The Toronto Maple Leafs won their second straight at home, beating the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-3. The Flyers scored first, and Philadelphia goalie Carter Hart shut the Maple Leafs down almost completely for much of the first part of the game. He stopped everything that came his way. When the Maple Leafs finally scored, they piled it on and scored four goals.
At one point, the game seemed like a laugher. But NHL hockey can turn on a dime. The Flyers took advantage of a mistake mounted a comeback to score two goals in quick succession. It suddenly was the Maple Leafs’ turn to hang on. Fortunately for Toronto fans, they did.
In the end, the Maple Leafs survived a late-game scare to hold onto a 4-3 win against Philadelphia in a rare afternoon game. It was the Blue and White’s final game before a Christmas break, and the team increased their string of home victories to six games. That includes a perfect record of 5-0 in December.
For the entire season, the Maple Leafs’ home record is Maple Leafs’ 13-2-3. On the season, the Maple Leafs’ combined record moved to 21-7-6.
Takeaway One: Michael Bunting Continues His Points/Scoring Streak
Michael Bunting scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning in his last game, and he scored again against the Flyers. He’s been on a really solid scoring pace. The goal was his ninth of the season; and, with his 15 assists, he now has totalled 24 points in 34 games.
Bunting’s hot streak over his last 13 games now includes five goals and nine assists (for 14 points). His goal against the Flyers was assisted by both William Nylander and Auston Matthews.
The Maple Leafs’ third line was solid. The line is starting to develop a bit of a personality – Pierre Engvall, David Kampf, and Alex Kerfoot are looking great. Moving Kampf to the third-line center has been a wise move. Engvall has been playing the best hockey of his career. Kerfoot is the ever-dependable Kerfoot.
Takeaway Two: William Nylander Moving Up Team’s Point Total
William Nylander scored his 20th goal to move within one of leading the Maple Leafs in points. He had a three-point game and now has totalled 20 goals and 19 assists (for 39 points) in 34 games. When people think of the Maple Leafs, they think of the star players the team can ice. After his start this season, Nylander has to be considered one of the team’s shiniest stars.
Nylander was a difference-maker in this game. For the season, the Maple Leafs are led in points by Mitch Marner who had a goal and an assist yesterday and now has scored 13 goals and added 27 assists (for 40 points). Auston Matthews added an assist and now has 17 goals and 22 assists (also for 39 points).
Takeaway Three: Ilya Samsonov Won, But Didn’t Shine
The Maple Leafs outshot their opponents 34-19. Toronto goalie Ilya Samsonov made 16 saves on 19 shots. It wasn’t his best game; however, who can complain too much about a win?
Samsonov now has set a Maple Leafs’ franchise record for most consecutive wins at home in a row to start a season. He’s won nine straight games to begin this season. It was a strange game. Samsonov was great for 50 minutes; but, at the end of the game, things turned a bit sour. Samsonov let in a couple of weak goales, including one that just slid through the legs.
He won the game.
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