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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 6-2 Win Over Avalanche

The Toronto Maple Leafs ended the year with a solid 6-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. What were the three key takeaways from the game?

The Toronto Maple Leafs played a complete defensive and offensive game last night to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche by a score of 6-2. The game ended the year for the Maple Leafs.

It was a solid 2022 for the team. Only the Boston Bruins (65 wins) and Colorado (with 58) put together more wins than the Maple Leafs did in 2022.

The Blue and White defended really well and limited the Avalanche all over the ice. It was a win the team needed and ended their three-game road trip on a positive note. They had lost 6-3 on Thursday night in Arizona. It was a much better feeling to start the 2023 season.

Takeaway One: Matthews Scores His 18th Goal of the Season

Auston Matthews scored his 18th goal (and added an assist) in the 6-2 win. Matthews’ goal was the 499th point of his NHL career (it came in his 444th game). During the 2022 calendar year, Matthews scored 58 goals. That’s one more goal than Connor McDavid had scored. (from “Maple Leafs end year in winning fashion, beating the defending Cup champion Avalanche,” Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun, 31/12/2022).

Auston Matthews Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews Maple Leafs

After the game, and it seems befitting of New Years’ Eve, Matthews looked back over his seasons with the Maple Leafs and noted that:

“I’ve been fortunate to play on really good teams year after year and competitive teams.”

Matthews added that “It’s not as much of an individual accomplishment as it is a team accomplishment. I know myself and Mitchy (Marner, with 497 career points) are closing in on that, but we’re working toward something bigger.”

It makes sense that this team is focused both on the regular season; but also they are interested in “something bigger,” which is some postseason success. They haven’t had much luck over the past few seasons.

Related: Time for Maple Leafs’ Fans to Lay Off Morgan Rielly

Takeaway Two: Total Team Defense by the Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs won because they were simply better on the night than the Avalanche. During the game, the team’s systems looked to be working better than the systems the Avalanche were using. The Maple Leafs seemed to have the ice covered in ways that the Avalanche could not. When there was a rebound or a turnover, the Maple Leafs were on the puck sooner and sped away in transition.

David Kampf has played great defense for the Maple Leafs.

In all the areas where the team looked slow in the loss against the Coyotes, they looked good against the Avalanche. They jumped harder and won more puck battles than the Avalanche. The Maple Leafs also backchecked relentlessly.

Toronto is fast becoming one of the NHL’s best defensive teams. If last night was an indication of what they can do against a good team like the Avalanche, then they can go farther in 2023 than it was predicted.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 6-3 Loss to the Coyotes

Takeaway Three: Michael Bunting Finishes with a Flurry

Michael Bunting scored two goals last night and ended his 2022 season on a good note. Now on the season, he’s scored 11 goals and added 15 assists (for 26 points) in 37 games. He’s about on the same pace as he ended the 2021-22 season scoring.

Michael Bunting, Maple Leafs

He showed his quick reflexes to jump on a free puck and send it into the net. Then he scored his second goal into an empty net late in the game. He’s become a hard-nosed, gritty offensive player who goes to the hard places on the ice and makes a living in front of the opposition goalie. It was a good game by the second-year forward.




  1. Jon Harding

    January 1, 2023 at 5:40 am

    Among the Leafs’ best games of the season, across the board. The big four were great, as were Bunting, Jarnkrok, Kerfoot and Engevall. TJ Brodie was magnificent. Matthews’ comments after the game about aiming for something bigger will no doubt be interpreted by Toronto media as a single playoff round victory. I have news for you: he thankfully doesn’t aim as low as you do! There are 10 teams that can win the Stanley Cup this year and the Leafs are one of them.

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