Toronto Maple Leafs: Auston Matthews Amazing in Big Win in Vegas

The Toronto Maple Leafs went to Vegas and won big.

Last night, on the fourth game of a six game road trip the Toronto Maple Leafs visited Las Vegas and picked up a big two points.

With the win, the Leafs maintained their second place position in the Atlantic, and the  Eastern Conference, and they moved into a tie with the Calgary Flames for second place overall.

The Leafs get the edge because they have two more wins.

Leafs vs Vegas

The Leafs had a big night controlling 56% of the play.  They also got a few goals for their over-due power play, and overall it was a pretty fun game to watch, one with a great ending, as the Leafs came alive late.

The only down side of this game was the knee-on-knee hit that Brayden Cobourn gave out to Andreas Johnsson. The play looked bad, but it appears that the Leafs were lucky and that Johnsson escaped without any serious harm done.

Auston Matthews had a hell of a game – he was on the ice for 18 shot-attempts for, and only six against.  Good for an incredible 75% possession rating, while picking up two goals and an assist.

Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, Patrick Marleau, and Andreas Johnsson added the others.  Jake Muzzin had two assists, but otherwise had a rough debut with new partner Nikita “how am I still in the NHL” Zaitsev.  The two were 44% paired and overall it was a pretty big waste of the Leafs new top pairing defenseman.

For some reason, unlikely but no no longer impossibly limited to gross incompetence, Mike Babcock played Jake Muzzin for less minutes than he played Ron Hainsey, who was the most used 5v5 defenseman for the Leafs, and the second most used over-all.

Hainsey actually had one of his better games, but the point is that it’s patently ridiculous to have Jake Muzzin on your roster and then use 37 massively declined Ron Hainsey more than him.

There is not one single scenario or universe where that is a good decision.

On the bright side, Dermott and Gardiner were paired together and controlled over 60% of the play.  They have looked great whenever they’ve been paired, and I like seeing them together.  Only problem:  it creates a lineup inbalance since neither Muzzin or Rielly or Gardiner should be on a teams third pairing and it leads to wacky things  like Morgan Rielly being the least used 5v5 defenseman on the team – something almost as dumb as having Hainsey lead the team in that category.

Anyways, some weird stuff, but an overall great game for the Toronto Maple Leafs.