New-look Lineup Shines in Latest Toronto Maple Leafs Win

David Rittich #33 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
David Rittich #33 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

There was no Morgan Rielly, no Nick Foligno, no Jake Muzzin, and no Jack Campbell in the lineup for the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. Well, there was no problem.

The Toronto Maple Leafs downed the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in a game that featured the season debut of Timothy Liljegren and the Toronto Maple Leafs first look at defenseman Ben Hutton. They played over 15 and 22 minutes, respectively, and overall the the Leafs defense held Vancouver to just 16 shots in this game, despite having two of their top three blue-liners out of the lineup (all stats from

The first period moved at a dizzying pace, with Toronto taking a 1-0 lead courtesy of a William Nylander five-hole goal off of a nice feed by Alex Galchenyuk. More notably, perhaps, was the “payback” administered by Wayne Simmonds who, barely two minutes into the game, dropped the gloves and peppered the face of Alexander Edler with punches in retribution for Edler’s knee that put Zach Hyman on the IL the last time these two teams met. Simmonds is almost single-handedly changing the narrative for the Leafs as they start to shed their “too soft” label for the “dirty” moniker that has begun to surface.

Save for a short period of time in the second when the Canucks scored to make it 3-1 and had a few moments of offensive pressure, this game was rarely in doubt for Toronto. They finished with a 54.9 CF% , a 58.2 oZS%  and dominated Vancouver on the shot chart .

Young Toronto Maple Leafs Continue to Impress

Rasmus Sandin also had a dominating game, registering an assist in over 21 minutes with a 75 CF%. His poise and skill has been impressive in his short tenure with the Leafs this year and Sandin needs to be a constant on this blue-line going forward.

Liljegren, the Leafs  other promising young defensive prospect, had a 60 CF% with a CRel% of 6.8  playing alongside Travis Dermott. Sandin with T.J Brodie and Liljegren flagging Muzzin is an intriguing prospect for the Leafs in the future.

With Campbell receiving a well-deserved day off, David Rittich made the start and although not really tested, made saves when he needed to and came away with his first victory for Toronto. He made 15 saves and improves to 1-1-1 as a Leaf with a 2.72 GAA and an .888 SV% . Rittich should be given a few more starts as the season winds down to ensure a healthy Campbell is in net for the start of the playoffs.

Looking Ahead

The Toronto Maple Leafs next game is Saturday at 7:00 pm where they face-off against the Canucks again. There won’t be many implications for the Leafs so expect for more rest to be given and some additional minutes for the likes of Sandin, LIljegren and/or Hutton, who, if nothing else, should be able to provide some quality defensive depth in the post-season. And with Foligno, Hyman and possibly Riley Nash in the lineup on the forward side of things come playoff time, names like Pierre Engvall, Alex Galchenyuk and Adam Brooks make for an impressive list of offensive depth that has been sorely lacking in recent years.

Next. Leafs Game 1 Playoff Lineup. dark

May can’t come soon enough.