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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 4-1 Win Over the Jets

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-1. What were the three key takeaways from the game?

When the Toronto Maple Leafs met the Winnipeg Jets last night, it was expected to be a rough game. And it was. But it could have been worse.

In the end, the Maple Leafs looked in control and the Jets hit a lot of posts – because that was all that goalie Ilya Samsonov left open. The result was a 4-1 win for the Blue and White. Auston Matthews went another game without scoring, but he did collect three assists.

The Maple Leafs head into Las Vegas to play the Golden Knights on Monday night. They’ll be looking for their third win in a row.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Campbell, Samsonov & Robertson

Takeaway One: Ilya Samsonov Is Still Perfect

The only problem I saw with Ilya Samsonov’s game last night was that, during the telecast, there was an overlay that showed that Samsonov always starts quickly during October. It’s later in the season that his game sort of falls apart. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen; and, for now, I’ll take what we’re seeing as what’s really going to be happening for the rest of the season.

The fact is that Samsonov looks great in the net. He’s athletic, he’s calm – even when the world seems to be crashing around his net, and he just makes saves look easy. He seems to be able to track the puck from almost anywhere on the ice. He’s way better than people have expected.

Last night, he let in the first goal, but then shut the door. He gave up nothing. As it stands, he’s a perfect 4-0-0 on the season. He has a .938 save percentage as a Maple Leaf. So far, he seems like the real deal.

Takeaway Two: Wayne Simmonds Proves He Has Some Value to the Team

Auston Matthews calls Wayne Simmonds the “Ultimate Warrior.” And, Simmonds – who didn’t make the team out of training camp and then cleared waivers – is exactly that. Simmonds battled just to stay in game shape just in case he got this chance.

Last night, he got his chance and he made the most of it. He and Kyle Clifford – the old guys on the team (well, except for Mark Giordano) – came into a fourth line centered by David Kampf and made a difference.

When the game was over, as Luke Fox shared, this fourth line “posted the best 5-on-5 possession metrics of all Toronto’s lines, outshooting the competition 5-1 and linking up for Kämpf’s winning goal.”

If you haven’t seen this pass included in the tweet, do take a look. It was great.

Simmonds was a difference-maker in this game. What does that mean for his future with the team? Who knows? But for one night, in a situation in Winnipeg where I wasn’t surprised it was a rough and tough game, there he was taking care of business – as well as his teammates.

Good on Simmonds.

Related: CAN MAPLE LEAFS’ GOALIE SAMSONOV PLAY WELL OVER THE LONG HAUL?

Takeaway Three: I Thought John Tavares Was Supposed to Be Injured

I thought John Tavares missed training camp. In fact, I wrote a post when it was discovered that Tavares’ oblique injury, that injury would keep him out until October 25. But there he was, again leading his team to victory. On the season, Tavares has now scored three goals and added four assists (for seven points) in six games.

Last night he scored a beautiful goal over Connor Hellebuyck’s shoulder. He also tipped a shot under Hellebuyck’s glove. Two great goals.

John Tavares Maple Leafs UD card
John Tavares Maple Leafs UD card

As Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe noted after the game, “He looks really good. Two very important goals for us tonight. More important than that, I think he has been really good in each game. At five-on-five, he has been really good. His line — whether it was Malgin or Robertson there now — has been consistently good for us.”

Related: What’s Wrong with the Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews?

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. getrdone

    October 23, 2022 at 7:10 am

    OK, so just 2 days after I commented that Simmonds should not be on the team he does what he did last night and I eat crow. Happy to be proved wrong though if the Leafs win, all is well, been a fan far too long to know that I am not right all the time, just ask my wife, GLG

  2. gcmgome

    October 23, 2022 at 8:37 am

    We are seeing the value of a 23 man roster demonstrated before our very eyes. It is my hope that the Leafs find a way to continue with a full compliment of spare players for the remainder of the season. Last night’s game was a textbook example of why it is important to have various options of players with different skill sets in the press box.

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