Exhale Leafs Nation, there was no deja vu tonight. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on Wednesday night, putting in a much more complete effort after blowing a four-goal lead to this same Senators team on Monday night.
@Auston Matthews and @Alexander Kerfoot scored for the Leafs, while @Brady Tkachuk responded for the Senators. Matthews’ goal extended his point scoring streak to 14 games, tying him with Lorne Carr. Matthews is now four games back from tying Eddie Olczyk and Darryl Sittler for longest point scoring streak by a Maple Leaf (18 games).
In the first period, it was clear both teams did not want a repeat of Monday night. The Leafs played a little hesitant to start, trying to be cautious and smart with the puck. The Senators on the other hand, pushed hard right out of the gate, not wanting to repeat a slow start from Monday night. @Joe Thornton had a goal waived off late in the first period, but other than that, the Leafs didn’t really have much going.
The Maple Leafs struck first in the second period, courtesy of a Matthews one-timer rocket.
Great awareness by @Justin Holl to see that Matthews was open for the one-timer shot. This Matthews goal was his league-leading 14th of the season, giving him a three-goal lead on second place @Brock Boeser at the time of writing this.
This lead for the Leafs would last until late in the second period when @Brady Tkachuk tapped home a cross-crease pass, giving him his 100th career goal.
Earlier today, our very own Nick Richard dropped a very good post about the Leafs needing more offense from everyone not named @Auston Matthews and @Mitch Marner. You can read it here
One of the guys he called out in his article is @Alexander Kerfoot. We’ll assume Kerfoot saw the article this morning and decided to step up his game. Shortly after the Leafs powerplay expired, the Leafs continued to hem in the Senators and Kerfoot is able to grab a loose puck in front of the net and jam it home for his third goal of the season.
It wasn’t pretty from here on out, but the Leafs got it done. They held on to get back in the win column.
Most Valuable Leaf: Alexander Kerfoot
Kerfoot has gotten a lot of flak (deservedly) for his play as of late. I thought tonight was one of his better, if not best games of the season. He was engaged, had the puck on his stick a lot, was making good plays to keep pucks alive in the offensive zone and he scored the game winner tonight.
Least Valuable Leaf: N/A
Nobody. There’s been a lot of heat (both deservedly and undeservedly) on many players on this team lately on social media and I’m just… tired of it. Enjoy this damn team. Are they perfect? No, if anything, last game showed us that. But this is the best version of the Toronto Maple Leafs we’ve gotten since the early 2000s. Enjoy this team and just remember, these guys are human and we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.
Tweet of the Night
That Auston Matthews kid is pretty good at hockey eh?
Quick turnaround for the Leafs as they conclude this three-game set with the Senators tomorrow night. Puck drop is at 7:00pm EST and the game can be found on Sportsnet Ontario.