It was arguably their most complete effort of the early season.
John Tavares scored twice – his second and third of the campaign – as the Leafs (4-2-0) kicked off their five-game road trip with an impressive 4-1 victory in Winnipeg (2-3-0).
Speaking of impressive, how about Ilya Samsonov? The 25-year-old netminder made 30 stops for his fourth consecutive victory to start his Maple Leafs career.
Meantime, what a hunch by Sheldon Keefe beefing up his fourth line. Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford, who both made their season debuts on Saturday night, set up David Kampf for the game winner in the second period. Meantime, Auston Matthews led the way with three helpers.
Toronto has now won eight of the past 10 meetings in Winnipeg.
FOURTH LINE JUICE
Toronto’s new look fourth line of Kyle Clifford, David Kampf and Wayne Simmonds brought some much-needed jam to the lineup.
Also, great to see that fourth line chip in with a goal, too. If there’s one negative to pull, though, it’s that both Clifford and Simmonds took minor penalties in the game. But all-in-all, minimal complaints on my end. I’m happy.
For the first time in a while, the Leafs played with serious urgency and purpose. They were ready to compete and play from puck drop. Considering how lethargic they’ve looked at times, this was a fantastic development. You can’t win without passion and urgency, that’s for sure.
FIRST GOAL PROBLEMS
After scoring the first goal in each of the first two games, the Leafs have now surrendered the opening goal in four straight outings. It’s not the end of the world considering all the comebacks these days, but you certainly don’t want to make a routine of chasing the game.
Did John Tavares take last season’s criticisms to heart, or what? I know it’s early, but the captain has looked fantastic through six contests. After his two-goal output tonight, he now has three goals and seven points on the early season. Honestly, you love to see it.
Highlight of the night:
What a roof job!
Game two of Toronto’s five-game road trip to finish off October takes them to Sin City on Monday night to tangle with the Golden Knights. The Leafs took both meetings last season and have won 6 of 8 overall against Vegas since they entered the league.
PSA: Don’t forget to check out ‘Leafs Morning Take’ with yours truly and Jay Rosehill every Monday to Friday morning at 11 a.m. EDT on The Nation Network YouTube page.