Auston Matthews double dips as Toronto dummies Seattle to kick off five-game road trip: Muzzy’s Muzings
Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga22 days ago
Nearly two months after the Kraken embarrassed the Leafs 5-1 at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto returned the favour at Climate Pledge Arena on Sunday night.
In his return to Seattle, not only did Mark Giordano score a goal but he also notched his 2,045th career shot block to set the NHL record to help lead the Maple Leafs to a convincing 5-1 victory.
Meantime, Auston Matthews scored twice to snap a three-game goalless drought while Mitch Marner racked up another three helpers. He’s now fourth in the NHL in assists. Additionally, Timothy Liljegren tallied two points (one goal, one assist) and both William Nylander and Michael Bunting had two assists. Ilya Samsonov made 26 stops to improve to 22-7-2 on the season.
Toronto’s won four of five (4-1-0) since pulling off the big trade 10 days ago with the St. Louis Blues.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS
In case you missed it, this kid guitarist smashed both national anthems out of the park. In my world, he’s pretty much the Connor Bedard of guitarists at this point. Bright, bright future, I tell you. To this day, School of Rock remains one of my favourite flicks. Supremely underrated.
WHAT A FIRST PERIOD
After a tough first few minutes, the Leafs deserve a lot of credit for finding their way and taking over the hockey game. Honestly, it really set the tone for the rest of the night. In total, they outshot the Kraken 20-7 in the first frame and outscored them 3-1. What a way to start a five-game road trip, right? It’s amazing how much confidence some of these guys are playing with right now, especially William Nylander and Mitch Marner. Additionally, it was great to see two blue liners (Giordano, Liljegren) chip in with a goal. Sadly, that’s become a rarity over the past couple years. That said, there’s still plenty of time to rectify that trend. Manifesting it for the playoffs!
KEEFE DOES IT AGAIN
Find me a better coach in the league at line tweaking. On Saturday, in an attempt to get Auston Matthews going again, Sheldon Keefe flipped Nylander and Marner in the top-six. And eureka, No. 34 ended a three-game goalless drought with a beauty in the second period before adding another goal in the third. Also, I think Mitch Marner deserves a lot of credit. He’s been playing awesome and unsurprisingly, he got Matthews going again. What a season for No. 16.
After allowing an early goal, I thought Samsonov was fantastic and really settled in. Honestly, what a story he’s become this season. Essentially, the Leafs took a flier on him, and he’s rapidly evolved into their No. 1 goalie. Barring something crazy, the Russian will start the first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against Tampa. As it pertains to Sunday night’s game, I thought he stayed very calm and composed following the 1-0 goal. It’s early in his tenure with Toronto, but suffice it is to say, I’m open to the idea of having Samsonov stick around long-term. He’s been exceptional story this season.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:
Game two of the five-game road trip will take the Leafs to Edmonton on Wednesday night to tangle with the Oilers for the first of two between the sides in 10 days. Toronto took both games against Edmonton last season.
Don’t forget to check out ‘Leafs Morning Take’ with yours truly, Nick Alberga, and former Leaf Jay Rosehill every weekday morning LIVE at 11 a.m. ET on The Nation Network YouTube page.
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