Wild Bill pots another OT winner as Leafs grind out victory against Wild: Muzzy’s Muzings
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Alberga1 month ago
If you look up the definition of the word ‘slog’ in the dictionary, you would probably find a picture of Friday night’s game between the Leafs and the Wild.
At least overtime was fun.
William Nylander scored his third OT winner of the season as Toronto slid by Minnesota 2-1 to sweep the two-game season series with the Wild. Furthermore, the Leafs have now notched at least a point in five straight outings against Minnesota.
Ilya Samsonov made 24 stops to improve to 17-2-1 on home ice this season. David Kampf had the other goal for the Maple Leafs. Dating back to last season, Toronto is 10-0-0 in games when Kampf scores a goal on home ice. Additionally, Sheldon Keefe’s squad improved to 3-1-0 in four outings since pulling off the big trade with the St. Louis Blues last Friday.
That’s three hours none of us will ever get back.
For a Friday night, that building was dead in the first period. And quite frankly, so were the two teams. That said, thankfully, things did open up a bit in the final five minutes or so. All in all, though, it was a weird period —especially for Ilya Samsonov. In addition to almost being scored on from centre ice, the Duhaime goal was nothing to write home about either. I love how no one knew it went in. Everyone was sleeping early, so it’s unfair to place sole blame on Samsonov. Let’s stick with that angle. That said, I did think the Leafs started to wake up as the period progressed. Long story short, I hope I’m never subjected to a period of hockey like that again. Gross.
GOOD PLAYOFF PRACTICE
While I completely comprehend that there’s no simulation comparable to an actual Stanley Cup Playoff game, I do think the Leafs can learn a lot from this game. Firstly, there’s no question that time and space was limited all night long. Quite frankly, that’s exactly the type of style you’ll see more times than not in a postseason game. When the well runs dry, what are you going to do? How are you going to persevere? At the very least, I think games like that can act as mock runs for this team, especially considering their deficiencies offensively in the past when it matters the most. Practice makes perfect, right?
GIO BECOMES SHOT BLOCK KING
When Mark Giordano retires, he better open up a shot blocking school, or something. The 39-year-old blocked three shots to tie the NHL record (2,044 – Kris Russell). Fittingly, he can set the record on Sunday against the team that traded him to his hometown Leafs last trade deadline: The Ottawa Senators.
THE EVOLUTION OF WILLY NYLANDER
It’s not being talked about enough, but William Nylander has pretty much evolved before our eyes into a full-fledged superstar. What dogged determination in OT to recover that puck and score yet another beauty in the extra frame. That dude is clutch. Did you know he’s now tied for second in franchise history with nine OT winner? Honestly, I’ve run out of superlatives to describe this guy. He’s been ridiculous. On top of that, believe it or not, I think he could end up being the key to this whole puzzle for the Maple Leafs. Willy taking off for Toronto is Willy good news. Just tremendous stuff.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT:
The Leafs will now embark on a five-game road trip that will get underway on Sunday night in Seattle. Toronto will look to avenge an ugly 5-1 loss to the Kraken at Scotiabank Arena in early January.
Don’t forget to check out ‘Leafs Morning Take’ with yours truly, Nick Alberga, and former Leaf Jay Rosehill every weekday morning LIVE at 11 a.m. ET on The Nation Network YouTube page.
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