Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
It’s an ongoing joke that Toronto-born hockey players always step up when they face off against their hometown team, except no Leafs fans were laughing when local kid Connor McDavid lit them up for five points tonight in a 5-2 Edmonton win. That is unless you already joined the Tank Nation ranks and were actively rooting for Toronto to finally take sole ownership over 30th place in the league. If that’s the case, then a big ol’ salute to you, soldier. Mission accomplished.
It really didn’t take all that long McDavid to impose his will on tonight’s game. Just over three minutes in, Toronto’s very own would take advantage of a risky Jake Gardiner pinch and a helpless Roman Polak, blowing by everyone for a clear breakaway and slipping the puck behind a sprawling Jonathan Bernier.
After that, it was two assists on two Jordan Eberle goals, another goal for himself, and another assist on Jordan Eberle’s empty-netter-turned-hat-trick-goal just for good measure. McDavid was beastly. Not much more you can say about it.
Toronto had their moments… Well, ok… only two, really. Josh Leivo, before leaving the game with an upper-body injury, went top shelf for the second game in a row. Jake Gardiner also picked up a goal, bouncing the puck of a number of sticks and feet before popping past Cam Talbot.
The Numbers Game
When you look at the Corsi numbers, it doesn’t look like a half-bad game for Toronto. The Leafs may have looked like a better team early in the game, but there’s really not much more you can say about the McDavid line dominating whenever it was on the ice. According to Hockeystats.ca, Eberle’s Corsi For % was an incredible 87.88% while McDavid trailed shortly behind at 78.38% and Pouliot posted a 78.12%.
Josh Leivo gets it tonight. Yes, he only saw action in the first period before being removed due to injury, but Leivo scored on a beautiful shot and was gone before the tide started turning and Edmonton started looking like an almost-capable hockey team. Sometimes it’s all about making the most of your very limited opportunities.
Hockey Night in Vancouver
The Leafs will look to rebound from that devastating (woo!) loss (tank!) on Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks. Toronto will need to shore up their defence when they come up against another high 2015 draft pick in Jake Virtanen. Too bad the Leafs got stuck with AHLer William Nylander, amirite? Puck drop is at 7:00 pm Eastern, on CBC as per usual.