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3 Takeaways from Maple Leafs 6-3 Win Over the Oilers

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 6–3. What were three key takeaways from the game?

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs earned a win over the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 6-3. What were the three key takeaways from the game? Getting off to a 5-0 lead in the first 40 minutes, it was about holding off a surging Oilers’ power play in the third, which they did. Auston Matthews scored the empty-net goal in the dying seconds to pot the team’s sixth goal, but it was the play of depth forwards like Bobby McMann and Pontus Holmberg that earned the Maple Leafs a victory.

Related: Maple Leafs Face Tough Week: Can They Win the Back-to-Backs?

Takeaway One: Bobby McMann Scores Twice and Adds an Assist

Bobby McMann showcased his offense with a stellar three-point performance in the Maple Leafs’ 6-3 victory over the Oilers on Saturday. McMann’s goals, his 12th and 13th of the season, added to his already impressive scoring streak. In addition to capitalizing on his scoring chances, he also utilized his speed to create even more chances. He’s fast enough that he blew around an Oilers defenseman to put a shot on the net. He also can finish with accuracy. His contributions were a key to his team’s win.

Bobby McMann Toronto Maple Leafs

In the first period, McMann scored on a one-timer from the top of the crease, converting a pass from John Tavares to open the scoring for Toronto. His second goal of the game came in the second period, as he scored on a nifty pass from William Nylander with a well-placed shot past Oilers’ goaltender Stuart Skinner. That goal extended the Maple Leafs’ lead to 5-0.

McMann’s recent performances have earned him increased trust from the coaching staff. Now, he’s been bumped up to the second line and is getting special team minutes as well. His confidence is tangible. Look for him to make significant contributions to the team’s success.

Takeaway Two: Pontus Holmberg Starts on the Fourth Line and Scores Two Goals

A second Maple Leafs youngster, Pontus Holmberg, also showed his potential to move closer to the team’s core with a solid performance. Last night, he recorded his first career two-goal game in the NHL. Even more fun for him, these goals came just 3:02 minutes apart during the second period while he was skating on the Maple Leafs top line. The game had to be a confidence-builder for the young Swede.

While Holmberg’s play highlights his scoring ability, his versatility is also becoming apparent. Head Coach Sheldon Keefe has shown trust in Holmberg’s ability to contribute effectively throughout the lineup, making him a valuable asset to the team. He might never be a huge scorer, but he’s smart on the ice and sound defensively.

Despite a turnover in the third period, Holmberg’s overall play highlights his potential to make noteworthy impacts for the Maple Leafs both now and in the future. Watch for him to continue to develop and grow. Given the huge changes coming to the lineup next season, players like Holmberg (and McMann) will be keys to the team’s success next season.

Takeaway Three: General Manager Brad Treliving Did Well at the Trade Deadline

There has been much criticism about the poor job Brad Treliving did at the trade deadline. For anyone who watched the game last night, it was easy enough to see how his plan unfolded. His influence on building the Maple Leafs’ defense was discernible in their recent game against the Oilers.

Jake McCabe, Maple Leafs

Unlike the puck-focused style favored by the Maple Leafs in the past, Treliving prioritized size and physicality this season. It is a departure from former GM Kyle Dubas’s approach. The defensive transformation was evident. Maple Leafs’ defensemen asserted their physical presence, effectively boxing out Oilers’ forwards and making their lives difficult near the net.

This change in strategy could be seen by looking at the hit count. The Maple Leafs outmuscled the Oilers 34-31; and, the defense put up 19 of those hits. Jake McCabe led the charge (pun intended) with eight hits. He was supported by Joel Edmundson and Simon Benoit. Even offensive-minded defensemen like Morgan Rielly and Timothy Liljegren contributed to the physicality.

What fans are seeing is their team’s new emphasis on robust defensive play under Treliving’s vision. It’s working.

Related: Nick Robertson Frustrated With Maple Leafs Waiver Moves

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