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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 3-1 Win Over Sharks

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1 last night. What were the three key takeaways from the game from Toronto’s perspective?

It wasn’t a perfect game by far, but as the old saying goes there’s something about winning ugly. The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 3-1.

What’s interesting is whether the team would have had an easier time winning the game if Mitch Marner had not been chasing the franchise record of consecutive games scoring a point. He finally, in the last moments of the game tied the long-time franchise record; but, before that score, the team just seemed to over-pass the puck. 

It was an ugly win, but a good win.

Takeaway One: Mitch Marner Ties Franchise Point-Scoring Streak

Marner tied Darryl Sittler (1978-79) and Eddie Olcyzk (1989-90) for team mark. The 25-year-old is the 23rd player in NHL history with a point streak of at least 18 games. He has scored seven goals and added 17 assists during his streak.

Marner passed up several opportunities to score. That, for some reason, included what seemed like an easy empty-netter. Finally, he got a great pass from Auston Matthews to bury the 3-1 goal. Marner’s goal came with all ones on the clock – at 1:11 left in the third period.

Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs

What was so special for me in the aftermath of his score was how emotional Marner was on the bench. It obviously matters to him that he now shares that record. The crowd’s salute was genuine and so was Marner’s response. 

On Saturday night, the Maple Leafs head into Florida to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. Marner will get a chance to jump to the top of the Maple Leafs’ record books by himself if he can score a point.

I know that other Maple Leafs’ fans might disagree with me. However, given how special this team has been for the past few seasons, it seems right that last season Matthews broke the record for goals scored and now Marner might come to own the longest point-scoring streak in franchise history. Both young players have been incredible.

Related: MAPLE LEAFS’ QUICK HITS: KALLGREN, BRODIE & HOLLOWELL

Takeaway Two: David Kampf’s Defense Leads to Game-Winner

With all the accolades given to those in the Maple Leafs’ top-six, one story that might be missed is that David Kampf put himself in the right place at the right time to intercept a cross-ice pass, transition the puck toward the Sharks’ net, fire a shot on goal, and create a huge rebound for Pierre Engvall to slap the puck home.

Engvall scored his third goal of the season off that Kampf rebound. I’m sure that many game reviews will say that the Sharks turned the puck over in the neutral zone. That’s true enough. But more to my point, Kampf put himself in the way. And (to my eyes) it was as much his great play as a bad play by the Sharks. 

Sometimes the bottom-six players don’t get enough credit. Kampf to me has been a solid contributor to the team’s success since he joined the squad last season. Tonight he was directly responsible for the team’s win; and, secondarily, for Marner extending his point-scoring streak. Had Engvall not scored, the Sharks’ net would have never been empty.

Related: Maple Leafs’ News & Rumors: Marner, Samsonov & Line Combos

Takeaway Three: Ilya Samsonov Hasn’t Missed a Beat

Ilya Samsonov played his first game since November 5 and made 23 saves. Even better, he must have had great positioning on the three breakaways he saw during the first period. He made one clear save; and, (or did the Sharks just shoot poorly?) forced two Sharks to miss the net. 

That said, Samsonov made a couple of careless plays that might have led to scores; however, his skill shone through and he did a good job in the Maple Leafs’ net. It’s also true that his teammates didn’t make it easy for the 25-year-old Russian goalie. 

Ilya Samsonov Maple Leafs
Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs

That the Maple Leafs ended the first period without giving up a goal was pure luck. They gave the Sharks three breakaways and a couple more odd-man rushes. Had the Sharks been able to hit the net, it likely would have been a different story.

But it wasn’t, and the team continued its roll.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Nick Robertson Draws in vs. the Sharks Tonight: How Come?

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. getrdone

    December 1, 2022 at 6:42 am

    This year it seems to me that Marner has matured. He speaks of team and his team mates and of the toughness of the league, these to me point to a guy that appreciates the position he has and the commitment that is required in this league to shine. To me he has been the energizer bunny that makes this team tick, especially through these last string of injuries.

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