The Toronto Maple Leafs broke out of their mini-slump with a solid win against one of the NHL’s best teams last night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs got a great game from Petr Mrazek, which was lucky for them, because this one could have gone either way.
The Penalty Killing, however, was flawless, barely allowing a shot or a scoring chance. The Wild had double the Leafs power-play time, but they were no match for the suffocating Leafs’ PK….which almost no team is.
Mitch Marner – who is an early season shooting-percentage slump away from being a Hart Trophy co-contender with Auston Matthews – is the best penalty killer alive, and a big reason why the Leafs have the second best PK in the NHL, despite getting sub-par goaltending since December.
The Leafs now sit sixth overall in the NHL standings, with a lower shooting and save percentage than every team ahead of them.
Toronto Maple Leafs End the Slump in Style
Since October 27th, the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 74% of the points available to them, despite getting bad goaltending for most of this time. They have rendered all criticisms about them irrelevant and embarrassing.
At this point, criticisms of the Leafs are about as relevant or meaningful as the complaints about society your recently-ostracized-from-the-family Aunt has on her facebook page. Look: we all get it – you’re mad that they didn’t build the team the way you wanted them too, and we get that you’re bitter about the whole 174 years without a championship thing, and that you can’t stand that the GM is younger than you, but this is a good team. The best version of the Leafs any of us have ever seen.
Yeah this team sure does have a tough time with “heavy” teams, and they proved it by winning almost every single game for a four month period. Not that evidence really matters to the kind of person I’m talking about, but it is hilarious to witness people using one bad game as proof, while ignoring the rest of the games over a four-month period.
Face it: this is a great team! You are allowed to enjoy it!
In fact, if you stop counting just before the Leafs recent slump (where they lost five of seven, despite dominating three of those losses) the Leafs went 3.5 months where they won 81% of the points available to them, which, again, considering the goaltending, is even better than it seems.
And if that isn’t enough for you, here is the latest stats on the NHL’s Hart Trophy Frontrunner:
Auston Matthews has 29 goals in his last 31 games. You can see the kind of pace he’s on in the tweet above, but just as impressive is that over this span, he has a six goal lead over the next closest player, and that player, David Pastrnak, has played five more games.
Only one player, Jon Huberdeau, has more points during this time, and he played three more games. (all stats naturalsattrick.com).
Overall, Matthews has 36 goals in 48 games, but it took him several weeks to find his game after wrist surgery. Regardless, he’s on pace for more than 60 goals, and he’s only ten points out of the scoring lead, with at least two games in hand.
Matthews has an insane 58 % Corsi, and 62% Expected Goals rating. He does all this while providing elite defense and leading the NHL in overall WAR. Matthews is the front runner to with the Hart, and the Rocket Richard Trophies. He has an outside chance at the Art Ross and a pretty good chance at the Selke.
He is the best player in Toronto Maple Leafs franchise history, he is the best player in today’s NHL, and one of the greatest players of all-time.