Monday January 18th 2021: 3-1 W vs Winnipeg Jets
After coming out of the Ottawa series splitting 1-1, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming out of this game. Was Ottawa playing at Torontos level or did Toronto stoop to theirs?
Toronto in the past years has faired well against Winnipeg getting points in the last 8-9 games. Mark Scheilfele LOVES playing the Leafs, in his 14 career games against the boys in blue, he has recorded 11 goals. The only team he has more goals against is Dallas.
Big news arrived before the game that Jets star forward Patrik Laine would be missing this game with an upper-body injury according to Head Coach Paul Maurice. This absence presents a great opportunity for the leafs to take advantage of a team missing t heir arguably most talented player.
Leafs D Mikko Lehtonen makes his debut tonight after an impressive camp, highlighting his offensive abilities in the Blue vs White game. I have high hopes for this kid, he is very mobile and will be an offensive threat who can skate and move the puck well. The Leafs young D prospects with Sandin, Liljegren and Rosen among other are starting to break into the big league.
Jason Spezza clears wavers and will rejoin the team tonight. Spezza is not the player he once was. However he has shown that he has adjusted his game into being able to be the consistent defensive fourth line centre. Along with Joe Thorton, Spezza adds value beyond the ice. These two amazing veterans are building a culture off the ice and in the dressing room teaching this young team how to play.
The first period was scoreless. Both teams competed well and each had their scoring chances. Anderson looked great as well as last years Vezina Cup winner Connor Hellebuyck. With Andersons great play it was obvious that Toronto can rally around this and bring their game to the next level.
In the second period, Leafs Captain John Tavares scores yet another power play goal to put the Leafs on the board first. This season was going to have to be BIG for Tavares. Entering his third year as a Leaf, his second season was definitely a disappointment. Well folks, this year he is starting HOT. He currently is leading the league in points and is tied for the league lead in goals scored. Talk about a power play specialist, all 3 of his goals are on the PP.
A little over 10 minutes later Mitch Marner pulls in a rebound to make the game 2-0. However, under a minute later Kyle Connor, who has made a name for himself in Winnipeg wrists a shot in to make it 2-1 Leafs.
The third period was pretty boring for most of the 20 minutes. The Jets try to rally back but even with multiple power plays just can’t catch a break.
After some penalty killing, the Leafs get some insurance with an empty-net goal and his second of the game from Marner. What happens next is just pure comedy. Jets D man Neal Pionk tries to run Marner over as he fires in the empty-net shot. Marner then as he’s shooting to completely dummies him and sent him flying. Marner then has some kind words for Pionk as he skates by. Jets C Scheilfele then gets in Marner’s face and some action takes place by the Jets net.
A job well done tonight by the Leafs. Marner leads the scoresheet tonight with a 2 goal game along with a sneaky 2 point game from Holl with 2 apples. Hopefully Anderson carries this momentum going forward and can provide consistent and solid goaltending.
The Leafs take on Connor McDavid and the Oilers this Wednesday. This will sure to be an exciting game with the first of many Matthews vs McDavid matchups this season.