The post Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Win Over Hurricanes appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

After two losses in a row, the Toronto Maple Leafs came back in the game last night to beat the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 5-2. The team needed to snap their losing streak and get back into the win column. And they did.

Zach Aston-Reese scored twice (the fourth time in his NHL career scoring twice), with the other goals coming from Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews. John Tavares and Calle Jarnkrok each registered two assists. Jarnkrok win a bunch of puck battles.

Once again Ilya Samsonov had an impressive performance by stopping 32 shots. He didn’t have to stand on his head, but he was solid.

With the win, Toronto picked up its 91st point and retained their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for home-ice advantage in the Atlantic Division. They are now up on the Lightning by three points with a game in hand.

Takeaway One: Zach Aston-Reese Scores Two Goals

It isn’t that Zach Aston-Reese can’t score, it’s just that he chooses to focus on his defense and checking assignments instead. Last night, he seemed quite fired up to score. He got the team’s first goal of the game and then scored again on a 2-on-1 breakaway with Sam Lafferty doing the heavy lifting and Aston-Reese in perfect position to finish it off.

Those two players seem to know the meaning of teamwork and also have developed a quick chemistry together. Lafferty used his speed to create space and then made a beautiful pass to Aston-Reese for the finish. Aston-Reese entered the game with only one goal scored in his last 23 games. But he was on his game tonight.

Aston-Reese scores twice, Rielly bags another as Maple Leafs down Hurricanes 5-2

— CP24 (@CP24) March 18, 2023

Once again, the team’s depth players played with confidence and demonstrated the ability to carry the game. It’s the kind performance the team needs to help them moving forward.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Schenn & Ovchinnikov

Takeaway Two: There’s Something Special about Luke Schenn

Luke Schenn made his second debut on home ice with the Maple Leafs. He had been with the team early in his career and he’s excited to be back. There’s something really quite interesting about how the fans and the city seems to have taken to him.

Schenn clearly has a connection with the fans here. He received a loud ovation he even heard “Luuuuuke” chants from the crowd. I thought it was actually quite special when a player is excited to return to a team after being away for a while. Everyone also seems to be welcoming Schenn back and he’s made himself at home (in a good way) quickly.

It will be interesting to see how he contributes to the team moving forward and how the fans continue to support him. So far, it’s hard to recall a player who’s come to the team in the middle of the season with such a positive vibe. He seems like a genuine kind of guy!

Related: Maple Leafs’ Question: How Much Should Matt Murray Be Playing?

Takeaway Three: Seemed Like Total Team Defense

I was going to write something about Ilya Samsonov here, but the fact is that – while he had a solid game – it was total team defense that carried the day for the Maple Leafs.

Aston-Reese scores twice, Rielly bags another as Maple Leafs down Hurricanes 5-2

— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) March 18, 2023

As Morgan Rielly put it: “Playoff-type of game feel in terms of both teams being conscious not to allow too much offense.” The games seem to be getting that way more and more. Maple Leafs fans will recall that their team took a 2-1 shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night. The game had a similar feeling.

It was a good win for the Maple Leafs.


The post Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-2 Win Over Hurricanes appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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