The Toronto Maple Leafs went into Tampa, withstood a team throwing everything they had, in front of an absolute bonkers crowd, and hung on long enough to get the victory.
The win gives the Toronto Maple Leafs two of the needed sixteen wins for a Stanley Cup, and puts them one-eighth of the way into their journey – a cool 12%, if you will.
I for one was just happy the Leafs were able to hold on, after just assuming Tampa would eventually tie the game.
I may be generally optimistic, but when the Leafs have a big lead with more than half the game to go, I just assume they will blow it.
Toronto Maple Leafs Re-Take Home Ice Advantage
The Leafs are making the stats for this series meaningless.
In the first game, they had a 5-0 lead, and only played Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner for 5 5v5 minutes each. The “score effects” make all the numbers suspect (in games where a team leads by two or more, the statistics tend to heavily favor the losing team, which, in a short sample, can really alter the meaning you take from the stats).
With the Leafs leading 3-0 halfway through game three, the score effects are back in play.
This is how Tampa currently holds a 55% Corsi through the first three games, as well as a positive (though only slightly) Expected Goals rating, even though the Toronto Maple Leafs have had more shots in total and outscored them by four. (All stats 5v5 and from naturalstattrick.com).
In last night’s game, Tampa was clearly the better team – once the Leafs had the big lead. However, it could easily have been four, five or six nothing Toronto before Tampa scored at all. Jack Campbell was great last night, but Andre Vasilevskiy was absolutely out of his mind.
In the three games combined, the Leafs have been the best team overall, and by far the better team when the games have been close.
If I am the Leafs, I am very happy about having two wins before Auston Matthews even dominates a game and wins it all on his own – it’s like having some found money. Same goes for winning a playoff game with your best statistical defenseman on the bench, as well as a pairing that ranked among the NHL’s most successful in the regular season.
John Tavares could really use to pick his game up. He hasn’t been terrible or anything (and the stat lines are suspect due to all the big leads aka score effect) , but he really hasn’t been too noticeable either.
Overall, however, the Leafs should be really happy. Three games, two wins, 12% home.