In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I take a look at the most important event of the night – the ceremony honoring those who passed during the wars and the fitting tribute to Borje Salming. Those happened before the game and on the same night that the Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were introduced.
The Maple Leafs lost the game to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-2. It was, for the most part, an uninspired game. The Maple Leafs won the shots on goal but lost the chances. There were some great aspects to the Maple Leafs’ game, but also some (too many) weaknesses.
Funny game, but the team seems to play these “funny” games regularly.
Related: Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors: Line Combos, Crosby & Kallgren
Takeaway One: Maple Leafs Honor Borje Salming
In early August, Borje Salming was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Salming, now 71 years old, was named an NHL All-Star defenceman six times during his tenure with the Maple Leafs. His first season with the team was in 1973-74 and his last Toronto game was in 1988-89. Salming played his last NHL season with the Detroit Red Wings.
In his 1,148 NHL games, Salming scored 150 goals and 637 assists (for 787 points). Just as important, Salming was a trailblazer and came to the NHL at a time when Swedish players were almost non-existent.
Tomorrow the organization will have a special honor for Salming, but tonight the tribute was emotional and heartfelt. Although he was noted for his toughness, last night all that went out the window. It simply wasn’t a night to be tough. It was a night for emotions.
Sadly, Salming will need toughness in the upcoming months.
The Maple Leafs’ fans knew what was happening and offered the gift of a powerful ovation to a man who was supported in the moment by the arms of two former Maple Leafs – Darryl Sittler and Mats Sundin.
In many ways, the game was secondary.
Related: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: Kallgren, Jarnkrok & Line Combinations
Item Two: Kallgren Both Hero and Goat
Were it not for goalie Erik Kallgren, the Penguins would have been up by two goals after the first period. Kallgren didn’t face a lot of shots, but they were tough ones. He made numerous great saves. This all sounds like a broken record. The team does not seem to play inspired hockey in front of him regularly.
However, the goal that eventually beat Kallgren for the game-winner was a soft goal. It’s one he’d like to have back for sure. Even Mark Giordano made an error on the play, not being able to block the shot and at the same time screening his goalie.
A Giordano error simply doesn’t happen that often. it was that kind of night.
Takeaway Three: The Fourth Line Was the Maple Leafs’ Best Line
Given the firepower that the Maple Leafs possess, it’s telling when the team’s fourth line is the best line on the ice. The line of Zach Aston-Reese, David Kampf, and Denis Malgin outplayed almost everyone – at least in a blue and white uniform.
Today on my new hockey site Old Prof Hockey, I wrote about the emergence of the fourth line and how it was playing much better since Malgin joined (see link below). They didn’t let me down and made me look smart.
But they couldn’t do it alone – or almost alone.
The Maple Leafs can play better than this. They just didn’t.
Related: THE MAPLE LEAFS’ FOURTH LINE RISES FROM THE ASHES
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November 12, 2022 at 1:54 am
What a total let down this team is …..where’s the heart and push when it matters ?
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