The truth is Andersen and the Leafs played a fantastic game in all aspects. They dominated the faceoff dot; they had a fortune of shots on net and played a responsible game overall. If it wasn’t for the referee handing the Islanders a penalty shot, Andersen would have got the shutout he deserved.
As the third period started I saw Babcock behind the bench, giving all his players a tap on the back, firing them up, getting them ready for a big third period. As we know, the Leafs have not been the greatest at closing out games with leads going into the third period.
Well, whatever talks or taps that Babcock dished out was enough to give his players the drive to not only close the game, but really rub it in the Islanders faces with four third period goals. The Leafs really pushed hard in the third period, as if they had absolutely zero intentions of losing this game or even giving the Islanders a chance to get back into it.
Could this be the Leafs revamped third period game plan? Speed, more speed and scoring, I dig it.
With last night’s dominating win, the Leafs separated from the pack gaining a bit of breathing room. With a win tonight the Leafs will pass the Bruins and Senators and look most beautiful in that second spot in the Atlantic Division. I assure you, the Habs fans are nervously watching the Leafs climb the ladder. It’s always great when we Toronto fans are riding the ladder to the top while watching the Canadiens spiral down the snake. If persay the Leafs won their next three, they would then be at equal games played as Montreal, just one measly point behind!
McElhinney will get the start tonight as the Leafs were quick to exit the Air Canada Center last night to make their way to Columbus. McElhinney has been excellent for the Maple Leafs posting a 2-2 record but 2.12 GAA and .935 save percent. Both of which are solid stats for a backup goalie, especially one who just joined the team halfway through the season. I would imagine the Blue Jackets start Bobrovsky, but they could play Joonas Korpisalo since Columbus plays four games this week. Tough to say considering Columbus has the luxury of playing every other night (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).
As of now Columbus sits in third place in the Eastern Conference and has had a very successful season thus far, but without question they haven’t been as hot lately as they were before the All-Star break. They are 4-5-1 in their last ten and are coming off a loss Monday versus the Rangers.
Even though the Leafs played last night, I still feel the youngsters will have their legs and they will be ever so dangerous against this Blue Jackets team.
Top 5 Points:
Mitchell Marner: 15 goals, 33 assists (48 points)
Auston Matthews: 27 goals, 19 assists (46 points)
James van Riemsdyk: 19 goals, 25 assists (44 points)
Nazem Kadri: 21 goals, 21 assists (42 points)
William Nylander: 15 goals, 23 assists (38 points)
The rookies have been a big part of the success for the Maple Leafs. Three of their top 5 producers are rookies and you still have Zaitsev (26 points), Brown (24 points), Hyman (23 points) plus a handful of points from other rookies.
The points you don’t see are the ones that Andersen has saved between the pipes. He’s been just as important to this team as the production has been from the rookies up front. It was good to see Andersen settle in and play such an efficient game last night, looking square to the puck and poised. He certainly does enjoy flashing the leather as his glove hand is quite strong (something we didn’t see too often from Bernier or Reimer).
Here is to hoping for a Leafs winning streak to start, cheers!