The Toronto Maple Leafs were meeting a team almost as hot as they were in the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche came in with a 7-2-1 record over their last 10 games. In the end, it wasn’t close.
Auston Matthews led the way with a hat trick and the Maple Leafs won 8-3. It was Matthews’ fourth career hat trick. Jack Campbell held the fort when the Avalanche pressured and allowed his team to gain composure to come back after former Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri had brought his team within a single goal when he made it 3-2 Maple Leafs in the second period. It was Kadri’s first of two goals on the night.
Coming into the game, a lot of fans believed the Avalanche would be the measuring stick of the Maple Leafs. If that’s the case, the team has passed the test with flying colors.
The Maple Leafs dominated the first period, but the Avalanche came back hard during the second period. However, the Maple Leafs survived and then scored two goals to end the period. They then were overwhelming in the third period, especially Matthews.
Takeaway One: Jack Campbell Played Superhero
Although the score was 8-2 and, looking backward, the game seemed like a laugher, it was far from one. Jack Campbell saved the game when he came up big during the second period. He was dominant in that period and stopped whatever the Avalanche threw at him – except one.
In the end, Campbell gave up three goals, but it could have been his best game of the season. He held them in the game and allowed his team to get back into control. I read a review that suggested that Campbell didn’t play that well but won because his team overwhelmed the other goalie. That wasn’t the game I watched.
Jack Campbell wore the hero’s cape on his shoulders. It wasn’t so much the numbers of shots he saved, but the timing of the saves. Campbell simply would not allow Colorado back into the game in the second period. In the end, that fact in itself was the difference.
Takeaway Two: Matthews Scored His Fourth Career Hat Trick
Matthews scored a hat trick, including his 13th goal of the season. His goal-scoring streak is now four games. Given that this came the day he shaved his mustache, what are the chances he will grow it back soon? Matthews now has scored three of the last four hat tricks for the Maple Leafs. Jason Spezza, who scored tonight, had a hat trick last season against the Vancouver Canucks.
The three goals that Matthews scored were all of different varieties. The first goal was so quick that it was almost hard to imagine. It would have been a “dirty one” in the paint except that it was so beautiful – quick and skilled. It was, as I’ve heard younger people say, a “sick” move.
The second goal was also in-close where Matthews simply outwaited the goalie and tucked it into the net as he was crossing in front of the goalie. The third was vintage Matthews, cutting down with speed from the left-wing and shooting it home with a snapshot. He getting his game completely back.
Takeaway Three: The Maple Leafs’ Fourth Line Is Really Good
The Maple Leafs’ fourth line of Pierre Engvall, Jason Spezza, and Wayne Simmonds are really good and give the team a great jump. Recently, they seem to create four or five great chances every game. Tonight, they scored two goals – one by Spezza in close and the other by Engvall coming down the wing.
This fourth line crashes and bangs and gets in front of the net. Jason Spezza scored and Wayne Simmonds made things happen all night. It’s a great energy line, that seems to me to give the team a boost whenever it’s on the ice.
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