The stars were shining for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-0. John Tavares scored two goals, and Ilya Samsonov stopped 30 shots for his third shutout of the season. In addition to Tavares’ goals, Pierre Engvall also scored. Mitch Marner was the biggest helper, and he contributed two assists.
This well-rounded team effort pushed the Maple Leafs’ to success last night. The win helped the Maple Leafs snap a three-game road losing streak. It also kept the Maple Leafs in second place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points, 11 points behind the first-place Boston Bruins.
The game was tight until the third period when the Maple Leafs took control. Engvall and Tavares scored 48 seconds apart to give the team the final 3-0 lead. Overall, it was a strong team performance and a well-deserved win over the Blue Jackets.
Takeaway One: Ilya Samsonov Tosses Shutout Against Blue Jackets
Ilya Samsonov got the start in Columbus last night. Because he’s so good at home, it was rare for Samsonov to get the away-from-home part of the back-to-back. Specifically, prior to the game, Samsonov’s road record was 2-4-1 with a 3.29 goals-against-average and a .897 save percentage.
On home ice, it’s a different matter. There Samsonov sports a record of 15-2-1 with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage. That home record is second only to Andrei Vasilevskiy as the best in the NHL.
Obviously, the shutout suggests that Samsonov had a strong performance in last night’s game. He stopped every shot that came his way, and the goalposts turned back a few more. It was his third shutout of the season and the ninth shutout of his career.
With the win, Samsonov improved his record to 18-6-2 for the season. His goals-against-average is now 2.32 and his save percentage is .917. Good on Samsonov for the victory. He’d gone through a rough patch in his last three starts, posting a 4.01 goals-against-average and a .862 save percentage.
Related: Maple Leafs Goaltending for 2023-24: Looking Ahead
Takeaway Two: John Tavares Scores Twice in the 3-0 Win
John Tavares’ two goals were the key scores in the 3-0 victory over Columbus. His first goal came at 5:45 of the first period and proved to be the game-winner. He scored his second goal midway through the third period.
Tavares’ first goal was his team-leading 10th power-play goal of the season. He’s been a beast with the man advantage. In addition, his five-on-five play has been good as well. On the season, Tavares is a point-a-game player, with 23 goals and 30 assists (for 53 points) in 53 games.
The 32-year-old has been hot recently. He’s only been held off the scoresheet once in his past six games. As I have said a number of times, reports of his slowing down have been grossly overstated.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Matthews, Timmins, & Steeves
Takeaway Three: Marner Shows Off His Deft Passing with Two Assists
Mitch Marner registered assists on both of Tavares’ goals last night. His first assist came on a Maple Leafs’ power play. It was his 26th power-play point of 2022-23. In total, he now has 19 goals and 43 assists (for 62 points) in 53 games this season.
Marner’s assists extended his point streak to five games (with two goals and four assists for six points). His 62 points rank him first on the team in scoring. With Auston Matthews out with an injury, Marner’s contributions offensively help the Maple Leafs stay successful.
Related: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO EX-MAPLE LEAFS’ JOSH HO-SANG?
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February 11, 2023 at 9:24 am
John Tavares has 414 goals.in his career now. Good for 94th all time NHL. Should pass Perry soon.
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