Happy Valentine’s Day. What would you like? How about a complete domination by the Leafs? What a way to respond from poor performances in the two previous games. The Leafs start the game strong and the main sound you could hear in the arena was PING! Two posts from the Islanders and two posts from the Leafs, signs of some future goal scoring. With the Bruins on their bye week, these are the wins that the Leafs need to capitalize on. Now only 1 point behind Boston, the Leafs look to continue their incredible play from today’s game on to Columbus tomorrow.
The offence came alive tonight. Nylander adds to his success by getting his 15th by a nice feed from Kadri hit off from Greiss. Nylander scores off his knee…haha. Speaking of Kadri, he scores resulting in a new career high in goals with 21. The man Auston Matthews double dips in this game getting not only his 26th but his 27th of the season. It was also a game for firsts as Hunwick and Leivo get their firsts of the season. A complete game for the Leafs tonight not only playing right offensively but defensively as well.
Does anyone know what the rules of an NHL game are anymore? These refs this year have been frustrating to say the least. Whether it is a missed call or calls that make you shake your head, they’ve been driving fans nuts. That penalty shot. I am not just saying this because I am a fan of the team but, what is that? Hunwick gives Chimera a little nip and he’s called resulting in a goal. Then minutes later, Kadri gets called for hooking on Tavares despite being knocked down earlier. Thankfully the Leafs kept it together and didn’t stop playing. However, one break like that resulting in a goal can spark a team to a comeback. Officiate the game fairly. If it’s a call make the call, but if it’s not then keep the arm down.
Josh Leivo had himself a time tonight. He finished this game with 1 goal and 2 assists (one of which on the power play). No one knows for sure what the Leafs are planning with him, but boy does he look like a player. At this point, even though it’s been a handful of games, I’d rather see him in the lineup over Soshnikov. In the 4 games we’ve seen him in this season, you noticed him in all of them. Unfortunately, he plays a position that the Leafs are rich in and that’s on the wing. His future with the team isn’t known for the sure, but it sure is enjoyable watching him play so well.
Andersen is back! He was as much a part of this blowout win as the forwards. Throughout the game, he made save after save keeping the Leafs in it. The only goal he allowed was that penalty shot (let’s just sweep that one under the rug shall we?). One of the saves in particular was off of Tavares in the second period. Utter larceny this was. Talk about using your head as Andersen blocks a Tavares shot while on his stomach that in all other situations would be a goal. This is the Andersen that we need to get the Leafs into the playoffs. If McElhinney can continue his backup work, this tandem can see Maple Leafs to more wins down the stretch.