Toronto Maple Leafs Game Report
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
TORONTO – Mike Babcock keeps pointing out the bad plays committed by his young players and came out firing after game last night pointing to the infractions one by one.
"Slashing, tripping, hooking, tripping, tripping," lamented Toronto's head coach.
Sometimes speaking about what others have done badly, its easier than self-analyzing your own mistakes and not making them again. For someone that hasn’t won or advanced past the first-round playoff in almost a decade, its easier to point to the players on the ice than your own decisions behind the bench where you have created an enigma of lines that make as much sense as Trump’s presidential win.
The Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Leafs 4-3 on Gustav Nyquist penalty shot at 1:57 of overtime. Nyquist's winner was the first penalty-shot goal in overtime in franchise history. It was also the first time in Toronto's modern history the Leafs have lost on a penalty shot in OT.
"The issues for us ... discipline and shift length," Babcock said. "We do lots of good things. The ability to maintain it and do it for 60 (minutes) hasn't been something that we've done.
"You've got to mature and grow up as a group for that to happen. You just must. The level of focus that you bring to your job each day, no matter what job you do, has to be at a high."
Auston Matthews, with a goal and an assist, William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen replied for Toronto (5-3-2). Andreas Johnsson and Jake Muzzin added two assists each.
"We've got to find a way to come out and put together a full 60 of hard work," Muzzin said. "We do it in spurts, but we need to do it (consistently)."
Frederik Andersen allowed goals on the first two shots he faced -- neither was his fault -- before rebounding to finish with 34 saves, including one on a Dubois breakaway in OT before Nyquist's winner.
Despite the early blemishes, Andersen was the story for Toronto most of the period.
Andersen made 43 saves in Saturday's thrilling 4-3 overtime victory against the Bruins, but No. 2 goalie Michael Hutchinson is expected to get the start in the second half of a back-to-back -- and Toronto's third game in four nights -- in the rematch Tuesday at Boston's TD Garden.
"Everyone can improve. We have high standards," Andersen said. "We want to keep working on living up to those standards. That's how great teams are.
"We've shown how good we can be sometimes, but it's tough when we don't start on time."
Playing their second game since captain John Tavares suffered a broken finger, the Leafs were far from their best with several sloppy sequences at both ends of the rink, but they led 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Andersen stopped Cam Atkinson on a breakaway with under four minutes left in regulation to force overtime as the Blue Jackets pushed.
"He made a number of really good saves to keep us ahead, keep us tied," Matthews said. "In the third they came at us."
Nylander put the Leafs ahead 3-2 with 14.5 seconds left in the middle period when Matthews grabbed a loose puck in the slot. Johnsson heeled the rebound and it fell to Nylander, who buried his third to snap a four-game point drought.