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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 4-2 Win Over the Canadiens

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a win over the Montreal Canadiens 4–2. What were the three key takeaways of the game?

Once the second period began, the Toronto Maple Leafs turned a close 0-0 game into a 4-2 blowout against their old Original Six rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. By racking up four goals over the course of a few minutes, the Maple Leafs scored more than enough to win the game. Although the Canadiens showed some pushback, the Blue & White then held on with a strong defensive third period to win.

Related: Morgan Rielly’s Journey to Become Maple Leafs’ Greatest D-Man

Takeaway One: The Game Had Two Distinctly Different Periods

The Maple Leafs’ victory over the Canadiens showcased a game of two distinct periods, with a noticeable shift in momentum and performance. In the first period, Toronto struggled to find their rhythm, with all four lines facing difficulty generating offense and controlling play. The Canadiens dominated the first period, outshooting the Maple Leafs and maintaining control in the offensive zone. Analytically speaking, they put up a far superior Expected-Goals percentage.

Auston Matthews Maple Leafs media

However, the second period proved to be a complete turnaround. Toronto’s lines quickly scored four goals in just eight minutes. First, Max Domi kickstarted the scoring with a deflection off an Ilya Lyubushkin shot. Second, Auston Matthews netted his league-leading 64th goal with a fortunate bounce off Habs’ defenseman David Savard‘s skate. Matthew Knies and Bobby McMann also capitalized on the momentum. Knies banged home a rebound, and McMann finished off a nice give-and-go play to extend Toronto’s lead to 4-0. The Maple Leafs capitalized on scoring chances and turned the game in their favor.

Takeaway Two: The Lines Combos and Team Defense Worked

Head coach Sheldon Keefe‘s strategy of spreading talent across three lines proved effective in this game. Each line contributed at least one goal, and key players like Matthews, Nylander, and Marner made significant offensive contributions. This balanced scoring carried the day. In total, ten different Maple Leafs skaters registered a point. Interestingly, no Toronto player got more than a point, either.

Coach Keefe’s emphasis on a “defense by committee” approach paid dividends. All six Maple Leafs defensemen finished the game with a plus-one rating in plus/minus. This collectively strong defensive play held out throughout the game, particularly in the third period when Toronto limited Montreal to just three High-Danger Scoring Chances (according to Ilya Samsonov was again solid in the net as the team’s last line of defense. He made key saves to secure his 22nd win of the season.

Takeaway Three: Mitch Marner Is Moving Up the Maple Leafs All-Time Assist Leader Board

Mitch Marner’s return to the ice was significant in terms of franchise history. His assist in this game moved him past Tomas Kaberle into fifth place in all-time assists for the Maple Leafs. He’s young enough yet that he should have the time to eventually become the top playmaker ever for this team. His consistent playmaking ability and offensive abilities have become a staple during his Toronto career.

This milestone underscores Marner’s vital role in the team’s history. As he continues to climb the franchise’s assist rankings, he solidifies his legacy among the Maple Leafs’ all-time greats. Each assist lifts him closer to the top of the team’s record books. As he moves forward, he will hit further milestones that promise to cement his place in Maple Leafs history.

Related: Transforming the Defense of the Maple Leafs

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