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Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs 3-2 Win Over the Blackhawks

The Toronto Maple Leafs scored a much-needed win over the Chicago Blackhawks. What are three takeaways from this 3-2 victory?

A win is a win, and it came exactly when it was supposed to come. However, it didn’t exactly go as scripted. And, perhaps, in the long run, that might prove to be more helpful to the team going forward. 

After the game, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe reported that he had spoken with his players ”a ton about protecting our goal and they scored two. That’s got to stop.”

It did stop, but as reported in a number of write-ups after the game, the players got together during the first intermission when they were behind and simply challenged each other to quit with the talking and get with the doing. 

They did just that – got with the doing; and, it worked. William Nylander scored the overtime winner to carry his team to a comeback 3-2 victory Wednesday. The other two goal scorers were John Tavares and David Kampf. Goalie Jack Campbell stopped 25 of 27 shots. 

William Nylander, Maple Leafs

With the win, the Maple Leafs halted the team’s four-game losing streak. They gave up a point to the Blackhawks, but that doesn’t hurt the team in its fight for Atlantic Division placement. The Blackhawks remain winless, with a record of 0-6-1.

In this post, I want to share three takeaways from the team’s 3-2 win over the Blackhawks.

Related: Does Maple Leafs’ Coach Keefe Believe His Team Isn’t Good Enough?

Takeaway One: William Nylander Is Becoming a Leader

Really, it’s not much of a surprise that William Nylander scored the game-winner in overtime. He’s been good this season, and it’s just the kind of goal he’s becoming known for. He took a tip-pass from Auston Matthews, broke in on the goalie alone, and slid the puck through the five-hole for the win. 

Perhaps more surprising was Nylander’s outspoken leadership. He’s been growing into that aspect of his game for the past year or so. After the game, Nylander shared with the media that ”It hasn’t been looking too pretty the last few nights.” 

Nylander added, ”Tonight, we got closer to where we want to be, but not fully there yet. I just tried five-hole and it worked.”

As noted above, the players got together during the first intermission and challenged each other to step up. After the game, Nylander revealed what was said during that first intermission meeting with the team. 

As Nylander put it, the team just challenged themselves and each other by saying that it was “Time to wake up. Like stop feeling sorry for ourselves, Nobody’s going to get us out of this, it’s only the guys in the locker room.” 

Takeaway Two: Jack Campbell Answered the Bell and Saved the Game

The Blackhawks started well during the game and generated a large number of chances at the net. Although Maple Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell made several key saves to keep his team in the game, he did let in two at the start of the game.

After the game, Campbell too spoke about the guys in the locker room challenging each other. As Campbell put it, “A couple guys stepped up … quite frankly we were pissed off. Sometimes it’s not what’s said, it’s how it’s said — with passion. That’s what sparked us.”

Ever willing to carry the blame, Campbell noted that “I wasn’t happy whatsoever with my first period. I knew I owed the team better than that.” 

But teammate Mitch Marner after the game would have none of it, “He’s (Campbell’s) done a lot for this team. He’s the backbone right now.”

No disagreement from my perspective. Campbell might have been critical of himself about the two goals he let in; however, he (and Nylander) have probably been the two most consistent Maple Leafs’ players during the team’s first eight games.

Takeaway Three: David Kampf Can Actually Score

David Kampf was playing in his first game AGAINST his old team and did in this game what he only did one time during the entire season WITH his team. He scored. It was a great goal, actually, and came on a backhander just over halfway through the third period. 

To score the goal, Kampf took a neat pass from defenseman Rasmus Sandin and hardly looked before he launched his backhander that snuck through the Chicago goalie. It was a great goal.

Related: Three Takeaways from the Hurricanes 4-1 Win Over the Maple Leafs

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