After two big wins in the state of Florida, the Leafs looked to keep the streak rolling against the Vancouver Canucks on a rare Saturday night Leap Day showdown. While it’s not a four point game like it was in Florida, every point matters, so the Leafs look to get another win under their belt.
Another weak start, but strong finish for Freddie
Much like Thursday night, Andersen had us screaming at our TVs asking Sheldon Keefe to finally give him the mercy pull after allowing two goals on three shots.
But clearly we didn’t learn anything from the game against the Panthers, as Freddie stopped the remaining 24 shots he faced in the game. It’d be nice for him to finally start a game on time, but we’ll take even the slightest return to form over what we’ve had for the last three months.
He also made an incredible pass to Nylander, unfortunately not for a goal though.
The Matthews line continues to thrive defensively
It seems like just yesterday we gave up all hope on Auston Matthews turning it around defensively. But, then we remembered that he’s only 22, and now he’s elevated his game to a whole new level this season.
Now his line with Zach Hyman and Mitch Marner have become the new shutdown line for the Leafs, and they have worked wonders for the Leafs these past couple games. While they weren’t as effective tonight in the advanced metrics, they still managed a 50% 5v5 CF% (and a 56.52% for Marner) tonight, and kept the Pettersson-Miller-Toffoli trio off the board, while getting two goals themselves, including this ridiculous shot from Matthews.
Quinn Hughes is alright
Going into the game, we were getting all the hype on Quinn Hughes, and while it didn’t result in any offence (oh darn), he still lived up to it. It seemed like when ever he was on the ice, the puck was on his stick like a magnet, and he even came back to stop a couple breakaways throughout the game.
But, the Leafs managed to contain him well, holding him to a 47.37% 5v5 CF% and 41.48% 5v5 xGF%, and even scored a couple times with him on the ice as well.
The “inexperienced” blueline does it again
Speaking of young defensemen, our group of six young blueliners had another excellent game tonight. They didn’t have an impressive second period like what we saw in Florida, but they didn’t need to tonight as Freddie was a *little bit* better today.
But, they’ll need to keep it up, as it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any of the big guys back for a few weeks (Ceci might be back soon, but that’s not exactly an improvement).
Marincin didn’t have the strongest game, as he got rocked on the ice with a 39.47% 5v5 CF% and a 41.79% 5v5 xGF%, and most of the time handled the puck like a grenade.
But, he also did this:
So does it really matter?
It wasn’t as strong of a game as Thursday’s against Florida, but it didn’t matter, as Andersen covered any ground that was lost by the team in front of him.
Up next, we take our three game win streak on the dreaded California road tri… *checks notes*… oh right, all three teams suck now. First up, we got the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at 10:30pm, so make sure you get a pre-game nap in.