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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports

Leafs Postgame: Smashed ‘Ville

Getting ever closer, aren’t they? The Toronto Maple Leafs dragged their feet in the late stages, but squeaked out a 3-1 lead over the Nashville Predators to bring themselves to 89 points with a win over the Nashville Predators.

The Rundown

This was a game of late period goals for the Leafs. Toronto opened their account up tonight on a powerplay drawn by Matt Martin through (gasp) not fighting Austin Watson after throwing a big hit on Mattias Ekholm. James van Riemsdyk made no mistake redirecting a Nikita Zaitsev point shot, which also led to Mitch Maner breaking the Leafs rookie assist record with his 41st of the year.

Toronto recaptured the lightning in a bottle at almost the same time in the second period. Mike Fisher went to the box for a slash on Tyler Bozak, and Auston Matthews converted on the ensuing powerplay thanks to a sweet feed from Connor Brown, extending his amazing rookie goal total to 36.

Trouble seemed to be brewing in the third period when Filip Forsberg took advantage of an incredibly passive Jake Gardiner and Nikita Zaitsev, easily stepping in to fire home a goal that brought the Predators to within one. Moments later, Roman Polak took a revenge penalty for holding that put the Leafs on the penalty kill, but they were able to fend off harm. While the period mostly consisted of Toronto getting nervously caved in, it worked out in the end; Brown added an empty-netter to win the day.

Why The Leafs Won / Blue Warrior

So much for a panic-inducing, season-ending injury, eh? Frederik Andersen stopped 29 of 30 shots that he faced after missing just a single game. He kept the Leafs in it when they tuned out, especially in a third period where they were outshot 13-2. All the credit to him.

See You Next Time

We all get a day off before the Leafs are back at it again. They’ll be at Joe Louis Arena for the last time ever, taking on the Red Wings.  It’ll be on Hockey Night in Canada at 7:00 PM, as most Saturday games are. See you then!

  • BarelyComments

    Did anyone see Craig Button’s ridiculous projected Leafs lineup for next season? I think he just made the team worse over the summer… Also happy for Marner to brake the assist record but is it just me or has he seemed pretty meh for the past number of games? Hopefully he can pick it up for the last stretch.

    • Drapes55

      You can’t say Button made a worse team, saying they would lose Carrick seems surprising because I thought he would be protected. I like that he had Alzner on the team, I think he would be a great number 3-4 shutdown defenseman that could help Reilly or Gardiner.

    • FlareKnight

      Well it wasn’t that silly, but of course I don’t think things will quite play out like that. If nothing else I expect to see more push on the blueline from the Marlies. Doubt we’ll just grab 2-3 UFA defensemen.

      • Gary Empey

        It is starting to look like Craig Button has only a tenuous grip on reality. I think he is suffering from Social Media Overload Syndrome. = SMOS. Before Social Media, it used to be known as ” Out to Lunch and not expected back”

    • The Russian Rocket

      I agree, I thought his lineup was nuts. There’s absolutely no way the Leafs are going to let Connor Carrick go. He’s a 22 year old Top4 RHD who has the capability to play rough and put up points. Give him another year or two and you can expect he’ll be able to contribute more offensively, like he did when he led the AHL playoffs in scoring last year with more than a point-per-game pace.

  • FlareKnight

    Just another huge win. The kind of win that makes you sit back and go “yeah, this is a good team.” They did sit back a bit too much in the 3rd. Though that would have probably worked if they didn’t basically offer Forsberg a breakaway….with 3 guys back.

    Anyways, great performance once again by Andersen. Thank god he only missed one game and is right back to it. Team got the job done. Some nice goals. Good on Brown for closing in on 20 goals in his rookie year (pretty darn impressive) and Matthews pushing towards 40.

    Just keep on winning!

    • Gary Empey

      It is hard not to appear like you are sitting back when the other team is giving it every last thing they got to tie and win the game. That was one major area the rookies were overwhelmed by at the beginning of the season. Our excellent, patient, coaching and the rookies ability and desire to learn quickly has paid off in spades.

  • lukewarmwater

    The leaf fan favourite water hole out here in God’s country was large and exuberant with the leafs playing a solid road game. Freddy caps off a brilliant March as the club indeed marches towards the playoffs. Heh Senators, the leafs trail you chokers by 2 points. To me the player of the game was the penalty kill which was stupendous. In the second thanks to some yesterday garbage officiating it seemed the leafs lived in the penalty box. But the p.k. no not Suban but the leafs penalty killers were as good as the night they were short handed for close to 7 minutes.
    Now as I sat down in the bar which I came to afar and drank from a mason jar, to watch a superstar, hmmmm I love this bar. Yesiree the Calder cup rookie of the year got the game winner with his 36th of the year. But what a superb pass from Connor Brown who has been so impressive in his rookie season as he needs one goal to hit the 20 goal mark. On the p.p., p.k. hustling, grinding and scoring , not bad for a late round pick. Down to 6 games now as the leafs can simply decide their own fate. Just keep winning leafs, Go leafs Go.
    Btw a young attractive lady sat down beside me at the bar. She was beautiful as she wore my identical Auston Matthews jersey. I adapted her as a grand daughter.

    • Glen

      There is no more loyal fan than me have been since 58 but I will call a lemon a lemon and over the years there have been many lemons. However this group looks like a winner so I am very optimistic even if they miss the playoffs this year. Like your insightful comments and respect your knowledge of the game.

      • getrdone

        I have been a fan since about 1956 or so, yep there have been times that I hated ownership and management, but never a time that I turned my back on the team. Management and ownership have had many and have cost my team many a future star. From not thinking they player association would ever go, nor the WHA would ever work, nor the salary cap would ever be introduced and not to mention the most meddlesome owner(Harold) and they all cost us a chance to really celebrate as fans.

  • Gary Empey

    Sometimes I wonder if after years of criticizing the Maple Leafs Toronto fans and some media just got into the habit of running the Leafs down, and now can’t stop themselves. Why don’t we leave all that criticizing to jealous fans of other teams. There is no shortage of those “D!ckheads” Not to say there isn’t room for some objective, constructive, criticism and speculation. I admit I am a biased Leaf fan. We expect loyalty from our players. I expect loyalty from Maple Leaf fans. There is far too much of constant put-downs of this years team. This is after we have finished dead-last at the end of the season last year. It is a team sport. Everyone of our guys have contributed to making this years Leafs an exciting team, with playoff potential. We now have an even more promising future than we have seen in years. That is how I have always felt about the Leafs, ever since watched my first game in Oak Ridges Ontario, on a small black and white TV, with Foster Hewett calling the game from up in the gondola.

  • Top Shelf

    Fun game to watch. The PK was phenomenal last night. I’m not sure how to feel as we creep closer to the playoffs. Part of me (like most Leafs fans) is so apprehensive and as we go into these games, I have to temper my expectations. Slowly, the abused puppy that dwells deep in my soul is trusting again. This team continues to show up. Sure, there are hiccups like in Buffalo last Saturday, but the resilience of this team really impresses me. Nashville is a good team and a team that is playing for seeding points. Glad Freddy is back and I can’t wait to see what they can put together on Saturday in Detroit as I will be in the stands repping Leafs Nation. Go Leafs Go!
    Side Note: Passion has never been better defined than the look in the eyes of Gardiner and Matthews in the header pic.