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Three Maple Leafs Takeaway from 3-2 Win Over the Canucks

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 last night, What were three key takeaways from the game?

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll take a look at three key takeaways from the game. Similar to last night, the game was almost secondary to the tribute to Borje Salming, who’s suffering from ALS. The tribute to Salming was long and heartfelt.

One of the takeaways from this game is to say thank you to the Maple Leafs as an organization. Like them or not, they’re a class act. The other includes a note about Swedish goalie Erik Kallgren and the coaching decision Sheldon Keefe made to come back with him on consecutive nights.

Takeaway One: Erik Kallgren Wins His Second Game

I know there are lots of Maple Leafs’ fans who simply go to bed praying that both general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe will get thrown out of their jobs and sent packing out of town. That said, I hear bits of news here and there that the organization is first-class. They treat people well.

Last night’s game had two examples.

First, and I realize it’s a small thing, but coach Keefe started Erik Kallgren after the team lost last night to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unlike other nights when Kallgren has lost a game, the Penguins’ game really featured a goal that the young Swede would want back. He played well, but he should have had that goal.

Erik Kallgren, Maple Leafs

Most other games Kallgren has lost have not been his fault at all. Two nights ago after the Pittsburgh game, Kallgren stood up, faced the music, and admitted he muffed it. Then Keefe also had to go to bat for his goalie with the media. He noted in a media interview that he thought Kallgren had played really well all season, etc., etc.

Then coach Keefe put his money where his mouth was and started the youngster. Kallgren came through with a win. Good goalie play, and (to my mind) good coaching.

Related: Maple Leafs Loss to Penguins Secondary to Borje Salming Salute

Takeaway Two: Maple Leafs Start Six Swedes in Honor of Borje Salming

I’ve written a lot about the Borje Salming salute over the past two days, and won’t repeat it here. However, the second class act the Maple Leafs’ organization did – and I’d love to know whose idea it was – was to start the game playing a lineup of all Swedes. Given that in Salming’s day he was the only Swede in the NHL, it was an honor and a representative recognition of Salming’s influence both on NHL hockey and especially on Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey.

The starting lineup included Calle Jarnkrok at the center, Pierre Engvall on the left wing, and William Nylander on the right wing. The defense was made up of two youngsters – Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. And, Kallgren was in the net.

I don’t think that was the reason Kallgren started the game, but it was a great gesture. Well done Maple Leafs.

Related: THE MAPLE LEAFS’ FOURTH LINE RISES FROM THE ASHES

Takeaway Three: Jordie Benn Scores in First Maple Leafs’ Game

Do you think there’s a secret Swedish handshake? And, do you think they quickly taught it to Jordie Benn before the game? It might explain his unusual heroics.

In Benn’s 596-game NHL career, he had scored only 25 goals prior to last night. His most goals in a season were five, and that came when he was with the Montreal Canadiens in 2018-19.

Benn was in exactly the right place at the right time and found a rebound which he snapped into the back of the net. His goal broke a second-period tie and was the game-winner. There’s something to be said for going to the net with your head up.

Even more interesting is that it was his first game with Maple Leafs and it beat a Canucks’ team he had played with in 2019-20 and in 2020-21. Benn had been out with a preseason groin injury. However, he got a start because regular defenseman T.J. Brodie was ailing with an unknown malady or injury.

Related: Three Maple Leafs’ Takeaways in 4-2 Loss to Penguins & Salming

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