The Toronto Maple Leafs played a pretty solid road game Monday night in their 3-0 victory over the Florida Panthers. The crowd was sparse and those that were in attendance seemed to be pulling for Toronto.
The Leafs did a nice job of weathering an early storm and stayed out of the penalty box in the opening frame. A late first period goal on a beautiful snapshot by Phil Kessel really seemed to settle the team down. From there Ben Scrivens shut the door and Toronto won their first of back-to-back games in the Sunshine State.
Here are a few things that stood out from the game.
Scrivens picks up second straight shutout
After shutting out the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, Scrivens backed that up by blanking the Panthers. He is now up to a .927 save percentage and a 2.23 goals against average on the season. When James Reimer went down with an injury recently there seemed to be a lot of panic from Leaf fans, but Scrivens has clearly been up to the challenge. He is seeing the puck very well at the moment and most of his saves look effortless. Scrivens seems so much more comfortable right now than he did when he started the year between the pipes for Toronto.
Carl Gunnarsson was a bit rusty
Gunnarsson hadn’t played in over two weeks due to a groin injury, and it showed. He struggled with making outlet passes and gave the puck away a few times to the Panthers in dangerous areas. Greg Millen, in a rare moment of clarity, actually made an interesting point during the broadcast. He mentioned that because of the condensed schedule, teams aren’t practicing as often as they normally would. Meaning someone who is trying to return from injury like Gunnarsson, won’t have as many opportunities to skate with their team in preparation to comeback. It shouldn’t take too long for Gunnarsson to once again catch up to the pace of the game, but Randy Carlyle should keep that in mind until he gets a few contests back under his belt.
Jay McClement making a difference on the penalty kill
Toronto has improved their penalty killing percentage from 28th in the NHL in 2011-12, to 17th this season. A big reason for that is off-season acquisition Jay McClement, who seems to be so reliable in making the right play in his own zone. The Leafs killed off all three of the Panthers’ power play situations, and McClement leads the team in shorthanded ice-time per game with 3:35.
Nazem Kadri making it look easy
Kadri was arguably the best player on the ice for the Leafs on this night. He recorded a goal and an assist to go along with four shots against the Panthers. He set-up Clarke MacArthur with a beautiful behind-the-back pass, who proceeded to snap it low blocker on Jose Theodore. Kadri has really developed some good chemistry with MacArthur since Matt Frattin has gone down with an injury.