I guess it was too much to ask to achieve post-regulation immunity this season, right? The Toronto Maple Leafs had previously looked fantastic in overtime, and won their only shootout of the season heading into last night, but couldn’t repeat history and had their first single-point night of the season, falling 2-1 to the Florida Panthers. Here’s what went down:

Highlights

Spreads

5v5 Possession: % of shots taken towards the net (Corsi, CF%) taken while the player is on the ice.

Game Score: A single-game performance metric created by Dom Luszczyszyn. Read about the methodology behind it here.

United (At Last?)

There good chunk of the fanbase that was extremely excited to see yesterday’s lines, as it meant the first full-game attempt to get Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner together, with Matt Martin flanking them on the left side.

How did MMM do? Well, they only played a couple shifts together; Martin was swapped with Zach Hyman pretty quickly, and then disappeared entirely towards the end of the game. But both Matthews and Marner were near the top of team possession last night, played the most minutes of any forwards, and combined for twelve shots on goal.

Maybe there’s something to it. Then again, two stars playing well together isn’t shocking, and it works about as well (in a different way) as the Matthews-Nylander duo. This is definitely going to be a fanbase-fuelled debate this year, but I don’t know how much I care either way at this particular moment.

Fixable Freddy

Anyone who tuned into the game a few minutes late was probably terrified to start their night with Frederik Andersen being helped to the bench, and a little bit more relieved to see that he simply had a skate blade pop off. He was excellent overall in this game, with the lone goal in actual play being a very lucky bounce and both shootout goals against being A+ tier.

Fourth Line Willy

Last night’s juggling meant that William Nylander was placed on the fourth line, but given that his linemates were Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, it was pretty hard to call it that. Not to mention, Nylander got the Connor Brown treatment; with extra shifts and assignments whenever possible, to the point where a fourth line Right Winger somehow finished third among forwards in ice time.

Naz’s Night

Nazem Kadri had a productive evening, scoring Toronto’s only “real” goal. That extended his point streak to eight games, which is a personal best. His most notable moment came late in the third, though, when he got fed up with how his opponents were treating him.

Possibly by reputation, possibly by late-game situation, but whatever the case, the referees allowed both Aaron Ekblad and Michael Matheson to deliver clear-as-day cross checks to Kadri late in the third period. Kadri got angry and gave Matheson a couple shots back, which meant he was headed to the penalty box, where his frustrations continued.

While I think this bit is probably an accident, don’t be too shocked if clipping the off-ice official leads to a fine.

Your Daily Controversy

There was a lot made of another uncalled Matheson sequence in overtime, when he stripped Auston Matthews of the puck on a breakaway. Technically speaking, “getting the puck first” no longer nullifies a penalty according to the official rulebook, but we’ve seen referees ignore that so many times in games, regardless of which teams or players are involved, that I’m not too shocked it wasn’t called. Definitely could’ve been a game changer if they awarded a penalty or penalty shot, though.

Shootout Sunk

Shootouts are a sequence of many penalty shots, though, and the Leafs didn’t do enough in this one to get the win. I thought all four of Toronto’s shooters (Matthews, Marner, Marleau, and Bozak) made decent efforts, but only Marleau was able to beat Roberto Luongo, who was excellent for the Panthers.

On the other side of things, Nick Bjugstad’s game-winner was a thorough undressing of Frederik Andersen, and Aleksander Barkov’s effort… come on. One of the nicest of the year, and impossible to fault Toronto’s netminder for.

Coming Up Next

At the end of the day, a point’s a point, and I’m sure the Blue and White are glad to come out of a defeat with something to show for it. Toronto now stands at 14-8-1 on the season, remaining in second in the Atlantic Division. Their next game comes tomorrow, against the Carolina Hurricanes.

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