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Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 5-4 Loss to the Avalanche

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost in overtime 5-4 to the Colorado Avalanche. What are three takeaways from the game?

It was a game that the Toronto Maple Leafs should have won, but they just couldn’t hold on against the NHL’s best offense. The final score was 5-4 because the Avalanche scored in overtime to take away the victory in a game that the Maple Leafs had led until late in the third period.

The Maple Leafs took away a point from the game, but – as I noted – it should have been two. Jack Campbell was on his game, but couldn’t stop everything. He made 45 saves on the night in a game the Avalanche dominated but trailed until the final period.

Auston Matthews scored two goals in 33 seconds of the first period. It wasn’t enough to steal a win over the home team. In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll share my three takeaways from the game. 

Related: Maple Leafs Line Combinations: Marner & Engvall Out with COVID-19

Takeaway One: Cale Makar Is a Great Young Defenseman

Cale Makar scored a goal and an assist tonight and was plus-three for the game. However, perhaps his most obvious ability was that he was able to control the puck so much on the time on the ice. He’s skilled in ways that many other NHL players can only dream of. 

Makar now has 15 goals and 15 assists (for 30 points) in 27 games played this season. He’s an elite player who just seems to play with the puck on a string. He’s really good and should be in the running for the Norris Trophy this season. It’s only his third season in the NHL, but he’s almost a sure thing to become a point-a-game player.

Takeaway Two: Auston Matthews Dominated the Ice

Auston Matthews scored twice in 33 seconds in the first period, but it wasn’t enough. Still, Matthews was clearly controlling the puck and much of the play. He was good both offensively and defensively. He’s also in a league by himself – a truly elite player. Matthews now has 36 points, including 22 goals, in 30 games.

As CBS Sports noted, Matthews very much reminds them of a young Mario Lemieux. He has great hands both on his shots and in dominating with the puck. Matthews had defenders backing up all night because he was able to go around them with a simple puck through the stick move. 

Auston Matthews NHL Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews NHL Toronto Maple Leafs photo by Azadeh Kashani wiki commons

“He’s very much a young Mario Lemieux – big, fast, ultra-skilled, and very competitive. And Matthews can score in so many ways, while playing a dominating two-way game.” 

Takeaway Three: Nazem Kadri and Wayne Simmonds Fighting Racism 

The Maple Leafs’ Wayne Simmonds, who is Black, and the Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri, who is a Muslim of Lebanese descent, wore anti-racism tape as part of a campaign by the Hockey Diversity Alliance. During the game telecast on Hockey Night in Canada, Akim Aliu, who is a Nigerian-born, Black-Canadian-Ukrainian former NHL player, was interviewed between the second and third periods and spoke about some of the racism he’s experienced. He also spoke about why the Hockey Diversity Alliance was important.

Before the game Simmonds was quoted as saying about the issue of supporting diversity in hockey, ”We thought it was necessary, just because a lot of that stuff is behind the scenes and people don’t hear about it, people don’t see it.” 

Simmonds added about sharing some of the racial slurs that players of color have experienced was important because, ”Putting out there some of the things we do experience, it’s hard sometimes. Not sometimes, all the time. It (facing racism) happens way too often.”

Related: Maple Leafs Finally Decide: Nick Ritchie Put on Waivers Today



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  3. gfinale

    January 11, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    Hmm, I agree with everything and have nothing to add. What’s happening to me, ha?!

    • Old Prof

      January 11, 2022 at 9:22 pm

      Indeed – what is happening?

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