At the beginning of the Maple Leafs 4-3 OT win over the Boston Bruins, I thought it was odd that Mike Babcock had switched Mitch Marner and William Nylander. I worried about how the Leafs were going to keep up with Boston’s depth and not lose out because of it. If only one line was able to produce, and it went up against the Bergeron line, the team wasn’t going to succeed.
Babcock’s solution was much more complicated than rolling four lines and it was brilliant.
Babcock said Leafs settled on lines strategy v Bruins two days ago— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) October 20, 2019
Matthews-Nylander - Offensive zone
Matthews-Marner - Match-up situation v Bergeron
4th line - Match-up v Bergeron in D-zone
"I wasn't going to explain all that to ya (smiles) would've been a waste of time"
Babcock and his coaching staff get an A+ for their effort and creativity last night because they were able to have their best matchup line (Matthews and Marner), while also maximizing Nylander’s time with the top line. Alex Kerfoot was a man on a mission and showed us that he’s much better at driving play than we thought he was. That goal he scored was fully deserved.
Jason Spezza wasn’t used much, but Frederik Gauthier and his mates killed it last night, they were super impressive. They beat the Bergeron line when they needed to, gave the Leafs positive and energetic minutes against the depth, and allowed Babcock to be super creative with his top-eight forwards.
That careful management and line matching honestly gave the Leafs the win. Without John Tavares — and for half the game Andreas Johnsson — they would not have beaten the Bruins in a normal game.
I’m less worried about the playoffs on Sunday than I was on Saturday.
Oh, and Mike Babcock (and all of you yelling at me) were right about Dmytro Timashov. I was wrong. He’s a fun little bugger.
Auston Matthews played 23 minutes and 12 seconds tonight in the Leafs first game without John Tavares. He’s only played more once in his NHL career.— Jonas Siegel (@jonassiegel) October 20, 2019
Here is the recap from the game I just talked about. It’s from Seldo so proceed with caution.
During the intermission, Nic Petan was brought up by Elliotte Friedman. The Leafs might be looking for a trade partner here. Gosh, I hope no one has any opinions about this in the comments.
From our friend-enemies at MLHS, the difference between reasonable and ridiculous takes and why you’re at fault for it.
For those who like to “hate watch” things, have fun with O-Dog’s ridiculous takes on... John Tavares?
Update on Andreas Johnsson: nothing broken, but he won’t practice tomorrow. Leafs play the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Bruins again on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Mike Babcock on Andreas Johnsson, who missed the third period with a leg injury: "I think he's going to be fine. The X rays were negative, we'll see in the morning. He might not practice tomorrow but he'll be back in."— Kristen Shilton (@kristen_shilton) October 20, 2019
From the Marlies, Kasimir Kaskisuo recorded his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over the Cleveland Monsters. Darren Archibald got his first as a Marlie and Egor Korshkov scored his fifth goal in five games. The Marlies are 5-0-0 to start the season and remain *perfect* on the penalty kill to start the season.
Rielly giving the officials an earful after the period. pic.twitter.com/JOtxFK5whB— Flintor (@TheFlintor) October 20, 2019
Just kidding. Freddy Gauthier for Captain.
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Billie-Jean King is a QUEEN!