It's never said that Islanders fans do not know how to warmly welcome someone important. In the first game of John Tavares in Long Island as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, players in the building created a playoff atmosphere for both teams, and it's hard not to imagine a rivalry in the making .
In the end, the Maple Leafs were significantly outclassed by the Islanders tonight, a cathartic end after the last week of drama and media coverage of this game and the reaction of the fans. Praise Bossy.
[Game Sum | Event Sum | Natural Stat Trick | HockeyViz]
Can you hear something?
You know how, in the first game of a playoff series, both teams seem to give the impression of maintaining an unprecedented speed? That's what the first period of this game seemed to be. Two teams that could not wait to get things done. Or rather, the puck slips.
The MSG + broadcast aired the tribute video during the first commercial break, which has not been the case in a while, as the referees sounded the whistle for six full minutes until 10:00. Originally, I was going to write a word about the pride of the fans not to have drowned the audio in the thank you video, but the broadcast team had to amplify for the people at home, because:
I have not heard an audio clip of John Tavares' tribute video during boos.
– Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) March 1, 2019
So I am really proud of all who were present. And for its part, Tavares has shown great elegance in skateboarding and raising the baton to the crowd, despite all the tributes and songs, including the "JT Sucks!" and lazy project "We do not need you. !, "And the improvised good" You are a liar! "
The Leafs, with Tavares on the ice, briefly silenced the deafening crowd by taking the 1-0 advantage. Johnny Boychuk followed Tavares around the corner to give his former captain the first blow he was going to face tonight, but in doing so he left the crease wide open and Toronto opened the puck around the key before the puck do not spring to Zach Hyman. Mitch Marner's skate. Robin Lehner expanded to block him but he was not on time.
The crowd was immediately brought back into the building thanks to Jake Muzzin's unsuccessful pinch and his collision with Mathew Barzal. The Islanders went on the other side with Josh Bailey, Anthony Beauvillier and Adam Pelech. Beauvillier and Bailey played in turn before Beauvillier brought him back to Garret Sparks. Players were as unleashed as the crowd and, for the good old days, the game was completed by a lazy backcheck of Tavares. The first exhilarating period ended tied at 1-1.
No Let Up
The crowd remained well invested in the evening at the beginning of the second period and was stimulated only when the Islanders took the lead for the first time and for good.
The Icelanders took possession of the ball in their own zone and the puck was touched by all the Islanders on the ice: Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk and Jordan Eberle went through the three zones, and Brock Nelson threw a kick. eye over his shoulder while he was recovering Eberle's chip. go to the blue line. He saw Anders Lee at his peripherals at this glance and, while they made a 1-2, Nelson sent a pass back to Lee on which he made no mistake. The avowed goal of this particular player may have launched my favorite song of the evening: "This is our captain!"
It looks like the Maple Leafs tied the match again, Hyman, after Leddy missed a pass or shot the blue line going straight to Hyman or Mitch Marner. While the Leafs went the other way, Leddy and Boychuk misinformed who had who and Leddy had left Hyman wide open on the wing for a tap-in. But the video coaches noticed that Hyman was unable to keep his skate back on the ice as he crossed the blue line before Marner could enter the puck and Barry Trotz had managed to clear the goal, thus preserving an advance that would only grow from there.
The former Komarov Leaf, Leo Komarov, stood up to Auston Matthews as he headed for the net and was sent to the penalty area. The first minute of personal advantage was dangerous. The first Leafs unit remained on the ice for a moment, throwing the puck around the ice almost intact. Matthews tried a similar game that resulted in a penalty kick, but Ryan Pulock played it perfectly. He eliminated it and chased his own token out of the box to take it deep in the ice. The next set of killers did not allow the Leafs to organize anything else, and Cal Clutterbuck fought in the neutral zone until the puck passed Casey Cizikas and the Leafs' men. . Cizikas floated alone and pulled Sparks out of his skate to beat him by five holes, giving him an 18th place and a sixth-shorthanded goal of the season.
The Islanders also gave themselves a small cushion thanks to Valtteri Filppula with the help of Andrew Ladd and the impossibility for Toronto to regroup in the defensive zone. Komarov won a corner confrontation in the offensive zone. Ladd picked it up and threw it to the net where Filppula picked it up. He tried a shot that did not want to go, but took it again and Ladd and he played the spoils before Filppula dropped him beside Sparks.
Towards the end of the period, there was a scary moment in which Boychuk returned Marner for a hit. When Marner fell to the ground, his skate blade caught Boychuk in the area of the chin and throat, and he skated alone with a towel that overlapped, even though there did not seem to be any blood immediately . Fortunately, he came back to the bench for the third and ice five minutes later.
Finish the work
At this point, the Islanders had to make incredible efforts to complete the 60-minute game they had missed in the past two weeks. They were quick to replenish their own momentum. Less than a minute after the start of the third inning, the Islanders set it up in the offensive zone, and Leddy's shot on goal was carried to the back of the nets, tipping the ball to the l & # 39; inside. At first glance, it looked like it was Cizikas. again, and he was credited with the goal, but the restart seemed to show the puck hitting Matthews' stick. The goal could later be credited to Leddy, if that was the case.
It was not enough for this team in this emotional game, however. There was a lot of Maple Leafs coming back to him, but no one moved to Nelson as he was heading towards Sparks and sneaked past him. 6-1 Islanders, and that would be the final score in this game.
Thoughts and return of feelings (!)
Hard to imagine a better result in this one. I am overwhelmed. What a game.
The fans did well not to give up as the match, as the Islanders. The Leafs are a team that can score three goals in three minutes to tie the game, so I did not feel comfortable before taking a 5-1 lead. And they did not stop pushing even from there, nor after adding another one.
The Leafs were tired of playing and traveling last night and they lacked two regular defenders to Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott. So I can not help but wonder if Trotz has skillfully trained them in the style of play that they normally play them out. In the end, Toronto seemed completely lost.
Barry Trotz, Robin Lehner, Johnny Boychuk after his return on the ice and Casey Cizikas in his interview on the first star of the match with Shannon Hogan. Most of the songs tonight, however, were for the deceased captain. Among those who appeared in the third: "Where are your tormentors ?!", The famous "Who is your daddy ?!" From Pedro Martinez, and "Barzy's Better!
Speaking of Barzal, he
did not find his way on the score sheet [[[[ed. He got the second help on the goal of Beauvillier]but he played a great game both ways tonight, mostly against Tavares. There were also two sequences in which Barzal had some extra shots for Johnny, reminding him of how frustrated he was with his departure.
10-1 in the second half back to back.
And Casey Cizikas is the hero we all deserve.
It was an exhausting night for Islanders fans and players, but they can not let up. Tomorrow night, the Islanders are hosting the Capitals, which they are now leading for the first time in the subway by two points with a game in hand. 19:00. at the Colosseum.