Knee Jerk Reaction: Tyler Bertuzzi has joined the hat trick club

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Hobson
1 month ago
Nathan MacKinnon may have made the better Hart case between he and Auston Matthews tonight, but the latter walked away with something he and his team would have taken seven days a week – two points. 
Coming into Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada riding a six-game win streak, it didn’t take rocket science to know that extending said streak to seven against the Colorado Avalanche in their home building was going to be a tough task, and the Avs made it as tough as possible on them throughout their 60-minute showdown. But just like they’ve done all throughout this winning streak, the Leafs grinded it out and found a way to secure two points. 
This time, the hero was somebody who was long overdue for “his moment”. Tyler Bertuzzi secured the hat-trick in the late stages of the game to give the Leafs the edge in the heavyweight tilt. For context, his last three goals before tonight came in the span of 37 games. 
The Bertuzzi-Domi-Nylander line has been generating lots of offence of late, and while that line had their defensive miscues tonight, it was the mostly power play where Bertuzzi made his money. The promotion to the top power play unit was long overdue and he’s showing the world why he should have been utilized there from the start. All three of his goals came within proximity of the blue paint, a place where he scored all of his goals last season and half of his goals the year before. Not to toot my own horn, but I may or may not have pleaded a case for this in a recent article.
Another element of significance of the win is that it marks the first time in 20 years the Leafs have won seven games in a row. You wouldn’t expect the Leafs of this season to be the ones setting that record, just on account of how up and down their season has been to date, but there doesn’t look to be much that can stop this Leafs team right now. They just defeated the last two Stanley Cup champions in their third game in four days, and there hasn’t been much to criticize them about. They’ve tightened up their mistakes defensively, they’re getting help offensively from all around the lineup, and they’re getting timely saves from their goaltender. 
The Leafs will look to make it eight games in a row on Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes, this time at home. Sweep the season series against the Yotes, and then I might believe they’re different.

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