Lastly, the Toronto Maple Leafs performed a robust recreation and saved enjoying that recreation till the ultimate buzzer. The end result was a 5-2 street victory of the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. The Maple Leafs even chased star goalie Jordan Binnington from internet for the primary time in a regular-season recreation in his NHL profession after scoring four occasions on 11 pictures in lower than 10 minutes of the primary interval (truly 9:28 to be actual). Binnington had solely been relieved as soon as earlier than: it was after giving up 5 targets on 19 pictures in Recreation 6 of the Stanley Cup Closing.
Associated: Maple Leafs Information & Rumors: Tavares, Goalies & Spezza
The Maple Leafs play on Tuesday night time in
Vancouver towards the better-than-predicted Canucks. Because the group awaits that
recreation, on this put up I wish to assist Maple Leafs followers
sustain with information and rumors in regards to the group.
Merchandise One: Spezza Producing Underneath New Coach
Don’t look now, however Jason Spezza has scored eight factors in his final 9 video games. Towards the Blues on Saturday afternoon, Spezza scored an influence play purpose within the 5-2 win. Speak about not losing time; the group was solely 9 seconds into the person benefit when he scored.
Toronto Maple Leafs ahead Jason Spezza (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Followers have to provide the “outdated man” credit score. He nonetheless has good fingers, and he’s placing up factors with minimal ice time. Towards the Blues, he skated lower than 10 minutes (9:40). He most likely received’t get a lot of a rise in ice time no matter his manufacturing, however perhaps that’s excellent. Since Nov. 16, Spezza has eight factors (three targets and 5 assists) in 9 video games.
After his error on the shorthanded, breakaway purpose by the Colorado Avalanche to seal the group’s defeat of their final recreation, it was good to see him on the rating sheet within the victory.
Merchandise Two: Andersen Is Making the Group in Entrance of Him Assured
I could be alone in believing that, received or misplaced, it was good that Frederik Andersen performed in final week’s back-to-back losses. He didn’t win both recreation, however his dedication to the group goes a good distance in direction of the sort of team-first mentality I consider is required for the Maple Leafs to make a robust playoff run.
Associated: 5 Takeaways From Maple Leafs Singing Blues to St. Louis
He’s been so cool below stress in his final video games that he’s allowed the skaters in entrance of him to catch up and play effectively. That was the case towards the Blues, because it’s been towards different groups. He made early saves towards the Blues and, on this recreation, it didn’t take lengthy for the remainder of the group to catch up. No matter his report (which is 5-5 in his final 10 video games, however 5-2 in his final seven and 14-7-Three total), he’s an elite goalie.
Within the Hockey Night time in Canada broadcast, commentator Kelly Hrudey confirmed a neat sequence of the dialog between Andersen and his younger defenseman Travis Dermott with Andersen giving Dermott directions about play a selected state of affairs. Dermott was harassing a Blues participant, however Andersen tapped him together with his stick, referred to as him over, and gave him instructions about what he ought to do. It was attention-grabbing to look at the goalie chief have interaction his younger teammate.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Slocum)
As Andersen famous about his group, ”We performed with confidence just a little bit higher. We had some fairly good moments and bought rewarded with a few of our probabilities.”
Merchandise Three: Marner Is on a Level-a-Recreation Tempo
Mitch Marner might need been out nearly a month with an ankle damage, however he’s again enjoying at full power. Maybe, it’s simply me, however I feel he’s now enjoying final season’s recreation as a substitute of the sport he was enjoying previous to his damage. He’s arduous on protection, stealing pucks from opponents, and appears to be trying to arrange targets somewhat than rating himself. If I’m proper about what I’m seeing, it’s good to have the outdated Marner again.
Associated: Keefe’s Maple Leafs Dealing with Some Tough Realities
The reward? Marner is on a point-a-game tempo. He’s getting plenty of motion on particular groups, each killing penalties and on the ability play unit. After enjoying 20 video games, he has four targets, 16 assists, for 20 factors.
Merchandise 4: Zach Hyman, We Missed You
Zach Hyman merely provides one thing to the group others don’t. He scored two targets within the win over the Blues. His second purpose was shorthanded and the game-winner. He performs with such dogged dedication that he appears to hold others round him. The group wants that.
Toronto Maple Leafs Zach Hyman (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Younger)
Merchandise 5: Matthews Was in a Scoring Stoop?
It appears humorous to say about somebody who’s tied
for sixth in goal-scoring within the NHL (with Nathan MacKinnon and Brad Marchand)
and on a 50-goal tempo, however Auston Matthews was in a goal-scoring stoop. He’d
gone 5 video games with no purpose, with just one help in that stretch. Nonetheless,
he halted that drought in an enormous approach towards the Blues.
Associated: Maple Leafs’ Prospect Report: Robertson, Der-Arguchintsev Mastering Craft in OHL
Matthews scored twice (one an influence play purpose), and you would see the reduction on his face. Over the previous few video games, head coach Sheldon Keefe’s been encouraging Matthews to play a 200-foot recreation. As a fan, I can see that occuring. Matthews is stronger back-checking and on faceoffs. Nonetheless, he’s the group’s greatest scoring possibility and it’s good to see him put a pair within the internet.
Merchandise Six: What if the Maple Leafs Grew to become Sellers?
In an attention-grabbing put up, Fansided’s D.J. Llewellyn requested a query no Maple Leafs fan would have thought of previous to this season, “What if the Toronto Maple Leafs develop into sellers?”
Not solely does his query make Maple Leafs followers
pause to think about the likelihood that their group may not make the
postseason, but it surely additionally calls to risk what basic supervisor Kyle Dubas
would possibly do together with his group’s wage construction ought to he be able to
drastically alter it.
Llewellyn made some solutions about what he believes Dubas ought to do, and it appears to land on the protection. He believes the group ought to commerce all of the gamers on expiring contracts. Meaning dumping each Tyson Barrie and Jake Muzzin. Each could be nice gamers, however they’d doubtless wish to take a look at the free-agent market, anyway. He additionally believes eliminating Cody Ceci is a should.
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin (John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Though he doesn’t consider the group would get a lot for both participant as a result of they’ll develop into unrestricted free brokers, one thing is best than nothing. And, loading up on high-draft picks or younger roster gamers could possibly be attainable.
What’s Subsequent for the Maple Leafs?
As famous, the group has three extra video games on their
street journey. These are towards the Canucks, the Calgary Flames, and the Edmonton
Oilers. It’s a troublesome swing, however the group couldn’t have began higher than they
did towards the Blues.
Can they get on a roll on the street? If that’s the case, they’ll be arrange effectively for the continued push they should get again in the course of the playoff hunt.