On Zach Aston-Reese, the Leafs getting goalied by Jet Greaves, and killer instinct: Muzzy’s Muzings
Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga1 month ago
The Leafs are now six points up on Tampa for second in the Atlantic Division with five games left.
In the penultimate home game of the regular season, Zach Aston-Reese scored twice as Toronto doubled up Jet Greaves and the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena.
If you’re unfamiliar with the name, you’re not alone. In his NHL debut, the undrafted Cambridge native made 46 stops to keep the Jackets in the game. Simply, he was outstanding. Meantime, Joseph Woll, who improved to 4-1-0 on the season, notched 24 saves.
Alex Kerfoot (10th) and Auston Matthews (EN – 38th) had the other two goals for the Maple Leafs, who improved to 46-21-10 on the season.
Toronto took two of three from Columbus in 2022-23.
FIRST NAME JET, LAST NAME GREAVES
It was about as predictable as a Jose Berrios start these days for the Toronto Blue Jays. Death, taxes, and the Leafs struggling to score against no-name goalies. By the way, that’s no slight on Greaves. The 22-year-old was fantastic making 46 saves on 50 shots. Seriously, I would love to see someone attempt a thesis paper on why the Leafs, who are routinely one of the top offensive teams in the NHL, get goalied so often. At any rate, I would almost argue they’re lucky to be facing Andrei Vasilevskiy in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Jokes aside, congrats to the Greaves family. Clearly, I still have major league PTSD from that time the Leafs made their Zamboni driver look like Patrick Roy.
It’s awfully hard to be critical of a meaningless game in early April, especially when it’s a victory, but..that game felt/sounded like a glorified scrimmage. Say what you want about Jet Greaves and his performance, but there’s no way that roster Columbus iced should even be in the same time zone as Toronto. A win is a win, and I get that. Personally, I just felt like they lacked the intensity and desperation needed to be successful come playoff time. They were sloppy. On top of that, from a defensive standpoint, I didn’t think they were great either —good thing Columbus was missing half their roster. Again, no need to overreact here. I’ll give this team the benefit of the doubt that they’ll look much more enthused in two weeks from now. I’m sure it’s tough to get up for these games right now.
If you were to tell me at the beginning of the season that Zach Aston-Reese would score 10 goals, I would’ve taken it and ran a naked mile in appreciation. Following his two-goal output on Tuesday night, the 28-year-old now has five goals in his past 10 outings and has hit the 10-goal plateau for the first time in his career. Remarkable stuff. Come the postseason, I’d argue the depth pieces are almost as vital as the core guys. If Toronto’s going to best Tampa, they’ll need some timely contributions from their bottom-six. Great to see Aston-Reese heating up at the perfect time!
In an attempt to get John Tavares and William Nylander going, Sheldon Keefe threw them on a line with Mitch Marner. On paper, that should’ve been a match-up nightmare for the depleted Blue Jackets, but unfortunately, that trio brought next to nothing for the Maple Leafs. In general, I though Toronto’s top-six was just okay; the Matthews line had a few chances. We’ll just chalk it up to an “off” night for the big boys.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:
The Leafs will be in Boston on Thursday night to tangle with the Presidents’ Trophy winning Bruins. The B’s lead the four-game season series 2-1.
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