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Is there a record for most season sweeps in the season? Leafs Victory! 5-4 against the Detroit Red Wings. Not only was this game important in the standings, but it’s meaningful for the players on the team. This would be the last time the Maple Leafs would play at the Joe Louis Arena. Boy did they make this one memorable (especially Auston). This is the third season sweep the Leafs have this year along with the Nashville Predators and the Boston Bruins (the last one felt so good to say). With a beautiful Ottawa defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets, the Leafs are second in the Atlantic Division. Thanks ROW! The Leafs have one more away game at Buffalo before the final boss of the season: the four game home stretch. With two points away from the magic number, April is starting to look good for the Blue and White.
So going to do something new and change up the order. Usually this portion of the game reaction is last, but the beauties of this game were disgusting! Marlanderthews was in full effect scoring the first three goals for the Leafs. For those who don’t know, this is the combination of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander (whoever came up with this deserves a medal). Connor Carrick makes an unbelievable pass from the Leafs zone to Marner who is at the Red Wings blue line. Marner breaks in alone and scores over Howard’s glove. After a Detroit shot that Polak deflected went wide, Matthews passes the puck to Nylander in the neutral zone who breaks in. Nylander holds the puck and gets closer, and closer, toe drag, shoots and scores.
Auston Matthews of course didn’t settle for one, but had two. Leafs are on the powerplay, and Matthews passes the puck to Komorov who is waiting at the blue line. Matthews gets through both Frans Nielsen and Dylan Larkin and heads to the net to receive a pass. Then with absolutely no room, because he doesn’t need any, Matthews scores stick side over Jimmy Howard. His second goal was a clear of example of when you don’t succeed, try again. With possession of the puck, Hyman sends a centering pass to Matthews who shoots but is stopped. Brian Boyle sees the rebound and shoots again but is stopped. Then another rebound comes out to the 19-year-old who is not stopped a second time and scores.
Marner has 18. Nylander has 22. Matthews has 38.
Detroit did have four against the Leafs, which isn’t a favourable number. The first Detroit goal came off the rush as Nielsen drops the puck back to Nyquist who scores through traffic. The puck went perfectrly through Rielly and Tatar so it’s hard to hold that one against Freddie. In the Leafs zone, Nick Jensen ends up with the puck after a Zetterberg face-off win. He is able to head towards the net unchallenged and get two shots. First shot was stopped by Andersen, but the rebound was kicked right to him for the goal. In the third period, there’s a battle in front between Tatar and Carrick. Nylander appears to lose his man as Niklas Kronwall heads to the net and receives a beautiful saucer pass from Zetterberg down low to tie the game. Luckily the Leafs were able to hold on, but some of those defensive mishaps of leaving people open need to be fixed.
Beauty of the game goes to the whole team. Even though they allowed the Red Wings to come back in the game and tie it, they kept on playing. This started with the veterans with JVR’s 25th and ended with Matthews. Kadri tips Gardnier’s initial shot to the front of the net, and JVR on the backhand tucks the puck behind Howard. This goal was a huge boost as less than two minutes later, Matthews got his 38th. Mike Babcock always says that its so easy to hang your head after giving up a lead and that it’s better to just get the next one. The Leafs have bought into that mindset. There has been so many times fans have seen this team get a lead and blow in the third period. It’s working. This is the new Toronto Maple Leafs. This is the new culture.
Tweets of the Game
Leafs games are bad for your health…the stress is unreal :p #TMLTalk
— Stephen Officer (@OfficerStephen) April 2, 2017