Leafs Postgame: Blank to Blank

Photo Credit: Raj Mehta/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Toronto Maple Leafs are kinda on a roll right now. Win after win, point after point, pretty goal after pretty goal. The other night, they added strong defence to the mix when they shut out the Calgary Flames. Tonight’s scoresheet was identical to that game, though this one was less violent and a lot more dominant; a 4-0 rout of the divisional rival Detroit Red Wings in their own barn.

The Rundown

It’s 4:00 AM (apologies for that, by the way; an opportunity to play some of my own hockey for the first time in five months came up), so we’ll keep this brief. Auston Matthews opened up the night by basically ending Jonathan Ericsson’s life with an absolutely disgusting of the puck after an immensely dominant shift from his entire line.

It was the period’s lone goal, and the only goal for twenty minutes, but late in the second period, Toronto widened their gap courtesy of… Roman Polak?!

Let’s say something straight up: Polak had a pretty good game tonight. He pinched where he needed to, won a few foot races, got into lanes when he needed to, and scored this beauty. His underlying numbers weren’t overly great, as they rarely are, but he came through in moments that balanced them out. Anyway, James van Riemsdyk eventually followed with this:

Then, to top it all off, Nikita Soshnikov, who was hurt earlier in the game by a misguided stick, broke through a slumpy stretch to score this gorgeous goal. 

Toronto continued to press, constantly making the Red Wings feel outpaced and outmatched. When the final buzzer sounded, nobody was overly shocked with the result; though some in the lower bowl may have been shocked to see huge patches of seats already vacated. Yep, it was that kind of night in Detroit.

Blue Warrior

Gotta go with Frederik Andersen on this one. Back to back shutouts? That’ll fix a slumpy January, and to do it in a game where you had an injury scare is very impressive. Sure, it was only 22 shots against, but that’s still something to be very proud of.

See You Next Time

With the win, the Leafs move back into the 3rd seed in the Atlantic with a 23-14-9 record; “Big Kid 0.500”, if you will. Now they’ll take on the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow (or later today, I suppose). That’s going to be a huge game for them; win it, and you’ve made the second wildcard spot that much more of a potential fallback if things go wrong. Though, at this rate, they might not need it.

We’ll see you in a bit for pre-game. Right after I take this nap.

  • Glen

    Whats this, praise for Polak coming from Jeff although he did have to qualify it by going to his beloved stats. Solid team effort by the Leafs. Lets keep it going.

    • Stan Smith

      Yes, but if you notice he still felt he had to put a “but” in there. Since Rielly has been hurt, Polak, and the rest of the defence have really stepped their game up. The thing is when you have confidence in your goalie, it makes you play more relaxed, and better.

      • Jeff Veillette

        The but was there so someone who would’ve went just by the numbers wouldn’t come into the comments and say “BUT JEFF DID YOU NOTICE ______”

        Of course now we get this instead.

        It’s a dumb thing. I really like Roman Polak, in the sense that he’s fun when I just want to watch a game for fun. My analysts eye says that over the long run that the team could do a lot better. It’s also saying that he’s been quite good of late, even on nights where the numbers don’t entirely match.

        I think it’s possible to like a player, be aware that he’s not the long term option, but give him his due when he makes short term strides.

  • LukeWarmWater

    Did you see that spectacular blistering shot from pulveriser Polak. Why no goalie would have stopped that shot from the pulveriser. Then there was another fan favorite, Matt the Stapler Martin, doing exactly that stapling Red Wing defencemen to the boards.

    Matthews again gets the team on the right foot with those spectacular moves with the puck, must have picked that up from Mitch. J.V.R. doing the J.VR. shuffle by the goal crease and scoring.
    Andersen in a zone and how about that road record, wow I can still remember the stats at freaking 4:00 a.m. here 1.77 goals against on the road 946 save percentage.

    Let us all hail the road kings THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS GO LEAFS GO. Now I’m going back to bed.

  • DukesRocks

    Great to see each line get a goal. The Leafs pushed the pace from the drop of the puck… as they should with a team playing the second game on a B2B. Andersen stood tall and made some great saves for the shutout. Scary part of the game that had be shitting bricks was when, Andersen went down on the Helm breakaway. I thought he took a knee to the head. The replay showed he got hit in the shoulder. Whew… thank god he was able to finish the game. I’m not sure why there wasn’t a penalty on the play, I’ve seen refs call a penalty with less contact than that.

    Besides Andersen, Nylander for me has been playing great hockey of late. He’s put the puck on Kadri’s stick for some grade “A” chances since he moved to the line. I mean like open net grade A chances. I can think of at least 5 additional goals Kadri should have but he missed the net. One thing also great with a 4 goal lead last night was, Babs let Nylander finish the game. Anybody notice his effort to hold the puck in the Detroit end of the ice to preserve the shutout.

    Leafs at Philly tonight and both teams are on B2B. Both teams have some great rookies on their roster and both teams have the ability to push the pace. Go Leafs GO.