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Three Takeaways in Maple Leafs’ 4-1 Win vs. Penguins

Last night the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-1. What were the three key takeaways from the game?

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered this game at home having won five straight. The Toronto Maple Leafs were also coming in with a banged-up defensive corps but had been winning by playing solid defense in front of their goalie Matt Murray.

Murray had been sharp in the net – in fact, giving the team far better goalie play than almost anyone suspected he could with the Maple Leafs picked him up during the offseason. But Murray needed a rest, so backup goalie Erik Kallgren got the start. Last night, he got the same team effort in front of him that Murray had been getting. And he prospered.

The team got down to business; took a quick lead; then controlled the play throughout the game. It was about as easy a win as the team has had all season. The final score of 4-1 perfectly represented the play of the game.

In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at the three key takeaways from the victory.

Takeaway One: Erik Kallgren Wins His Third Game of the Season

As I noted, it wasn’t that Erik Kallgren was so busy, but when he needed to stop the puck he did. The goal that beat him was just a bounce off a stick that went right on Rickard Rakell’s stick and then into the net. No chance for Kallgren.

Erik Kallgren, Maple Leafs

This was a nice win for the young Swedish goalie. After his giveaway that tied the New York Islanders game, it was good to see him solid in the net. Sadly, he could have had a shutout except for the odd Rakell goal. But anytime a goalie gives his team 25 saves on 26 shots, it’s a good game.

Related: CAN NEW MAPLE LEAFS’ CONOR TIMMINS EXPLOIT HIS HUGE BREAK?

Takeaway Two: Mitch Marner Just Keeps on Rolling

The truth is that Mitch Marner deserves to be on a 16-game point-scoring streak. He’s working hard enough and he for sure is skilled enough. He pushed his point streak to 16 games with a goal and an assist in the game last night.

Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs

Even more impressive to me is that Marner seems to waste no time putting up points. Last night he only took 40 seconds to extend his point streak.

On his early first-period goal, the Penguins took a line change where they simply thought the puck was going down the ice. It didn’t. Instead, it was intercepted by Auston Matthews who sent a nifty pass to Marner for a clean breakaway. He just clearly faked the Penguins’ goalie Casey DeSmith and put the puck far side.

During the team’s last six games, Marner has had a point on every first goal his team has scored. That’s a quick start.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Kallgren, Sid vs. Auston & Marner

Takeaway Three: Michael Bunting Just Outworked Everyone to Set Up Auston Matthews

I probably should have chosen Auston Matthews as my third takeaway. Matthews had a goal and two assists for a three-point game. Those three points put him in double figures for goals (with 10) and give him 14 assists (for 24 points) in 23 games. He’s now a point-a-game player.

However, in my mind, the key to this win for the Maple Leafs was hard work. And the poster child for that hard work was Michael Bunting. Bunting corralled the puck in his own defensive zone and just protected it all the way down the ice, using every part of his body to do so. He was closely checked, but also just outworked everyone.

Finally, after taking it through center ice, Bunting was knocked down near the right half-wall. However, laying on the ice, he collected the puck with the shaft of his stick and sent it to Matthews who was all alone about 15 feet in front of the goalie. Matthews organized the puck and snapped it past DeSmith.

The work was all Buntings; and, thanks to Matthews’ skill and shot, Bunting got an assist. It was his second assist of the night.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 4-3 Win Against the Wild

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. getrdone

    November 27, 2022 at 7:33 am

    on that first goal Marner broke in quick and it was a beautiful deke and buried the puck, but that got me to thinking about shoot out attempts and I wondered if the players came in much harder in shootouts would it not be harder on the goalie to tell what was going to happen and maybe as a result there might be more goals?

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