Welcome to episode 1 of PGHT where we talk about the good the bad and the ugly of tonights game. The leafs were 2 for 19 in Buffalo heading into tonights game which is almost unthinkable.. I mean the leafs aren’t that bad! Lets get into this.
Frederik Anderson was sensational. Making 42 saves and only allowing 1 goal, he is definitely coming into his own on this leafs roster after a few bad starts. I mean did you see that toe save as he slid across the net? My goodness.
The kid Mitch Marner, before the game I tweeted that I hoped to see him get rewarded for all the great hockey he has been playing. My oh my did he come through with 2 goals in 14 mins of ice time and playing great without the puck, getting into open looks on offence and back checking and covering on defense as well. This kid is GREAT!
I loved the pace to the start of this game. Quick back and forth hockey. Unfortunately that usually means filled with lots of neutral zone turnovers for both teams. To the point where it was almost frustrating. Flashes of brilliance from Nylander and Matthews, followed up by being too “fancy” with a plethora of drop passes at the Buffalo blue line that meant the puck didn’t find its way into the offensive zone.
The good news is that this stuff is easily fixed once all the players have bought into the system.
Normally if the defense let 43 shots on net in a game I would be worried but a ton of those shots are usually from the outside and easily stopped. In this game that was kind of the case, but the amount of quality chances right in front of the net is something that needs to be fixed. Too many clean shots are getting through from bad positioning and once that starts it seems as if they get lost in their own zone. This isn’t new as it happens almost every game, except now Anderson is coming in clutch and helping out.
The leafs totaled 37% on face offs in the game which is brutal but can be fixed. It makes sense as to why the leafs let so many shots if they keep losing draws and the other team has possession.
At the end of the day the Maple Leafs came out of Buffalo with a WIN. In the end that’s all that matters is getting those 2 points. The leafs found a way to win. I don’t think they played that bad of a game at all. Buffalo played a solid game as well. Hopefully in the coming games some of the negatives turn more frequently into positives and this roster can really take it to the next level.
I would love to hear your opinion on the game as well! Reply with a comment down below or hit me up on twitter! @TMLHockeyTlk