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Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Postgame: Welcome back, buddy

A couple nights after blowing a third period lead after a dominant start against the East’s top team, the Leafs… held onto a third period lead against the West’s top team. Not a bad way to close out the trip, honestly.

Corsis

The Leafs pushed the pace early, scored four goals in quick succession, then laid back a little bit and let Nashville push back. We’ll take it.

First period

Who else, honestly? The hottest man in the NHL right now with his 34th of the season.

After one, the Leafs would take a 1-0 lead and hold Nashville to a measly one shot at even strength.

Second period

Viktor Arvidsson beat Andersen on a slick wrister, and Nashville got themselves back in the game temporarily.

And then, for the first time in March 2018, Auston Matthews scored an NHL goal.

We really, really missed this guy.

William Nylander would add another off a weird bounce, and the Leafs were suddenly getting closer to cruise control.

The Leafs also took three penalties this period, to go along with two in the first and another one in the third. Somehow, it didn’t matter much, as they’d give up just one power play goal. But Kevin Fiala took a late penalty in this frame…

Third Period

Third period checklist:

  • Start the period on a power play
  • Give the puck to Mitch Marner

Just nine seconds into the third period, Mitch hits 20 and scores $212k for himself by reaching a contract bonus. Not bad, buddy.

Jake Gardiner scored his fifth of the season on a rocket of a shot to give the Leafs a four-goal lead, and well, that was pretty much it.

If you need a negative from this game, at one point, Tomas Plekanec totally buster’ed up a 3-on-1, as the Leafs failed to get a shot attempt off of it.

Scott Hartnell added a late marker to make it 5-2, but really, it didn’t do much. Very solid performance from the Leafs against the league’s top team, and now they’ve got a magic number of just six points until they clinch a playoff spot.

Tweets

A quote from the man himself:

The best prediction of the night.

This, from earlier today:

The Leafs take on the Red Wings Saturday. See you then.

  • lukewarmwater

    Awesome Auston Moses Matthews returns and the leafs led by their young leader take care of the Predators by giving an unmitigated thrashing of their lives to the Nashville team. The great Keith Urban soothing the Nashville fans by singing his number one country hit, namely, tonight I just want to cry. Matthews proving that he is a generational player with a spectacular goal. J.V.R. causing neck burns on opposing goalies as he sets up shop in his office and keeps on a scoring. That power play awesome as Marvelous Mitch Marner continues to quarterback it. Steady Freddy back in fine form as the leafs once again show they can play with the best teams as they themselves are one of the better teams in only the second year of the actual rebuild after the tear down.
    Teams trembling over having to play this high flying team as both Kapanen and Johnsson just give this ever improving leaf team that much more speed.
    Great to see the leafs own the west this year. Go leafs Go.

    • Glen

      You the man Luke, hope you are feeling better. Time to celebrate this team and what a marvelous job Shanny and the crew has done to build this group into something. This is still building and even if they should happen to go out in the first round this year the future is indeed bright.For old Leaf lifers like you and I this has been a long time coming so lets enjoy it.