Entering the game in the midst of a three game skid the Toronto Maple Leafs needed a win to jumpstart their season. After a hot start at home against Ottawa, losses to Montreal, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay have put a sour note over some really good play by a few Maple Leaf players.
The Leafs in theory would want to start this game hot to negate their three game skid. Unfortunately the game started like the majority of them this season and the Leafs didn’t score first. Jacob de la Rose had the inside edge on Rasmus Sandin and netted a rebound past Frederik Andersen. The Leafs equalized at the 9:57 mark of the first period thanks to a great shift by the fourth line (the first of many) and a nifty move by Nicholas Shore.
The least eventful period of the game. What became evident through the first 40 minutes of this game was that the bottom six was the best two lines the Leafs had on the night. The Leafs took a 2-1 lead at the 19:30 mark due to a Ilya “soup man” Mikheyev breakaway goal. Created by a fantastic long range flip pass by Kasperi Kapanen, Jimmy Howard left his crease to try and reel in the pass but was beaten to it by a speedy Mikheyev.
A close game entering the third was broken wide a part by the Leafs in the final period of the game. Every shift by the third and fourth line was dominant. Including goals from both Alexander Kerfoot and a well deserved empty netter by Trevor Moore. Jake Muzzin also netted one in the final frame.
First and foremost, the bottom six was outstanding. Without their play we don’t win this game. As much as people like to complain about Jason Spezza sitting, if this combination on the fourth line continues to play like this Spezza can sit in the press box as much as Mike Babcock wants. It was also a nice bounce back game by Andersen after the drubbing in Tampa Bay. Freddy saved 25 out of the 27 shots on goal, his season stats now sit at a .886 SV% and a 3.33 GAA.