It was the Toronto Maple Leafs’ third road game on this trip. The Maple Leafs beat the San Jose Sharks by a score of 4-1. At this point, with a game left against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, the Maple Leafs’ have won all three games. And, every one of the wins has been in a convincing manner.
Even better, starting goalie Jack Campbell has only played in one of those wins. It was rookie goalie Joseph “the Brick” Woll who took home the win. Woll stopped 34 of the 35 shots that came his way.
During last night’s game, John Tavares and William Nylander each scored a goal and added an assist. The other goal scorers were Auston Matthews and Wayne Simmonds. With the win, the Maple Leafs have outscored their last three opponents by a total of 13 goals to three goals. Toronto also moved into a tie with the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.
Takeaway One: Wayne Simmonds Has Been a Different Player Since His Scratch
Wayne Simmonds didn’t like being a healthy scratch. It was the first time he had been a healthy scratch during his entire 14-year career. Since that scratch, which was less than two weeks ago now, Simmonds has come out stronger and has shown more skilled play.
Against the Sharks, Simmonds scored the 2-1 goal in the first period, which proved to be the game-winning goal. Although he seemed to disappear a bit during the second and third period, during the first period Simmonds was the key to the Maple Leafs’ lead and eventual win. All this has happened since Simmonds’ healthy scratch.
He’s slowed down a bit in both his skating and his scoring, but he’s adding value to the team.
Takeaway Two: The Maple Leafs’ Power-Play Went Old-School
The Maple Leafs’ power play didn’t score on every opportunity last night, but they were simply overwhelming. It wasn’t pretty. The players didn’t look for the slick play. They simply went old-school. The power play was shoot-first and then see what happens.
Morgan Rielly threw the puck at the net, where a number of Maple Leafs’ players had planted themselves. Then, one shot, two shots, and on and on. Finally, the puck went in simply because the Sharks’ penalty kill couldn’t stop everything. There was simply too much traffic and too much activity in front of their goalie.
In many ways, the only thinking was the first decision to put the puck on the net. After that, it was simply who wanted it most, and the Maple Leafs simply seem to “out want” their opponents these days. They did so tonight and it took the steam out of the Sharks – except for about two minutes in the third period. That’s where the Brick Woll was there to hold out the puck.
Takeaway Three: Joseph Woll Is Living Up to His Nickname
During one time in the third period for about 90 seconds, Joseph Woll was tested – really tested. He hung in there. Until that time, it had been a bit of a quiet evening for the 23-year-old backup goalie in this third start of the season and in his career. When his team was taking it to the Sharks, he rested; however, during the time when the Sharks pressed, he came alive. Last night the young goalie lived up to his nickname – the Brick Woll.
Woll gave up four goals in his first start against the Buffalo Sabres; threw a shutout against the New York Islanders; and, then allowed only one goal in his third game on the west coast. He’s now started his career with a 3-0 record – all on the road by the way.
Last night, Woll played well. He was quick and determined. He didn’t get rattled or shaken. When he was tested, he passed this test. What more could anyone have expected?
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