Photo Credit: © John E. Sokolowski - USA Today

Leafs postgame: Steady Freddy

Since drafting Auston Matthews, the Leafs have won 100% of games played without Matthews in the lineup. But then also this:

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Frederik Andersen was the first star of this game, in the media vote and in our hearts. And hats off to him for surviving all the abuse this game, honestly. He probably deserves a night off, but I’m a little afraid of how the game would go…

1st Period

The first exciting thing that happened was when Nazem Kadri took a hit from Nino Niederreiter right into the curved glass at the end of the Wild bench for the first penalty of the game. It looked pretty bad, but he was fine (and he even scored later).

The Leafs’ resulting power play was not very great, and even with that, the Buds didn’t register an official shot on goal until almost nine minutes into the game. The period ended 9-6 Wild, which isn’t even a very accurate picture of how much Minnesota was running this game. (The Leafs finished with 19 shots to the Wild’s 37, for one thing.)

Even so, the Leafs got on the board first with a really weird shot from Morgan Rielly that ended up officially being credited as Kadri’s goal (last I checked).

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Jason Zucker also scored, and it was not the best moment for Toronto defensively. Just trust me on this one.

2nd Period

Patrick Marleau scored his 514th goal off a great assist from Zach Hyman, and he owns spot #39 on the all-time list now. (Move over, Jeremy Roenick.)

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It was the second period where Andersen really showed us what he’s made of. In addition to a solid game overall, he had a couple of great stops on Matt Cullen and Tyler Ennis. This game could’ve been a lot less fun.

Even though the Leafs were playing catch-up most of this game, Patrick Marleau can and will do whatever it takes, and it’s nice to have a reminder.

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3rd Period

At first we all thought Matt Martin tipped in a Connor Carrick shot for the game-winner, but actually the goal was given back to Carrick. It would’ve been a little unfair to take goals away from two Leafs defencemen tonight.

Connor Carrick really had himself an eventful period, with scoring the game-winning goal, nearly taking out his own goalie, and then taking a penalty that resulted in the Wild’s Jason Zucker’s second goal of the night.

Andersen did come back without missing any time, so hopefully it was nothing serious.

And with an assist and an empty net goal tonight, Connor Brown now has 11 points in 17 games this season, which is almost one third of his total from last year (#analytics). (He also didn’t get his 11th point last season until December 23rd.) Not that I want to keep Marner on the fourth line, but Connor Brown sure is impressive, man.

I’m very glad this game is over. Who needs coffee when you’re watching the Leafs almost lose? Babcock said after the game that they don’t have a timeline for Auston’s return, which could just be Babs shrugging off a question he’s probably already heard 100 times in the last 12 hours…or maybe I should lay off the caffeine for the next few games while give Matthews time to get back to 100%.

Check back here tomorrow for some goal breakdowns, and also on Friday when the B’s are in town.

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