A night where everything that could’ve gone right did. Oh except, Auston Matthews scoring or getting a point for that matter. To me, it isn’t a pandemic, the Toronto Maple Leafs are winning, and winning well.
We’ve been told not to get carried away this season, but why not? We are comfortably one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league. A stark contrast to last season, monumentally different.
Expect to see the Toronto Maple Leafs on NBC more frequently as they continue to attract the American market.
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Enough about hypothesis and speculation for the season, lets talk about last night shall we? As mentioned in my last piece on Hyman, it is nice to see the forgotten kids get the limelight. This is precisely what happened with Connor Brown in the 1st frame of Thursday night’s thriller.
You’ve got to be lucky to be good in this league but good to be lucky, Brown epitomising that as he deflected an optimistic wrister by Reilly from the point 5:55 into the 1st. Brown was made to sweat as the reply was sent to the war room, which eventually overturned a high stick into a good goal. His second came at 15:36 where an attempted pass to Kadri found its way into the net off returning Reimer’s skate.
Once the background boys had their say, the poster boys had something to add to the fray. Mitch Marner with a sensational break taking the puck from halfway, shrugging off 3rd line D-Man Michael Matheson who was the Panther on his back. Showing true skating prowess and sending Reimer for a hotdog. 17.03 into the 1st and the Leafs were oh so comfortable.
Brown wasn’t finished for the night as we entered the 2nd, a breakaway after sloppy faceoff organisation from the Panthers gifted Brown the puck.
Taking off with speed on a 2 on 1 squaring the puck to Komarov who calmly stuck the puck over Reimer’s shoulder. 7:45 into the 2nd and the Leafs had ample breathing space. 4-1.
Dylan McIIIrath had a very tough night for in his 2nd appearance for the Sunrisers as he gifted the puck to JVR with little pressure.
Van Riemsdyk with an effortless wrist shot that went under the pad of Reimer, who frankly should be stopping them. Anyone familiar with Steve Dangle were feeling for him at his stage, he must’ve been torn.
Jake Gardiner surprisingly finished things off and to sum up the Panthers night, received the puck out of the pentalty box and was free to stick it past Reimer with 3 minutes left on the clock.
A superb night for the men (and boys) in blue and white, as they continue to make forward strides. The defence especially be relieved to only concede one, and wont happily give away penalties in future, they were pelted in the 2nd with three Leafs hurt on the bench. Matthews didn’t score or get a point, so what, give the kid a break and back the team.