The Toronto Maple Leafs played a solid game in their win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night.
For the first time in 2022, the Toronto Maple Leafs played in front of a legitimate crowd (50 percent capacity) and it seemed to propel them towards one of their best all-around games of the season.
If we’re pointing fingers (as we typically like to do), the one downside in this game was once again the defense. Toronto’s defense needs an upgrade, but they were fortunately bailed out by Jack Campbell, who looked like his old-self.
Campbell was seeing the puck beautifully all night, as he stopped 45 of 46 shots. The only goal he let in all night was a clear defensive breakdown by Rasmus Sandin who allowed Evgeni Malkin to get to the front of the crease and bang home a greasy goal.
Despite allowing so many shots, Campbell made it look easy. With 46 shot attempts, it wouldn’t have been shocking if he allowed three or four goals, but instead, made sure that this game was never close.
Toronto Maple Leafs Look Fantastic Against Surging Penguins
When you look at the box score, the Leafs dominated the ice in all three capacities.
Auston Matthews scored an even-strength goal 21 seconds into the game, followed by a power-play goal by Morgan Rielly, short-handed goal by David Kampf, then a beauty tally by Michael Bunting.
Scoring an even-strength, short-handed and power-play goal is a rare feat in hockey, so you could see just how dominant Toronto was all night by that statistic.
Things went so well for the Leafs last night that not only did Jack Campbell get the win and secure the First-Star of the game, but he also got an assist on Rielly’s goal.
After getting out-scored 9-1 in their last two match-up’s, it was great to see Toronto on the other side of it. Pittsburgh has had Toronto’s number all year, so it was great to finally see them defeat the Penguins.
Maybe it was the fans that sparked the Toronto Maple Leafs, or maybe it was the thought of playing against Sidney Crosby and company, but whatever it was, Toronto started on time and didn’t slow down.