The Toronto Maple Leafs needed just one period to absolutely demolish the New Jersey Devils last night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs ultimately won 7-1, but they really only had to play one period.
In the first, the Leafs scored four times, doubled the Devil’s shots, and out-chanced them 14 to 5. It was an epic beatdown, and in total, the Leafs scored 9 total goals in the third period of Monday’s game and the first period of yesterday’s.
The Leafs had a 77% expected goals rating after the first period, as well as a four nothing lead. They then switched her over to automatic and coasted to a victory where the only question was “would Jack Campbell” get a shut-out?
The answer turned out to be no, and if you’re ever going to have a shut-out broken, Jack Hughes’ sick goal was the best way possible for it to happen. I’m not just saying this because I own a half-dozen of his Young Guns cards, but Jack Hughes is going to be a in the conversation for “best player in the league after Matthews and McDavid” very soon.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs NJ Devils
The win was the Leafs fifth in a row. This is the fourth time they have won five games in a row this year, and the fifth time they’ve taken at least nine of ten possible points.
Mitch Marner scored in his seventh straight game, scoring twice and notching four points. Matthews scored a goal and added an assist as well. The goal brings Matthews to 29 in 39 games, despite entering the game with the lowest 5v5 individual and on-ice shooting percentage of his career. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Matthews is now just four goals off the league-lead, and he’s played eight games less than Chris Kreider. He is primed to capture his first Hart Trophy in the second half – assuming Marner doesn’t beat him to it!
Speaking of Marner, the Toronto Maple Leafs are now 23-3 in the last 26 games that he has dressed in. When the Leafs are healthy, they are quite simply the best team in the NHL.
They currently sit fourth overall in the NHL standings, by points-percentage. They have played 42 of 82 games, They are 9-2-1 since New Years, with both losses coming games where they posted a 60% or better expected-goals rating.
It is nice to hit the all-star break on fire, and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be off for five days until they play Carolina next Monday. Now about my Damon Severson fantasies……