Toronto Maple Leafs Play Their Best Game of the Year So Far

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 7: Ilya Mikheyev #65 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the Scotiabank Arena on October 7, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 7: Ilya Mikheyev #65 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at the Scotiabank Arena on October 7, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs finally did what we’ve been waiting for.

Last night, hosting the Sharks and ex-Toronto Maple Leafs player Patrick Marleau, the boys in blue and white gave a full 60 minute effort of pure domination.

It was their best and most complete game of the season so far.

It wasn’t the most exciting or the prettiest game to watch, but it was a 4-1 victory that could have been much, much higher scoring if it wasn’t for the solid play of San Jose goalie Martin Jones.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Sharks

What’s a good cure for fan anxiety?

How about a 60 minute domination of one of the NHL’s best teams without three of your best players?

That’ll usually do it.

For once Babcock’s wacky back-to-back goalie strategy made sense because the Leafs were facing the better team in game one.

Andersen was solid when needed, which wasn’t much, because the Leafs were dominant the entire game.

Much has been made about the Leafs “starting on time” though I suspect that in at least half the games were they allowed the first goal, they were the better team up until it happened.

That was last night’s scenario, as the Leafs could have been up 4-0 with a little luck five minutes into the game, then the Sharks got a cheese goal.   No worries though, cause the Leafs just kept their foot on the gas and eventually got it back.  (all stats naturalstattrick.com).

Overall, the Leafs played 60% hockey and were in charge for entire evening.  At 5v5 they outshot San Jose 22-14 and outchanced them 23-11.

The only bad thing about this game was the Leafs power-play.  If I have to see one more drop pass to nobody in the neutral zone, I think I will go insane. How such a talented team can suck so bad at breaking into the zone on a power-play is something I will never know.

Had the Leafs been able to gain the zone on the powerplay, they might have won this game by a touchdown.  Alas, that’s something they’ve got to get better at.

Overall, though, it’s funny that a game in which the Leafs destroyed their opponent so thoroughly was 2-1 until the final minutes.  Really, the score didn’t do them justice at all.

Player of the game goes to William Nylander who picked up a primary assist on the game-winning goal, and was an incredible 75% corsi-for.

Shot-attempts were 24-8 for the Toronto Maple Leafs when Nylander was on the ice.  He was +27% relative to the rest of his team, and the Leafs outshot San Jose 13-3 when he was on the ice.

Marner, Mathews, Kerfoot, Mikheyev, Ceci, Rielly and Muzzin all had great games as well.

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The only time the Sharks did anything was when the 3rd and 4th lines were on the ice (4th line especially got caved in).

All in all though, it was the Leafs most complete game of the year.