The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-1 last night. It was the Maple Leafs’ first win of the 2022 calendar year. It was also a win that the team needed to re-establish its confidence.
In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at some of the news from the game.
Takeaway One: Ilya Samsonov Is Back on Track (Finally)
Ilya Samsonov got the start in the net against the Red Wings last night. He had been struggling over his past few games, and many Maple Leafs’ fans were hoping he could pull out of his mini-funk with a solid game. He did just that last night.
Although Samsonov had been shaky recently, he showed none of that last night. Prior to last night, he had given up 17 goals over his past four games. Now he’s given up 18 goals in his past five games. In the game, he saved all but one of 23 shots the Red Wings put on his net. What an improvement from the five goals he gave up in the shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues just four days ago.
On the night, the only goal that beat him was a breakaway during the first period. There are some collective sighs emerging in Maple Leafs’ nation after Samsonov’s positive showing.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Marner, Nylander & Campbell
Takeaway Two: Mitch Marner Becomes Second-Fastest in Maple Leafs’ History
Auston Matthews hit the 500-point mark two games ago, and it didn’t take Mitch Marner long to follow (four days, in fact). With his game-tying goal early in the second period, Marner became the second-fastest player in Maple Leafs’ franchise history to hit the 500-point mark. Matthews did it in 445 games; and, it took Marner 22 additional games. It was Marner’s 467th NHL career game.
Matthews registered an assist on Marner’s goal, which seems appropriate. With these points, both Matthews and Marner extended their own recent personal point-scoring streak to four games. Marner also added an assist in the game.
The goal was Marner’s 15th goal of the season (he has added 31 assists for 46 points in 40 games) in addition to his 500th career point. By the way, congratulations to Marner for being selected as one of the first 32 players (one player from each team) who will be participating in the 2023 NHL All-Star Game.
Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs Ugly 5-1 Loss to Kraken
Takeaway Three: John Tavares Pots Two Goals Against the Red Wings
It seems that John Tavares is back on track for the season. Last night he scored the game-winning goal and added an empty-net goal with 1:39 left in the game. After the Red Wings scored the first goal of the game, Tavares jumped in with the help of a couple of teammates (Pontus Holmberg and Marner) to help the Maple Leafs score four goals in a row to ice the game.
Tavares now has scored three goals in his last two games and has collected seven points (with four goals and three assists) in his last seven games. Tavares’ return to form has been a major boost for the Maple Leafs. He is a leader on the team and his consistent level of play is helping drive the team toward the playoffs.
His 18 goals and 37 points in 40 games are a testament to his ability to produce and be a difference-maker for the team. With Tavares back to his usual form, the Maple Leafs have a great chance of returning to the postseason.
Related: MAPLE LEAFS’ RANDOM THOUGHTS: HYMAN OR BUNTING, WHO’S BETTER?
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Pingback: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly in Maple Leafs' 4-1 Win Over Detroit
January 8, 2023 at 10:49 am
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but the Wings were on the second night of a back to back and missing important players Bertuzzi and Fabbri. However, I agree that it was an important win for all of the reasons mentioned in this article. Tonight’s tilt against the Flyers is equally important for the same reasons.
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