The Toronto Maple Leafs are undefeated on the road.
The elite Toronto Maple Leafs offense returned to form on Wednesday night with a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place. In a game nationally televised in the United States, the Leafs showed the rest of the league their abilities by handing the Jets their first home regulation loss of the season and snapping a 14-game point streak at home dating back to last year.
The Maple Leafs showed composure and didn’t panic when the Jets scored two unanswered goals in the third period to make it 3-2 and Frederik Andersen was phenomenal in net.
The Maple Leafs are now 7-3-0, good for first in the Atlantic Division, and are 5-0-0 away from Scotiabank Arena, their best five game road start since the 1993-94 season where they compiled the same record.
Kadri FINALLY Scores
In one of the most euphoric moments of this early season, Nazem Kadri sent a wicked wrist shot past Connor Hellebuyck to put up his first goal of the season. It is Kadri’s first goal since his power play tally on April 7th against the Montreal Canadiens. The look on his face as he skated around the net to celebrate with Par Lindholm was one of joy and relief. Hopefully he can use this goal to build momentum towards his third straight 30-plus goal season.
To be fair to Kadri, while he hasn’t scored, that has been more of a function of bad luck than bad play – he’s been great. He also hit the post last night, so he could have had two!
Hainsey Goes Down
On the negative side of the coin, Ron Hainsey left the game with an undisclosed injury and it its unknown if he will play against the Jets again on Saturday.
Some may see this as a positive, as Hainsey hasn’t been the strongest presence on the blue line this season, but anytime a member of the defensive sore goes down it should be a cause for concern. If he can’t play on Saturday, and Travis Dermott remains out with an illness, Mike Babcock will have to come up with an interesting set up for his defensive pairings that could include Justin Holl.
While no one wants to cheer for someone being hurt, Hainsey was the worst player on the ice last night and is the worst player on the Leafs. With Andreas Borgman in the minors, a Hainsey injury could be a blessing in disguise.
Elsewhere in Toronto Maple Leafs Land
Andersen looked like a man possessed last night, stopping 38 of 40 shots in what was his best performance of the season so far. He is starting to shed off the rust from the off-season and is beginning to look like the Andersen that stole several games for the Leafs last year.
Tyler Ennis scored his first goal as Toronto Maple Leaf at 2:25 in the second period and John Tavares scored his seventh of the season to ice the game in the third period. Kasperi Kapanen also continued to show his skills on the top line, scoring his fifth goal of the season on an unassisted tally in the first period.
Nine different players recorded a point for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a win that is just what they needed: A confidence booster. The Leafs showed they can play against a strong playoff contender as well as play in high pressure situations like nationally televised games, something they will need to get used to if they continue to lead the division.
Will this loss cease all worries for the team? No, but it is always nice when the Leafs take care of business against a Canadian rival.
Saturday night sees another match up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets, this time from Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.