The No big deal, but at the time of writing the Toronto Maple Leafs have the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Being down 2-0 normally has an effect on how a team may play in the NHL. It may mess with their psyche and affect their play negatively or cause them to become far more aggressive, opening them up for mistakes and giving away scoring chances. But as we’ve seen over the past 21 games, the Toronto Maple Leafs are not a normal team.
Despite the Columbus Blue Jackets out shooting them 39-26, out hitting them 24-17 and the Jackets taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, the Maple Leafs rattled off four unanswered goals in the second and third period to pick up the 4-2 victory. It’s the Leafs’ fourth consecutive victory, third straight home win, and they are the first Eastern Conference team to reach 15 wins.
Let’s be frank, the Maple Leafs should not have won this game, but when you have the superstar power that the Leafs possess, sometimes you don’t have to be the better team to win hockey games.
The Leafs Need to Thank Their Lucky Superstars
The usual suspects showed up to help the Leafs steal the win on Monday. John Tavares had a two point night, scoring his 13th goal of the season to tie the game at two. #91 now has 25 points on the year, the fourth time in his career his has reached 25 points in 21 games. He is currently on pace to finish with 97 points, which would be a career high.
Mitch Marner had a two assist night, one of them being a brilliant play where Marner gathered his own rebound and backhanded a pass to a streaking Tavares in the second period. Marner now sits at 28 points, he’s tied with Connor McDavid for third in the league in points and is second in assists with 22. WWE superstar and resident Maple Leafs fan Luke Harper said it best with this tweet during Monday’s game.
But all would have been lost if it hadn’t been for the play of Frederik Andersen. Say what you want about Mike Babcock playing him too much in the early phases of the season, but the 6-foot-4 Dane has been cosplaying as Colossus from the X-Men this season. He picked up his sixth straight win, stopping 37 of 39 shots (.949 SV%) to keep the Leafs in the game. He now sits in second in the NHL in SV% (.935, tied with Jaroslav Halak), fourth in GAA (2.08) and first in wins with 12. He also leads the league in goals saved above average (14) and goalie point shares (4.5).
Elsewhere in Toronto Maple Leafs Nation
Morgan Rielly leads all defensemen in scoring with 26 points. He is now three points away from reaching 200 points.
Last night was Babcock’s 660th victory as an NHL head coach, 133 of them coming from his time with the Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are now first in the Atlantic Division with a 15-6-0 record, and with the Tampa Bay Lightning losing Andrei Vasilevskiy for the next four-to-six weeks, this could be the chance for the Leafs to take firm control over the Atlantic Division lead.
The road beckons the Toronto Maple Leafs once again as they head down to Raleigh, North Carolina on Wednesday night to take on the Carolina Hurricanes.