When the Toronto Maple Leafs came back from their poor western road trip, the team looked to be at the bottom of their game. Little had gone right, and they suffered for it in the won/loss column.
Then when the team came home, they faced four games from last Tuesday to next Tuesday. The question then was could they win three of those games? And the outlook for that kind of success probably looked difficult.
Yet, now they have won three games of three games and did it against some of the best teams this season in the NHL.
Last night, in a game they probably should not have won, they did. The start didn’t look good for a while, but the team persisted, got some great goalie play, scored a really good goal from Mitch Marner to John Tavares, and actually won going away.
In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at what I believe are the three key takeaways from the game.
Takeaway One: Erik Kallgren Earns His First Win
Erik Kallgren played well last night. He only let in one shot of the 30 shots he faced in a 3-1 win over Carolina. That’s great news going forward for the team. After playing the last period of the Boston Bruins game on Saturday when Ilya Samsonov was injured, the quick turnaround could have been tough. If it was, it was only for a short time.
As it stands, Kallgren will become the team’s short-term starter. He never seems to show much emotion, except for some reason after the Bruins’ game. He has a reason for some emotion after last night’s great game.
Good that his first start as the team’s number one was a success. He limited the Hurricanes to a single first-period goal, and it was on the power play. Kallgren’s record is 1-1-2. He’s given up 12 goals in the five games he’s played this season.
The last word is that Matt Murray might be close to coming back. However, until that time Kallgren is the guy in the goal.
Takeaway Two: Don’t Forget How Good Mitch Marner Is
Mitch Marner plays about as good a 200-foot game as anyone in the NHL. He started slowly, like his teammates. However, he’s begun to pour it on over the past few games.
Marner is now riding a scoring point streak that has reached six games. Last night, he had an amazing assist when he put the puck through a Hurricane player’s legs, gathered the puck, and found John Tavares open in front of Frederik Andersen.
Over his six-game point streak, Marner has collected eight assists and a goal. In the 13 games this season that the 25-year-old Marner has played, he only failed to find the scoresheet two times. He’s finally north of the point-a-game pace, with two goals and 12 assists (for 14 points). He has five power-play assists.
Takeaway Three: Calle Jarnkrok Keeps Scoring from the Same Spot
Calle Jarnkrok tied the score with a late second-period goal in yesterday’s win. Although Jarnkrok isn’t known for his scoring prowess, the interesting thing is that he’s effective from that same spot. Unless I’m wrong, he scored two preseason goals in a single game from that very spot on the ice.
Jarnkrok has now scored a goal in two of the team’s past four games. His goal broke the stress and allowed the teams top six to take over to skate the Maple Leafs to a win. Jarnkrok has scored three goals and added an assist in his 13 games played.
He just seems confident out there. In addition, he’s one of the team members who jumped into the fray against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. So, he’s a stand-up (for his teammates) kind of guy.
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