5 Thoughts From Beating Detroit in Detroit

The Leafs were across the border tonight (barely) in a contest against their Original 6 and Northeast Division rival Detroit Red Wings. On Hockey Night in Canada, the Leafs had some pressure on them to perform after a miserable 7-3 loss at home on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Here are some thoughts from the game to sum things up.

Poor Starts Again

The Leafs have still not managed to stop the early bleeding in allowing the first goal against. This is a problem that has lingered since last season, and continues to bite them in the butt.

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Whether it’s changing pre game routines, or starting with less of a defined game plan, or a more defined game plan, or a different shift rotation, something has to change so that Leafs don’t have to keep coming back from behind to win hockey games.

4th Line Magic

Tonight’s fourth line of Dmytro Timashov, Frederik Gauthier, and Nick Shore were a marvel in this game. They created two of the 5 goals for Toronto. Nick Shore tied the game at 1’s after the Leafs went down early to Detroit on this great net front play after a beautiful pass by Dmytro Timashov:

Then later in the game, when Detroit was threatening a comeback, Timashov delivered again on a great royal road pass to Jake Muzzin who finished it off, putting the Leafs up 4-2 in the third period:

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3rd Line Dominance

As good as the fourth line was, the third line deserves just as much a mention if not more so. They scored three of the 5 goals tonight, with an empty netter from Trevor Moore, and including the game winner by Alexander Kerfoot here:

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Earlier in the game, Ilya Mikheyev busted in between the Red Wings defense on a long pass to give the Leafs their first lead of the game:

Top 6… Where are you?

The rest of the Leafs forwards were mediocre at best tonight. The minimal effort they put into this contest was disappointing to say the least.

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For the Tavares line, I didn’t really notice Tavares much out there. Kapanen has been a sore thumb on that line for a while and the time may come soon to shake things up and move him down the roster. Marner had some jolts of electricity at even strength, but on the powerplay he was just as ineffective as the rest of his unit.

On Matthews’ line, it was Johnsson who had a few good chances out there, but Matthews and Nylander both looked tired at many points in the game.

All in all, it’s confusing to see the stars of this team not performing. Perhaps there was a bit of disheartening from that loss on Thursday, or perhaps it was just that the Red Wings’ ability to shut down the powerplay from the very beginning took all of the life out of their legs.

Andersen’s Rebound Success

Not so much a success on controlling rebounds in particular, but his rebound from the terrible performance at home on Thursday, getting pulled on a 7 goals against night. No goaltender will take that perfectly, but Andersen responded well tonight. Allowing just 2 goals on 27 shots, he put in a solid performance in goal for Toronto that deserves recognition.