McMann nets first career hat-trick, Maple Leafs dominate Blues and win 4-1

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph Zita
1 month ago
The Toronto Maple Leafs returned home to begin a three-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues last night. However, it came at the cost of having multiple everyday players (Rielly, Marner, and Tavares) out of the lineup, along with Timmins (mono) and Jones (lower-body injury), who are also sidelined.

First period:

If you tuned in for last night’s game, you might’ve been in for a surprise when you saw the lineup. With Calle Jarnkrok still sidelined, and now Conor Timmins and Martin Jones out too, the Maple Leafs also lost Morgan Rielly (five-game suspension) and both John Tavares and Mitch Marner (illness) for their game against the Blues.
However, Toronto plays well when they’re missing key players. They were without Rielly, Brodie, and Muzzin early into last season, and half their blue line consisted of AHL players. Meanwhile, they went on a 15-game point streak and proved everybody wrong.
Now, I don’t know if they’re going to do that again, but the players need to buy in and have that next-man-up mentality. And the first goal last night came from an unlikely player, Bobby McMann. After working the puck down low and around the boards, Noah Gregor kept the puck low near the wall. McMann scooped up the loose puck, out-muscled Brayden Schenn, and drove to the net, beating Binnington for his third of the season.
The fourth line got Toronto on the board in a game where they needed everybody’s help, and although no goals were scored for another 10-plus minutes of game time, all of their lines had solid shifts in the offensive zone, generating scoring chances.
With roughly under four minutes left in the frame, a harmless-looking cross-crease pass from William Nylander to Auston Matthews took a deflection off Matt Kessel and found its way past Jordan Binnington to give the Maple Leafs a 2-0 lead. At this point in the game, Toronto deserved to be up 2-0, but it easily could’ve been 3-0 or 4-0 if it wasn’t for Binnington, who made some nice-looking stops in tight.
Toronto entered the first intermission up 2-0 and outshooting St. Louis 10-3.

Second period:

After a tremendous first period from the Maple Leafs, it’s obvious what Toronto needed to do in the middle frame: keep their foot on the gas pedal.
We know Toronto has habits of playing very well in one period and following that period up with a sloppy one or a mediocre period at best. And although they were without some of their best players last night, they just needed to play simple hockey. Unfortunately, after playing almost mistake-free in the first 20 minutes, those mistakes slowly started to creep back into their game at points in the second period. Max Domi took a controversial penalty relatively early, and although they killed it off, the Blues found the back of the net as it expired. Alexey Toropchenko tipped home his ninth of the season past Ilya Samsonov to cut Toronto’s lead in half.
The Blues started to look more engaged in the game and didn’t look like the same team that Toronto played in the first period. They forced Toronto into more turnovers, played in the offensive zone more often, and didn’t allow a goal.
The Maple Leafs had to kill off a second penalty after Matthew Knies was whistled for hooking Nick Leddy, but thankfully, the penalty kill did another solid job at killing it off. They would get their first power play toward the end of the period, giving them their first opportunity since just over midway through the second period of the Dallas game last Wednesday.
They generated a couple of chances, including a glorious look from Max Domi in tight, but couldn’t raise the puck to beat Binnginton, keeping the score 2-1.
Toronto entered the second intermission up 2-1, outshooting their opponent 18-11.

Third period:

Although the Maple Leafs looked like the better team through 40 minutes, they were only up by one goal heading into the final period, which was a little nerve-racking. However, they stuck to the game plan, kept their foot on the gas pedal, and not only recorded 13 shots in the third period (their most in any period last night), but they also limited the Blues to just four shots.
They didn’t let the fact that it was only a one-goal game affect them when they entered the third frame. As soon as the puck dropped, they went to work and replicated their first period when they were dominating the Blues in all three zones.
After scoring earlier in the first, Bobby McMann got on the board again with his second of the night off this wicked release that beat Binnington far side, doubling his team’s lead eight minutes in.
With two goals in his back pocket, McMann was officially on hat-trick watch and had a legitimate shot, given how well his team had been playing.
Toronto continued to pressure St. Louis, not giving them much to generate offensively, which allowed them to remain in control of the game. The second line had many looks to get on the board but couldn’t solve the Blues netminder.
The scoring chances were coming in bunches, but the score remained 3-1 in favour of Toronto. That was until the Blues pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, and Keefe threw McMann over the boards for the chance at career hat-trick number one. It wasn’t a traditional shot, but the Wainwright, Alberta native banked the puck off the boards, clearing the zone, and it made its way down the ice perfectly into the vacant net, securing the hat-trick in front of the home fans.
The clock ticked down and the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were without Tavares, Marner, Rielly, and Jarnkrok, walked away with an impressive 4-1 win over a Blues team that had won seven of their past eight games heading into last night’s contest.

Who stood out:

Bobby. Freaking. McMann.
For someone who didn’t know he was going to play 24 hours before puck drop, McMann showed up to the rink and put on a show. The 27-year-old undrafted forward played in career game number 37 last night and decided to be Auston Matthews for the night with two of Toronto’s top-six forwards out of the lineup. In just 13:30 of ice time, McMann recorded a hat-trick and was noticeable with throwing his weight around, registering five hits as well. He also received the game belt in the locker room postgame.
This line didn’t score or record a single point, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Max Domi, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Nick Robertson were the new-look second line in last night’s game, and wow, they looked good but couldn’t beat Binnington. All three players combined for nine shots and according to moneypuck.com, generated an xGF of 0.95 as a line in 11:00 minutes at five-on-five. If you caught the game, you would’ve seen the countless chances from that line, especially Bertuzzi, who continues to be snake-bitten.
As mentioned above, everyone looked good in the win yesterday. No one stood out among everyone else in a poor way. The offence was there, the defence was there, the goaltending was there, the physicality was there (44 hits), and although their power play went 0-for-2, their penalty kill went 2-for-2, extending their hot streak. It was a phenomenal win.
You can catch the Toronto Maple Leafs’ next game on Thursday night when they continue their homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.

Check out these posts...