It looked like it was going to be an easy win for the Toronto Maple Leafs after a solid first period when Auston Matthews scored his 57th and his 58th goals less than 30 seconds apart to stake his team to a quick lead. In the end, it wasn’t that easy a win. Still, the result was the same and the Maple Leafs beat the Canadiens 3-2.
Other than Matthews extending his NHL lead in goals, the other key event was that the Maple Leafs wrapped up a playoff spot for the sixth season in a row. And, the team hit the 100-point mark in the standings.
In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at some of the key events of the game and comment on their impact on the team.
Takeaway One: Erik Kallgren Has Strong Game in Goal
Erik Kallgren started in goal last night against the Canadiens. Although the rookie Swedish goalie was injured in Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, he was ready to go last night. Kallgren stopped all but two of 26 shots in the 3-2 win. He took a 2-0 lead into the second period, but the Canadiens came back. But they couldn’t come all the way back, thanks to John Tavares’ goal that put the Maple Leafs up 3-1.
Käll we show some love to Källy 👏 pic.twitter.com/o0X4OFyDt6
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 10, 2022
In each of his last four starts prior to this game, Kallgren had surrendered exactly three goals. He made a number of really strong stops during the first two periods when the Canadiens were pushing. But Montreal could never break through to even tie the game. In nine games on the season to date, Kallgren has put together a 5-2-1 record, with a goals-against-average of 2.78, and a save percentage of .904.
Takeaway Two: Auston Matthews Scores Two More Goals
As noted earlier, Matthews scored two goals in last night’s win. In his last 50 games, he’s scored 50 goals (actually 51 goals with his second of the game). The last NHL player to accomplish this feat was none other than the great Mario Lemieux, who did it 26 seasons ago in 1995-96.
With those two goals, Matthews pushed his points streak to 16 games. In those games, he’s just under the two-points-per-game mark with 21 goals and 10 assists. Matthews did all his damage during the first period and gave his team a nice cushion that they never relinquished.
On the season, Matthews has now scored 58 goals and 41 assists (for 99 points) in only 67 games. It seems as if he’s easily going to win the Rocket Richard Trophy. However, how can he not be considered for both the Hart Trophy and the Selke Trophy?
Takeaway Three: The Maple Leafs Finally Beat the Canadiens
Although the Maple Leafs have been on a roll recently, the fact is that during the season before this game Montreal had beaten Toronto in two of the three games the teams had played. In fact, the last time the Maple Lears had lost in regulation was on March 26, when they lost 4-2 to this same team.
The Maple Leafs have had a habit of playing up or down to their opposition. Given the strengths of the two teams this season, the history of their Original-Six rivalry, and the fact that the Canadiens had sent the Maple Leafs home early in last season’s postseason, it was about time the Maple Leafs took a game.
It wasn’t a cakewalk, but Toronto found the determination to win. The win was the team’s second in a row after dropping the game to the Panthers in overtime last Tuesday. They play the Buffalo Sabres next, another team that has been a tough team for Toronto.
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