It wasn’t a picturesque effort, but the Maple Leafs managed to squeak out a 3-1 win over the visiting Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday evening.
The game was a stark contrast to Toronto’s previous home game, a loss to Dallas in which the Leafs played well enough to earn at least a point but came away empty-handed.
Against Vegas, despite losing the puck possession battle and being dominated on the shot counter, the Buds prevailed.
- Frederik Andersen was easily the game’s first star, making 36 saves for the win.
- Connor Brown (pictured) and Mitch Marner found the scoresheet for the Leafs, ending personal goal droughts of ten games and five games, respectively.
- Nazem Kadri rounded out the scoring into an empty net.
- The Leafs were a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill, moving to 36-for-43 on the season (83.7%)
- The ice seemed to be tilted against the Leafs in the second period, after Marner extended the Leafs’ lead to 2-0, just nine seconds into the frame. Toronto had the benefit of three goal posts being struck by Vegas shooters in behind Andersen.. The Leafs were outshot 16-8 over those twenty minutes.
By my count, Merrill, Theodore and Reaves have all hit iron behind Andersen in the second period. Leafs lucky to be leading 2-1 after two periods.
— Rob Del Mundo (@Rob_DelMundo) November 7, 2018
- Marner, on the team’s second period performance: “I think we stopped playing. We didn’t forecheck. We didn’t get on the forecheck at all. We didn’t help out our D. We weren’t slowing people down at all. They’re a fast team and I think when we do that it makes it hard on our D. Obviously, everyone sees every night, Freddie Andersen has been unbelievable for us every single game here and he’s the reason we stole one tonight.”
- We all know that the Leafs power play efficiency of 9-for-19 (47.3%) to start the year was not sustainable. But after going 0-for-1 on Tuesday, the team has gone just 3-for-21 (14.3%) in eight games since then.
- Vegas forward Erik Haula was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Haula fell backward awkwardly after sustaining a clean check from Patrick Marleau, his right ankle appearing to buckle underneath him. It looks to be a devastating injury.
In 2016, Rob wrote “Hockey’s Enforcers: A Dying Breed”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.