On Sunday late afternoon, the Toronto Maple Leafs played the last game of their current road trip. They defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-2.
For the Maple Leafs, John Tavares led the way with two goals and an assist. Auston Matthews also had two assists in the game. Joseph Woll made 22 saves. With the win, the team took their second game of the past three. [They would have likely won all three except for Saturday’s unfortunate loss in a game where they played well but didn’t get the victory.]
Better yet, Toronto now sits seven points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division, with one game in hand. After the five-game road trip, the Maple Leafs have three wins and two losses. They don’t play their next game until Wednesday in Toronto against the Florida Panthers.
This is the final light week for the Maple Leafs. After Wednesday, they have two days off. With only 18 days left in the season, the Maple Leafs will look to finish strong and secure the home-ice advantage for the playoffs.
Takeaway One: John Tavares Has a Big Night
On Sunday night, John Tavares had a big night with two goals and an assist. He scored Toronto’s first goal of the game late in the first period. It was on the power play. He also scored his second goal with the man advantage. Tavares leads the Maple Leafs with 15 power-play goals.
Tavares is having one of his best seasons ever. In the past two seasons, he’s played well. Last season, he scored 27 goals and added 49 assists (for a total of 76 points) in 79 games. This season, he’s playing even better. He now has scored 32 goals and added 43 assists (for a total of 75 points) in 72 games. That’s more than a point-a-game pace and is only a single point shy this season while playing seven fewer games.
Takeaway Two: Joseph Woll Wins Again
Joseph Woll has now played four games each of the past two seasons with the Maple Leafs. Interestingly, when you compare Woll’s statistics over the past two seasons they are almost identical.
In 2021-22, in four games he played 239 minutes and gave up 11 goals. He had one shutout, a record of 3-1, a goals-against-average of 2.76, and a save percentage of .911. He made 112 saves on the season. This 2022-23 season, he also played 236 minutes in four games. He’s given up 8 goals in the entire season. His record is also 3-1, with a goals-against-average of 2.03, and a save percentage of .934. He made 113 saves on the season. How can you get closer than that – except this season is better.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe praised Joseph Woll’s performance against the Predators, specifically the early saves that kept the game even. Woll’s performance against Nashville has led to some excitement and speculation about his future as a goalie for the Maple Leafs. Many fans and writers alike believe that he has a legitimate shot to become one of Toronto’s two goalies next season. But, only time will tell.
Woll’s performance was solid. His confidence has improved this season, it seems, and he’s making clutch saves. It’s pretty clear he has a future with this team.
That fact isn’t lost on the young goalie. After the game, Woll noted that “It was awesome. Every chance I get is a great experience. I’m always grateful when I get to hop in the net with the Leafs. It was awesome to get the win as well.”
Takeaway Three: Mitch Marner Hits the 500 Game Mark
Against the Predators on Sunday, Mitch Marner played in his 500th career NHL game. During the game, he also extended his point-scoring streak to 10 games with an assist on John Tavares’ first-period power-play goal.
This is the fourth time in his career that Marner has put together a 10-game streak.
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