The Maple Leafs only played one game this weekend, but it was probably the most entertaining game of the year.
On Saturday night, the Maple Leafs faced off against the Bruins. This was especially significant because the Leafs are chasing the Bruins in the standings, but have five games in hand. Obviously a game against them is a way to lessen the gap in points without using up a game that was in the hand.
Not only did the Leafs win, but they won in regulation – important because Boston is denied a loser point. Nylander scored a hatrick, and Andersen made 36 saves despite letting in five goals.
Article continues below ...
Best of all though, was that the Leafs blew a three-goal lead and still recovered to win the game. Given all the blown leads so far this year, and impossible to ignore overtones of a recent playoff failure, this was much appreciated by the entirety of the team’s fans.
The Maple Leafs and the Standings
The Win gives the Maple Leafs a 24-17-9 record, which includes a 3-0 record against Boston. The Leafs and Bruins play once more this season.
The Leafs still have five (!) games in hand on Boston and trail them by just a single point.
Five games is 6% of an NHL season so that actually is quite a lot.
Also, the Leafs average 1.14 points in the standings per game.
The Maple Leafs have now scored 155 goals, which is only three less than the Canadiens, in five less games.
Keep in mind that while Montreal is in first place, the Leafs are a better team save for the month of October.
The Hatrick was his first, but probably not his last. One thing I didn’t realize about Nylander last year when he was called up was how good his shot is. I thought he was more of a playmaking kind of player, but now I could easily see him one day being a 40 goal scorer.
The Leafs have just an absolute embarrassment of young talent.
So far this season I’ve heard people try to trade him, say he is bad at defense, or insinuate that he’s a spare part. This probably all got blown out of proportion because of the time he got put on the fourth line, for like half a game. To some, that’s all they need to judge him.
For anyone paying attention, Nylander is the Leafs future, along with Rielly, Matthews and Marner. Of the four, he’s probably the second best player – certainly his all-round game is stronger than Marner’s.
Keep in mind that Nylander’s linemates aren’t really scoring when he’s on the ice – like Kadri last year he should be on pace for way more points than he actually has. 57 points is his pace – 70 is where he could be with just a bit of luck.