This game began with a lot of tight checking, relatively boring hockey which is strange given the aggressive nature of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Flyers’ best chance was a pass from Travis Konecny to Dale Weise for a sharp angle shot, but the Leafs’ first great chance resulted in a goal. Using the term “great chance” lightly, Andreas Johnsson worked his way somewhat around Robert Hagg, and took a weak shot on Calvin Pickard and oh boy that was a bad goal. Pickard opened up the wickets and Johnsson’s shot slid right through Pickard, putting Toronto up 1-0 early on.
Alright so the goal at this point for the Flyers is to just settle the game down, and get back in the flow of things. And before I could even finish typing that sentence, Johnsson had made it 2-0, oh joy! Christian Folin had a shot blocked and Johnsson showcased that insane speed blowing by Folin and a chasing Shayne Gostisbehere, beating Pickard on the breakaway with ease.
Again, literally before I could even finish typing that paragraph Patrick Marleau beat a sprawling Pickard and the Leafs took a 3-0 lead before the halfway mark of the first period. Now, most coaches in the NHL would take a timeout in this instance, settle the troops and light a fire. Dave Hakstol is not like most coaches, he is a special breed who sees trouble and imagines himself wakeboarding, and watches. Everything is fine.
Oh look, Andreas Johnsson just did it again, fifth goal of the season, hat trick in the first period, 4-0 Leafs. Cal Pickard allows four goals on seven shots and Anthony Stolarz who was recalled after the Rangers game on Sunday, comes in relief to try and sort out this mess. Pickard looked awful, and that’s not debatable, but my goodness this team once again came out with no life. There was no sense of urgency, just played the system and hung out essentially. How many times does this have to happen throughout the course of Hakstol’s tenure?
If there is a bright spot to this period it was the play of Stolarz, who stopped three shots that very well could have been goals if Pickard was in net. It could have been 7-0 Leafs at the end of the first, but luckily for the Flyers it’s only 4-0, if you can even really call that “lucky.”
Heatmap/gameflow after 1st Period
LOL just kidding it’s not even worth mentioning. Let’s move on to the second.
As expected with the Leafs up 4-0, the Flyers came out strong to open up the second period. They generated quality scoring chances from high percentage areas, but the Leafs also did a solid job of tying up sticks at the last second, or blocking the shot. Stolarz continued to perform solidly in relief stopping the minimal chances that came his way in the second.
With just under 10 minutes to go in the period, the Leafs caught the Flyers in an odd man rush, and a beautiful passing play between Josh Leivo and Mitch Marner resulted in a Leivo goal, giving Toronto a 5-0 lead. It’s a shot that Stolarz probably should have stopped, but the Flyers defense played it poorly and it’s hard to get on the goalie playing his first NHL game since the 2016-17 season.
The Flyers would again muster a few solid chances, although their play essentially resembled the time in the first period prior to the first Toronto goal. This kind of play wouldn’t be so bad if it was a tight game, and both teams had traded a goal or two, but it’s 5-0 and the Flyers have already had enough of these games. After some sick moves by Marner, John Tavares blasted away and beat Stolarz to make it 6-0. At this point, I wondered to myself if this does not get the coach fired, nothing will.
Heatmap/gameflow after 2nd period
Nope, not happening.
There’s truly not a whole lot to say about this period. No one hit anyone, no one fought, and of course no one scored a goal. The team showed no heart, no fight, no anything. This felt like one of those games where the players gave up on the head coach. I only began typing words for this period with about 10 minutes remaining if that, I lost track because I simply failed to care. That was the most boring period of hockey I have ever witnessed, and if someone does not pay for that miserable excuse for a period of “hockey”, then we may as well get ready for the rest of the season to be like this.
And no, there’s still no point in showing the heatmap or gameflow, because the Flyers didn’t actually play a hockey game tonight. They just kinda skated around while the Leafs had shooting practice.