The Toronto Maple Leafs are relentless.
After taking three of four possible points against to the of the NHL’s best teams, then dominating a game in near-historical fashion against the league’s worst team, only to get severely “goalied,” the Leafs were once again up against one of the NHL’s best teams last night.
And they thoroughly dominated them.
Now, the score might say otherwise, but Jack Campbell’s worst game aside, the Leafs were the better team all night long.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs St. Louis Blues
The Leafs had possession of the puck for 58% of the game, which is a number that almost always means you’ll win the game.
They also had 63% of the shots and 57% of the scoring chances to go along with 59% of the expected goals. (All numbers 5v5 naturalstattrick.com). Somehow, despite getting 15 more 5v5 shots than the Blues, the score was 5-5 at even-strength.
Jack Campbell could only make saves on 75% of the Blue’s shots, down from his usual 92%. Campbell’s rough game (though let’s not pretend the Leafs defense in front of their own net was anything other than atrocious and lazy) made the score closer than it should have been, but in the end, the Leafs got the result they wanted.
Marner returned to the lineup in style – the NHL’s probable 3rd best player (and definite 3rd best player of last season) scored a sweet goal, picked up an apple and posted a 63% Corsi rating. The Leafs outshot the Blues 16-6 while Marner was on the ice, but somehow they scored twice on those six shots.
Either way, the Toronto Maple Leafs have played three of the NHL’s best teams in the last week during this extremely tough road trip and have taken five out of six points. That’s impressive, especially since they only had Marner for one game.
Last night’s game was a weird one, but for game four out of six on the world’s longest, dumbest road trip (dumb because they turned a five game trip into a seven game trip by cancelling their one home game out of greed) it wasn’t too shabby.
Did the Leafs allow five goals and win the game on a completely fluky Ilya Mikheyev goal? Sure, but they didn’t “deserve” to even need that goal, so it’s hard to say if it was good luck or just a course correction.
For the answer, let us turn to French Philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, who said….just kidding, let us not do that at all. The Leafs won, and are now a ridiculous 22-5-2 since October 27th when they put their unlucky start to the season behind them. During this time they have picked up 80% of their points (*or four out of every five) and are just one loser-point behind Colorado for best team in the NHL during this time.