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Three Takeaways in Maple Leafs’ 5-4 OT Win vs. Blues

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the St. Louis Blues 5-4 in overtime. What were the three key takeaways from the game?

Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the St. Louis Blues in the overtime period when William Nylander made a determined and beautiful hockey play by taking the puck away from Vladimir Tarasenko along the boards and cutting in with speed on Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington. Nylander went forehand to backhand to the back of the net for the game-winner.

In many way, the game last night was a rough game with lots of mistakes and lots of missed penalties. The penalties were called four to two Blues, but it might have been five more penalties called. There were some strange goals that led to overtime. In the end, with less than a minute, the Maple Leafs were pulled out of the game by the determined effort of their Swedish winger.

Takeaway One: William Nylander Is Willing His Team to Win

William Nylander scored his 21st goal of the season on a breakaway with 57 seconds remaining in overtime. On a determined play, he forced Tarasenko to turn the puck over along the boards in the Maple Leafs zone. He did this all with such speed and tenacity that, after he had collected the puck, there seemed to be no way to stop him. Binnington could not, and that was the game.

Nylander has now recorded a point in five straight games. In that span, he’s scored four goals and added three assists. Last night’s goal was the 21st of his season. He’s now leading the Maple Leafs in goals.

William Nylander, Maple Leafs

Nylander has taken his game to another level. He’s a smart player who uses what he has in his offensive arsenal to score. This season, he’s not only scored more goals than Matthews, but he’s also exerted himself into the offense in bigger ways than he ever has before. His determination is working for the team.

Nylander is becoming the most fun Maple Leafs’ player to watch. He seems to light up when he has a chance to transition into offense. On last night’s game winner, he just stole the puck and burst through with speed. His good move was completed with a good finish. However it was his dogged determination to win the puck battle and then his decision to engage rather than to head off for another attacker that won the game.

Related: 5 Reasons Maple Leafs’ Fans Have a Bad On for Mitch Marner?

Takeaway Two: Ilya Samsonov Has an Adventure in Goal

Samsonov has now played three iffy games in a row. Last night, he wasn’t on his best game. He seemed to be guessing more than relying on good positioning. He had no chance on some of the goals, but the third goal could have been stopped.

On the first goal, Samsonov would have stopped it (probably) easily, but he slipped and fell on his face in the goal crease and the shot went over him. The Blues’ second goal came on a Ryan O’Reilly wrister that went off the post on the glove side.

The Blues’ third goal by Justin Faulk was one he’d like back. He had time to see it and stop it, but it bounced of his blocker and into the net. The Blues’ fourth goal was screened perfectly; and, it seemed as if Samsonov might have seen it. But it’s tough to blame him on that one. It was good Blues’ traffic in front of the net.

Ilya Samsonov Maple Leafs 2
Ilya Samsonov Maple Leafs 2

Samsonov’s MO has been that he has good starts to the season, but then falls off. This is not the first time he’s done a fast start and then fallen off the rails a bit. He needs a good game or two to re-establish his confidence.

Related: Reports of Maple Leafs’ Tavares Decline Are Exaggerated

Takeaway Three: Maybe Calle Jarnkrok Is an Answer

Calle Jarnkrok has a three-point game, with a goal and two assists. He played for 15 minutes and looked good. On his first assist, the Maple Leafs’ third goal of the game, Jarnkrok took the puck for a ride behind the net and played keep-away from the Blues’ defenders. Finally, he saw Timothy Liljegren open at the top of the zone. Liljegren put the puck on the net, and Alex Kerfoot collected the rebound to put a backhander into an open net.

Calle Jarnkrok Signs Maple Leafs
Calle Jarnkrok Signs Maple Leafs

On Jarnkrok’s own goal, his line did lots of the work. Pontus Holmberg and Pierre Engvall carried the puck to the net; and, on a Holmberg rebound, Jarnkrok did some quick work to pull the puck back almost from behind the net to spin it just across the goal line before Binnington could stop it.

Related: Senators Shane Pinto’s Only Need This Season? Consistency



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