Toronto Maple Leafs Destroy Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 24: Scott Darling
RALEIGH, NC - NOVEMBER 24: Scott Darling /

The Toronto Maple Leafs crush the Hurricanes in lopsided tilt in “Next Century” game.

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, the game was won as soon as the puck hit the ice in the opening draw of this matinée game. Things started off with a special pre-game that represented the start of the new century for the Leafs and looked back on the good of the past, which seemed to give the Leafs a boost as they went on to have their most exciting game this year.

The game escalated quickly in the third period as the Leafs went in with a lead of 4-1, and walked out with an 8-1 victory – thanks to a stellar performance once again from Fredrick Andersen, and an abundance of points and special plays from Mitch Marner.

Eight different Leaf players scored, and Marner played arguably his best game this season. With the absence of Auston Matthews, and a three-game losing streak, it was nice to see the whole team step up, finally.

The past three games were the worst or what felt like the worst stretch from Leafs all season, scoring just three goals and looking sloppy throughout. The absence of Matthews has been a burden, however, this game something clicked.

Special Teams The Difference

A perfect special teams helped the Leafs in the path of this blowout, as they went 3-3 on the PP and 4-4 on the PK.

The special teams looked like was revamped and all players involved played a role in helping the team out. The Leafs best penalty killer today was none other than Uncle Leo. Leo was outstanding in his own zone and that lead to the Leafs first shorthanded goal of the year (It only took 1/3 of the season).

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The powerplay was helped out by the likes of Marner and his silky smooth hands and puck work. Having posted points in two of the three powerplay goals scored he seemed to be the guy that got this powerplay going again and gave it the boost it needed.

No Matthews? No Problem.

Before their worst stretch of the season, the Leafs had played five game without Matthews and walked out with wins in all five. Some wins were pure luck, and stellar performances from Andersen, however, they all count the same. The Leafs went on to the next three games without Matthews in the line-up to notice that they in fact, really, really need him.

Three Stars

3. Fredrick Andersen – Andy made 32 saves en route to yet another victory for the buds. The game was filled with spectacular saves and calmness from Freddy.

2. Mitch Marner – Marner played his best game all year recording four points, and two powerplay points. Marner got the powerplay going and gave it a new energy, something it really needed.

1. Special Teams – Yes, special teams is my first star of the game. Without the Leafs play on the powerplay and penalty kill, this game wouldn’t have ended the way it did. Perfect in both category, the Leafs went on to prove they are in fact a team that can put on a show like they did at the start of the year.

Next: A 100 Years In Toronto

The Leafs play again tomorrow night in Columbus as they take on the Blue Jackets. They will look to bring this play into the next game and continue to build on to what was a strong looking special teams.