The Toronto Maple Leafs rode three power-play goals, and an Auston Matthews hattrick to victory last night against the Seattle Kraken.
The Toronto Maple Leafs started and finished strong, were a bit wonky in the second, and overall, had a pretty nice game, goaltending excepted.
Once again, the Leafs goalie – this time it was Jack Campbell – was a little shaky in net. ‘
Though none of the goals were particularly egregious, a goalie has got to have a couple of those in order to give his team a better chance to win. Once again, the Leafs started did not.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Seattle Kraken
The Leafs have now won five of their last seven games.
In those seven games, they have allowed 1 , 7 , 3 ,5 ,6 , 4 ,and 4 goals against. That one goal game seems ages ago now, and even though it’s impressive that they managed to win their last four games without allowing under three goals in any of them.
Though people still bizarrely consider the Leafs a run and gun team (they can’t seem to live down their Mike Babcock era play style) their defense has been solid throughout this entire stretch – it’s the goaltending that is horrible. (stats naturalstattrick.com).
Ultimately, this is a good thing because as I have said a million times, the future is always bright for teams who are outperforming their goaltending.
The reason for this is that save percentage fluctuates and any goalie who is ice cold is never as bad as they seem. There is a very high probability, bordering on a guarantee, that Campbell and Mrazek will improve as the season progresses.
And the goaltending is covering up a lot of amazing things. For instance, in the last ten games, the Leafs have had the best expected goals rating in eight of them. Liljegren is doing great, while Lyubushkin seems to be fitting in well.
But most of all, is the incredible play of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews, who are putting up absolutely bonkers numbers.
Matthews now has 36 goals in his last 37 games and the NHL scoring leader during this time. That is the same number of games his only competition for the Hart Trophy has played. Matthews is now only four points back of the points lead overall. He has 16 points in his last 8 games.
Marner has 16 points in his last 7 games, and is only failing to compete for the scoring title because of all the games he missed earlier in the season.
I truly feel sorry for anyone who has spent this season being mad about last year’s playoffs, because what Matthews and Marner are doing is something that has never been seen before in Toronto and likely never will be seen again.
Last night was another great game, and if the Leafs had even league average goaltending they’d be in first place overall.