Matthew Knies, Fraser Minten continue to impress as Toronto squeaks out win over Montreal: Maple Leafs postgame
Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita2 months ago
For the first time this preseason, the Maple Leafs were up against one of their biggest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, as both teams began the first half of a back-to-back.
After picking up their first win against the Sabres Wednesday night, Toronto was looking to carry that momentum into Montreal and register their second win as the preseason moves along.
The game started a little slow as both teams didn’t generate a lot of scoring chances. The shots were only 4-2 for the Canadiens through the first half of the first period, and both goalies weren’t tested that often, to be honest.
However, the pace started to pick up, a couple of power-plays were handed out, and Toronto had some of their best scoring chances in the second half of the opening 20 minutes but was unable to put one in the back of the net to open the scoring.
Outside of that, there wasn’t a lot going on in that period. Matthew Knies impressed early on with his puck protection and his play away from the puck on the penalty kill. The Robertson-Kampf-Reaves line had themselves a good shift that generated a scoring chance for Ryan Reaves.
The second period, just like the first period, started slow for both teams. They traded some chances, but nothing materialized, and it was a pretty boring period for the most part.
However, it was just after the midway point of the frame when Toronto opened the scoring.
After taking their third penalty of the game, Toronto was seen in the offensive zone when Fraser Minten took the puck off a Canadiens player, set Matthew Knies up in the slot and made no mistake as he fired one past Primeau to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead.
About five-ish minutes after Knies opened the scoring, the Maple Leafs were inside the Canadiens zone when they started to create some chances. A pass to the point from Noah Gregor to Mikko Kokkonen gave Toronto a 2-0 lead as his point shot deflected off Joshua Roy and in.
The Maple Leafs were awarded a power play late in the frame but couldn’t extend their lead heading into the intermission.
Although it was a boring game for much of the entire contest, scoring chances were still there for both sides, but nothing was good enough from either team to put the puck in the back of the net.
It took about 15 minutes into the third period for the next goal to be scored, and it came from the Montreal Canadiens to cut the Maple Leafs’ lead in half.
Can you guess which Hab scored? If you said Josh Anderson, you are correct! It doesn’t matter if it is a preseason game or a regular-season game. This guy will find a way to score against the Maple Leafs.
Who stood out:
Matthew Knies continues to have a solid preseason as he netted his first goal in the second period and showed off great play away from the puck when he was on the penalty kill.
Knies’ linemate in tonight’s game, Fraser Minten, also had a solid game and continues to mature and develop into the player Toronto drafted in 2022. His two-way ability and size have been a treat to watch thus far in training camp, and he honestly could fight for a roster spot next season after he is done playing in the WHL.
Ilya Samsonov didn’t necessarily stand out to me because he didn’t get tested a lot in this game, but for someone playing in his first game since the playoffs, he stopped all 17 shots that were thrown at him through two periods and looked pretty calm.
Another player who has continued to impress me a lot in the early going is Noah Gregor. Just as I talked about in a previous postgame article, he won’t find his name on the scoresheet a ton, but his speed and tenacity are something that will be a nice addition to his lineup if he earns a contract after his PTO, which I think will happen.
The Maple Leafs are back in action tomorrow night in Montreal as they close out the back-to-back against the Canadiens. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT on TSN4.
Recent articles from Joseph Zita