The Leafs Get the Most Improbable Result to Start New Year

Jan 2, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Jones (31) defends
Jan 2, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Martin Jones (31) defends / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Maple Leafs started their West Coast Road Trip with a bang Tuesday night by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0.

The Toronto Maple Leafs best goalie is on the I.R, their second best goalie has the hockey version of the yips, and they were forced to rely on their 3rd string goalie while recently losing three in a row, and five of their last six games.

Heading onto a difficult road trip with no goalies and the team spiringling put the Leafs in a really bad position, so getting a shutout against one of the NHL's best teams is just about the least likely result you coudl imagine.

But it happened.

Toronto Maple Leafs Defeat the LA Kings

The Leafs played a solid first period, a great second period and then turned things over to Martin Jones for the third.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were more or less destroyed in the third, but Jones held the fort down to earn his second shutout of the season.

Overall, this was mostly a good game for the Leafs since they needed a response and they got one. They probably deserved to win the game, based on the first two periods at least, but the third period wasn't pretty.

In the 3rd, LA attempted 30 shots to the Leafs 8 and had possession of the puck almost the entire time. The scoring chances were 13-2 LA, and the dangerous chances were 6-1.

While the Leafs had a shutout, responded well when Matthews was checked into the boards, and, most importantly, won the game, the third period was pretty concerning.

I don't want to be too negative here because the first two periods were good, and they ultimately did win, but they easily could have allowed two or more goals in the 3rd and lost the game. The fact that they didn't matters, but considering they've lost five out of six, I'm not sure how much.

The Domi line was destoyed, and the Kings pretty much did whatever they wanted to when Rielly, Liljegren, Giordano or Brodie were on the ice. The Leafs blue-line just straight up sucks.

When Jake McCabe and Simon Benoit (nice fight btw) are the only two defenders who show up, you can't expect the game to go that well, and frankly, if not for Jones this probably would have been a loss.

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Martin Jones isn't someone you should have to rely on, based on the last five years of his NHL career, but there is no doubt he's been amazing so far for the majority of the time he's had to play. Two shutouts in eight starts is pretty great.