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Depth scoring leads the way as Maple Leafs crush Golden Knights 7-3

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
Despite losing their best defenseman to suspension, the Toronto Maple Leafs went 5-0-0 in Morgan Rielly’s absence, and they welcomed him back into the lineup as they continued their four-game road trip into Vegas last night to take on the Golden Knights for the first time this season.

First period:

It was quite the opening 20 minutes of hockey for the Maple Leafs. There were a couple of storylines heading into last night’s contest. First, Toronto got Morgan Rielly back and entered Vegas on a season-high five-game winning streak. Second, Vegas was dealing with multiple injuries, most notably Jack Eichel and Mark Stone, and had lost three straight at home before yesterday.
I don’t know what was said before the game, but the Maple Leafs came out of the gates, along with the Golden Knights, flying. Both teams registered plenty of shots through the first five minutes of the period, with both netminders coming up huge with some saves. However, it was the road team opening the scoring with a goal from another unlikely person.
At exactly the midway point of the opening frame, the puck spat out to Jake McCabe in the offensive zone, and he one-timed a shot toward the net, banking off a couple of players and in for his sixth of the season.
A little over a minute after McCabe scored, Toronto’s fourth line went to work on the forecheck and got rewarded for their efforts. David Kampf, who entered last night on a lengthy goal drought, took the puck to the net and beat Adin Hill on his second attempt, doubling his team’s lead in just 1:10.
After weathering the storm that Vegas was brewing in the first five minutes with countless point shots, Toronto scored two goals in rapid succession and kept their foot on the gas for the remaining nine minutes.
With a goal from the blue line and the fourth-line centre, John Tavares got in on the action three minutes after Kampf made it 2-0. Bobby McMann did a great job in the corner winning the puck, and Nick Robertson got the puck to Tavares, who snapped his 17th of the season past Hill, yanking him from the net just 14:20 into the game.
It was evident that Toronto was outplaying Vegas. They did a phenomenal job at winning puck battles, getting pucks back, and simply generating scoring chances and finishing on those chances. And that continued even with Logan Thompson in the net, who came in relief for Hill.
The momentum from the previous three goals carried into the next shift, and the second line of Bertuzzi, Domi, and Nylander got on the scoresheet with Max Domi’s sixth of the season. William Nylander circled the Vegas net and found a wide-open Domi, who missed his first shot but potted home his rebound for the commanding 4-0 lead.
The chances continued for the road team, but the end of the period arrived, and Toronto entered the first intermission up 4-0, outshooting Vegas 22-14.

Second period:

Similarly to the game against the Coyotes, the Maple Leafs heavily outplayed their opponent in the first period and began the next period by allowing a goal. This time, it took Toronto’s opponent under a minute to get on the board as William Karlsson ripped his 19th of the season past Martin Jones, cutting into their deficit.
You could tell the Golden Knights were going to make a push in the middle frame, given how poorly their first went, and that’s what they did, or that’s what they attempted.
With a goal coming in the first minute of the middle period, Vegas carried that momentum into their next couple of shifts, but Jones kept them off the board. Toronto weathered Vegas’ mini-push and flipped momentum as they scored the game’s following two goals.
With one goal already, Max Domi picked up a loose puck near his blue line after two Vegas players lightly collided and bolted down the ice. He cut to the net, shielded the puck from Shea Theodore, and floated his seventh of the season past Thompson for the 5-1 lead just over the midway point in the frame.
Toronto answered Vegas’ tally roughly 10 minutes later and retook their four-goal lead, and they wanted to add to it.
As the fourth line was on the ice, Pontus Holmberg pressured Jonathan Marchessault and stole the puck off him in the neutral zone. He entered the offensive zone, faked the drop pass to Ryan Reaves, and roofed his third of the season over Thompson for the eye-opening 6-1 lead on the road.
Toronto entered the second intermission up 6-1, outshooting Vegas 34-19.

Third period:

Entering the final period, Vegas could’ve done one of two things. They either could’ve packed it in and just accepted the loss and moved on or make things interesting. They chose the latter.
William Karlsson scored 51 seconds into the second period, and Jonathan Marchessault almost beat him, scoring 59 seconds into the third. Now it’s 6-2, and yes, Toronto is up by four goals, but you can’t help yourself to think of the possibility of them doing the thing. Well, that possibility increased because former Maple Leaf Michael Amadio followed up Marchessault’s goal with a goal of his own 26 seconds later, making it a 6-3 game with almost an entire period left to be played.
Like Sheldon Keefe did when the Coyotes scored two quick goals the night before, he called a timeout to settle his guys down, which is weird because they just came out of the second intermission.
Anyway, after Vegas made things interesting to begin the third, Toronto eventually settled things down after the called timeout, and they continued to look like the team that had been giving Vegas trouble all night.
It was strange seeing the scoreboard say 6-3 Toronto and Auston Matthews not having a point yet in the game. Well, that quickly changed. With Holmberg on the ice with Matthews and Marner, he set up Matthews for his 52nd goal. Matthews entered the zone, dropped the puck to Holmberg, and drove to the net, redirecting the pass past Thompson for the 7-3 lead.
There were still roughly nine minutes to go in the game, but once Matthews gave his team the four-goal lead again, it was over, as Toronto handed Vegas their fourth straight loss on home ice, and for the Maple Leafs, it extended their winning streak to six games, and winners of 11 of their last 14 games.

Who stood out:

You wanted some depth scoring? You got some depth scoring.
Matthews and Tavares did find the back of the net, but who had Domi, Holmberg, McCabe, and Kampf scoring in the same game on their BINGO card against the Golden Knights?
Sheldon Keefe elected to keep the same lineup heading into Vegas last night, and it’s safe to say it continued to work for them. It feels like the lineup is more balanced, and it has a bit of everything on each line.
Although no line was perfect, every line found the back of the net and contributed to something. The fourth line of Holmberg, Kampf, and Reaves had arguably their best game last night, outscoring the opposition 2-0, winning the shot attempt battle 19-6, winning the shot battle 10-1, and generated an xGF of 92.3%, according to Moneypuck.com.
Max Domi also had a solid outing as well. He recorded his first two-goal performance as a member of the Maple Leafs last night, and on a line with Bertuzzi and Nylander, they controlled play against Vegas.
It was a dominating effort from Toronto, and I could go on and on about a handful of players, but I don’t want to drag this on any longer. However, one quick note: Matthews, Marner, and Nylander extended their point streaks in the win. Matthews is on a five-game goal/point streak (10 goals and three assists), Marner is on a nine-game point streak (two goals and 17 assists), and Nylander is on a six-game point streak (six goals and four assists).
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game on Saturday night when they close out their four-game road trip in Colorado against the Avalanche for their final meeting this season. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.
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