The Toronto Maple Leafs opened the 2023-24 NHL season by pulling off a great multi-goal comeback in what has to be the most entertaining game ever played in October.
Where to start?
Auston Matthew’s 300th goal? His first hattrick since 2022?
The first goal by Noah Gregor (who had an excellent debut)? Or what about the first fight by Ryan Reaves (which was actually kind of a dud since he got pushed over the back of the net and lost his balance and subsequently the fight).
There are a ton of things to talk about from this game, but the most important one is probably just the overall play by the Toronto Maple Leafs which was, frankly, fantastic.
Toronto Maple Leafs Get Much Deserved Comeback
The score of this game was extremely complimentary to the Montreal Canadiens. This game was, except for a spell in the first period, completely carried by the Leafs. Even when Montreal scored three times in a row in the third, the Leafs were dominating the game before and after.
The Leafs finished the game with 55% of the puck-possession, 58% of the shots and 51% of the scoring chances. They dominated for most of the night, and only a horrible game by Ilya Samsonov (and a lucky bounce or two) allowed Montreal to make it appear to be a close game.
But it really wasn’t.
Auston Matthews scored 3 times, and almost won it in overtime with what easily could have been his fourth goal of the night. Matthews crushed his minutes at 5v5, but all his goals came on the special teams. He had 8 shots on the night.
John Tavares added three assists.
Matthew Knies had a great shift in overtime before taking a penalty, but he and fellow rookie Fraser Minten’s line was the Leafs weakest one.
John Klingberg was exactly what we expected. He had 2 assists, but was the Leafs worst 5v5 defender. He and partner Jake McCabe were the Leafs worst pair and they got destroyed.
The scoring chances were 11-3 for Montreal when McCabe was on the ice. 7-2 for Montreal when Klingberg was on the ice. They each posted a horrible 39% Corsi. Considering how much better Liljegren was, it’s ridiculous Keefe played Klingberg almost as much as anyone.
At 5v5 Rielly and McCabe each played 18 minutes (apart, obviously) and Klingberg played 17. He was horrendous. Not as bad as the new goal song, but pretty damn bad. (all stats from naturalstattrick.com).
This game was unbelievable- 11 goals, a fight, a shootout, and great OT, a hattrick and two goals with the goalie on the bench for a wild comeback.
All the stars were great. The team overall was fantastic. More importantly, the game was highly entertaining and the Toronto Maple Leafs won.