In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs Quick Hits, while the hockey world is focused on William Nylander – a few other players contributed to the team’s win against the Minnesota Wild. In fact, there are two of the usual suspects on this list – Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. The third player is Joseph Woll, who played a stellar game holding the Wild outside the Wall.
Quick Hit One: Joseph Woll’s Heroics Secure OT Victory for Maple Leafs
In a thrilling Sunday game against the Wild, Joseph Woll showed his goaltending skills, making 33 crucial saves to help the Maple Leafs steal a 4-3 overtime victory. The Wild outplayed the Maple Leafs most of the game, but Woll shut the door – mostly. Despite facing heavy traffic in front of his net, Woll prevented any further goals after the Wild came back to tie the game 3-3. Once he forced the game into overtime, it was William Nylander’s show.
Woll’s crucial saves were the key to keeping the Maple Leafs in the game. While Toronto was out-shot 24-9 over the final two periods, Woll never allowed the Wild to take the lead. He effectively held his team in the game. As most fans know, Nylander netted the game-winner to earn the win for the Maple Leafs. Woll’s performance, particularly during the third period, was pivotal in the team’s success.
With this win, Woll has three victories in his last four games. On the season, he boasts a solid 6-4-0 record with a 2.90 goals-against average (GAA) and a .909 save percentage. In a good thing for the team, the goaltending competition with Ilya Samsonov’s improved play in November has put pressure on Woll’s grip on the No. 1 job. Having two strong goalies is better than having one.
Quick Hit Two: Auston Matthews Has Two-Point Game in OT Win
In no real surprise, Auston Matthews once again showed his offensive power with a two-point game. The 26-year-old center contributed a power-play goal and an even-strength assist. Midway through the first period, he scored a unique goal as he pinballed a Nylander’s pass attempt that deflected off a series of opposing sticks and skates before landing perfectly near Matthews. In the end, it was an easy goal.
Matthews’ solid game ended a three-game point drought for him. However, he continues to lead the NHL in goals with 14 (he’s tied with Kyle Connor). He also has seven assists for 21 points in 17 games. Notably, five of his nine goals have come on the power play.
Matthews’ ability to contribute both at even strength and with the man advantage adds a powerful element to the Maple Leafs offense.
Quick Hit Three: Mitch Marner Collects Two Assists Against the Wild
Against the Minnesota Wild, Mitch Marner recorded two assists in the team’s 4-3 overtime victory. Although Marner is currently amid a five-game goalless streak, his ability to generate scoring chances for his teammates remains in force. Over the last two games alone, he has registered three assists, and he remains a key contributor for the Maple Leafs.
Marner also plays a key role with the power play. He’s able to break down opposing defenses and create scoring chances for his team. Fans should expect that, sooner or later, Marner will break out of his goal-scoring drought and provide additional offense for the Maple Leafs. When he does, that will help the Maple Leafs win – even more than they are now.
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