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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 3-2 OT Loss to Devils

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the New Jersey Devils in overtime last night. What were three key takeaways from that game?

The simple truth is that the Toronto Maple Leafs were outplayed for most of the game. In some ways, the game’s final score of 3-2 for the New Jersey Devils flattered the Maple Leafs. During overtime, the Maple Leafs rarely touched the puck.

Auston Matthews scored the first goal of the game with the man advantage and had an assist on William Nylander’s strange goal to tie the game late in the third period. But between those goals, the Devils dominated the puck and the game.

In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at the key takeaways for the game.

Takeaway One: Matt Murray Played Well

The one thing the Maple Leafs did have going for them was Matt Murray. Of both goalies, he was the better goalie in the game. He made the toughest saves.

Murray made solid save after solid save. The one thing that Maple Leafs’ fans are finding out is that there’s no reason – at least not to this point after three games – not to trust the new Maple Leafs’ goalie. Two games since he’s come back from his injury, he’s played very well. He simply wasn’t the problem last night.

The Maple Leafs gave up a lot of odd-man rushes, and the Devils had tons of chances on turnovers. The overtime goal was just that – a bad turnover by John Tavares. Good shot after good shot came Murray’s way.

But his game was solid. As they say, Murray gave this team a chance to “steal” a point. Murray has had two solid performances in the last two games.

Related: Maple Leafs Line Combinations & Player Movements for Devils’ Game

Takeaway Two: Auston Matthews Score with the Man Advantage

Auston Matthews scored another goal on the power play. However, what seemed funny to me is this: is he playing a different power-play position this season than last? It’s working to a point. The Maple Leafs seemed to move the puck well with the man advantage but didn’t seem to me to have many high-danger chances. 

Matthews scored a goal and added an assist. Nylander also scored. Tonight the first line played better than the second line. Here are a couple of interesting statistics. 

Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs

Matthews is shooting just 24 percent on the power play this season; however, in five-on-five he’s shooting under 3.8 percent. He now has scored 13 goals in 13 games against the Devils. That’s his best record against any team other than 10 goals in 10 games against the San Jose Jose Sharks.

Related: Maple Leafs Key Question: Now What with Michael Bunting?

Takeaway Three: Mitch Marner Played Defense, But …

Mitch Marner registered an assist on Matthews’ power-play goal and now has points in 11 straight games. It’s the longest active streak in the NHL. During that streak, he’s put up 15 points.

In his current 11-game, 15-point streak, Marner has scored three goals and added 12 assists. He now has 20 points in 18 games this season and leads his team in scoring. He also has entered into the NHL’s top-20 scorers. 

However, the much-ballyhooed plan to have Marner play defense took place over the last part of the game tonight. To my eyes, it just didn’t seem to work all that well. Marner might be a great defensive player – for a forward. But he probably needs more reps as a defenseman. 

That said, he was part of the late third-period goal Nylander scored to tie the game and give his team at least one point. 

Related: MAPLE LEAFS TJ BRODIE INJURED: LET’S ALL PANIC IMMEDIATELY!

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jon Harding

    November 18, 2022 at 7:07 am

    Two more games to reach 20 and then we’ll weigh in on this Leafs team and the job Kyle Dubas did making it better during the offseason. That is his job, by the way.

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