The Leafs ended their three game skid against Detroit on Saturday and were looking for two wins in a row. The Wild entering Tuesday’s contest had struggled to start the season losing four of their first five games and sat last in the Central Division.
The Leafs continued to start games slow. The Wild scored first at the 5:30 mark. The goal was Luke Kunin’s second of the year and was assisted by Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Suter. Other than Kunin’s goal there weren’t many great scoring chances by either side during the opening period. The best chances the Leafs had were both made mute by Andreas Johnsson’s struggles during the opening frame. Johnsson whiffed on a one timer in front of the net within the first few minutes of the game. Later in the period the Leafs had a four on one break but Johnsson’s pass couldn’t make it across to Mitch Marner. Although credit to Suter for a great defensive play.
The second period is where the Leafs took absolute control of the hockey game. Started by a John Tavares slap shot that beat Devan Dubnyk from a really tight angle. Cody Ceci wrapped the puck around the boards and Tavares threw it on the net resulting in a 1-1 tie at the 1:58 mark of the second frame. It’s worth noting to start the second, Trevor Moore replaced Kasperi Kapanen on the Tavares/Marner line. Toronto broke the game open on back to back power play goals by Mitch Marner and Andreas Johnsson with both goals only being 72 seconds apart. But Marner wasn’t done yet, he set up Auston Matthews for his seventh of the year with a beautiful slap pass. Frederik Andersen also made a nice save on a Marcus Foligno breakaway in the final minute.
Toronto played shut down hockey in the third to close out the game. The Wild’s main chance to get back in it was a power play half way through the period from a Alexander Kerfoot hook. But the Leafs penalty kill shut them down. If it weren’t for Gerald Mayhew’s goal at 18:58 the third period would have ended the way it started, 4-1. But Mayhew’s goal was too late to start a comeback and the game ended 4-2.
Entering Tuesday’s tilt with Minnesota the biggest story was the play of the line headed by captain John Tavares. During Saturday’s win over Detroit the Leafs were carried by the bottom six. But against Minnesota the top six was dominant. Marner and Tavares both scored with Marner also tallying two assists.
Frederik Anderson had another good game in between the pipes. Since losing to Tampa Bay, Andersen has allowed four goals on 56 shots.
The Maple Leafs visit the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at 7:00 PM EST.