It was a tie game right up to late in the third period. Then the Montreal Canadiens’ Paul Byron broke a 2-2 tie with 2:28 left in the game. The Canadiens went on to score and empty-netter. And, thanks to goalie Jake Allen, who made 49 saves, Montreal beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 last night.

In this edition of Maple Leafs’ takeaways, I’ll look at some of the events of the game and try to consider the implications going forward.

Related: Maple Leafs Rasmus Sandin Put on LTIR: Nuts, He’ll Be Missed 

Takeaway One: William Nylander Demoted for Poor Play

Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe is obviously unhappy with the play of William Nylander. Although Nylander scored, he didn’t defend well enough. That lack of defensive effort pushed Keefe to push Nylander lower in the lineup. Obviously, coach Keefe was frustrated by the outcome of the game, but he focused his negative thoughts on the Swedish winger.

After the game, Keefe commented on Nylander’s missed play. The gist was that the Maple Leafs out shot the Canadiens 51-18, but lost 4-2. It was unacceptable.

Auston Matthews and William Nylander, Maple Leafs

As Keefe noted: “It’s tough. I mean, defensively, I don’t know if we can play much better than that. Just how we controlled play, how we controlled the neutral zone — not a lot happening. That’s a tough one to give up. But to me that was the third or fourth play like that for Will. And that’s why it was time [moving Nylander from the Tavares line]. Things have been piling up for that line for a while. So, it was overdue.”

What pushed Keefe to make the change was the fact that Nylander was beaten easily by Habs’ defenseman David Savard in the second period. Savard was able to get right in front of the net so he could score easily on a pass from Laurent Dauphin. Keefe then moved Nylander from the team’s second line with Tavares to a bottom-six role after that play. 

Ilya Mikheyev jumped up to the second unit to replace Nylander. Look for that move to remain in play tonight against the Florida Panthers back home in Toronto. It’s too much of an important divisional game to leave to sloppy play.

Takeaway Two: Auston Matthews Tied His Career-Best in Goals

Auston Matthews scored his 47th goal just 36 seconds into last night’s game. It was at that time the NHL-leading goal. That goal also matched his career high from the 2019-20 season. The Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick later last night to tie Matthews for the league lead.

Matthews’ goal against Allen got his team off to a great start. But it didn’t last. As noted before, Toronto worked hard to win last night. They fired 51 shots on the net, but they just couldn’t score. Then, a combination of errors and mediocre goalie play by their own goalie Erik Kallgren doomed them to defeat.

Auston Matthews UD Card Toronto Maple Leafs MVP

On the season, Matthews has now scored 47 goals added 34 assists (for 81 points) in 59 games. Both his point total of 81 and his goal total of 47 are career bests. His best season before 2021-22 was during 2019-20, when he had set both career marks. 

Takeaway Three: Erik Kallgren Has Fallen to Earth

Erik Kallgren gave up three goals on only 17 shots in last night’s loss. It was far from a great performance. Because the Maple Leafs offense was on fire, Kallgren faced little pressure. However, he still let in three goals. His save percentage on the game was only .824.

What a fall from the heavens. Kallgren has only given up three goals in his first three games of the season. However, he has now been scored on eight times over his last two games. The 25-year-old goalie will watch his partner Petr Mrazek play against the Panthers tonight on Toronto’s home ice.

Related: How Much Will Maple Leafs’ Mark Giordano Play this Season?

The post Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 4-2 Loss to Canadiens appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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