallgren. Jakob tied the game after a nifty backhanded spin pass from Anaheim forward Derek Grant; the pass split the Maple Leafs defense to find Jakob, who had a great shooting lane. After the game was tied just after the midway point, both sides started to create chances. With just a few minutes left in Maple Leafs forward period, Denis Malgin finished a beautiful breakaway opportunity! This was Malgin’s second of the year, and wow, was it a beautiful goal. Coming in with speed on John Gibson opened him up with the forehand and finished it on the backhand. The Maple Leafs went into the first intermission playing their best period of the road trip so far in a game that had heavy pressure from the outside. 

    After a really encouraging opening period, the Maple Leafs continued their strong play. A creative pass from Maple Leafs forward William Nylander led to a chance for John Tavares that couldn’t be finished. After the Tavares opportunity couldn’t be converted, the Maple Leafs kept coming in waves against the Ducks. With just over eight minutes to go in the second period, the Maple Leafs top line, which consists of Bunting, Matthews, and Marner, dominated the Ducks in the offensive zone. They were so close to a goal the Maple Leafs just couldn’t finish one in the second frame. After the bulk of the period, the Anaheim Ducks began to climb back into it. A few power-play opportunities for the Ducks started to create some momentum. Despite both teams creating chances in the second frame, it was still 2-1 Leafs heading into the third. 

    Entering the third period with a one goal lead, the Maple Leafs started in the best way imaginable. A beautiful play from Maple Leafs forwards Alex Kerfoot, and Calle Järnkrok led to Järnkrok’s second goal of the season! This was the start you wanted to see from the blue and white heading into the third period up a goal. Things started to look even better as the Maple Leafs kept peppering John Gibson. The blue and white were even awarded a penalty shot for Alex Kerfoot but was denied by the Pittsburgh native. However, almost before the midway point, it was the Anaheim Ducks who then caught fire. Anaheim forward Trevor Zegras scored on a breakaway after a Mitch Marner turnover. Once the Ducks were within one, the pressure began to build on the Maple Leafs. A team with such high expectations undergoing a slow start against a team who lost seven straight. An unlikely hero for the Anaheim Ducks, defenseman Dmitry Kulikov scored a wrap-around goal on Erik Kallgren that tied the game. This was a goal that you’ll want back if you are Erik Kallgren. Being beat on your back post by a defenseman on the rush in a tight game isn’t exactly what this team needed. After the game was tied, a late scare for Leafs nation arose after Anaheim Ducks forward Frank Vatrano scored the go-ahead goal. However, it was eventually called back after the Maple Leafs were challenged for goaltender interference. The game went into overtime with a 3-3 tie after a late collapse from the blue and white. 

    As overtime kicked off, the Maple Leafs got it started with some high-quality chances. However, Ducks goaltender John Gibson remained strong, holding the Ducks hopes of completing the comeback victory alive. After a few good looks, Auston Matthews found Mitch Marner all in alone on Gibson, which should have been a goal was ultimately robbed by the Pittsburgh native. Marner tried to dangle one by Gibson, but John made the stop, eventually leading to the Ducks getting the full two points. After the face-off in the Anaheim zone, the Ducks flew on a two-on-one opportunity, and Trevor Zegras made no mistake with it. The young star roofed one on Erik Kallgren for his sixth goal of the season and second on the night. 

    The Maple Leafs horrendous road trip has finally ended as they look to return home. Their next match will be hosting the Philadelphia Flyers, who are no cakewalk so far this season. The Flyers carry a 5-2-1 record and currently sit third in the Metropolitan Division. The head coach John Tortorella will look to continue their hot start vs. a struggling Maple Leafs side on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena. 

Thanks for reading! For more hockey content, follow my Twitter at @JAns8lmo

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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