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FTB: Wrapping up a really good week for the Leafs

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Here’s how they did it, and some links.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs
Feb 29, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin (52) celebrates scoring a goal during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Arena.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a week makes. One day, you’re losing to your own zamboni driver and everything feels like it’s fall apart. The next, you’ve won three in a row, including some big games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, finishing it off last night with a win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Looking at the standings, with this three-game winning streak the Leafs are five points up on the Panthers and nine points back of the Lightning. The Boston Bruins are 16 points ahead and are seemingly out of striking distance from the Bolts.

What a difference a week makes.

In these past three games, the Leafs have gotten two goals each from John Tavares, Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Zach Hyman. The stars on the top lines are scoring. But apart from them, they’ve also gotten a combined five goals from Kasperi Kapanen, Jake Muzzin, Justin Holl, Frederik Gauthier, and even Martin Marincin.

The offense has really gotten the Leafs through this stretch. The defense is currently holding together with the 2018 Marlies, a glass cannon, and a teenager, so it’s not surprising the Leafs have been out-shot in two of three games this week.

Frederik Andersen has given up eight goals on 93 shots, which feels like a lot, but it’s actually good for a .914 save percentage. Aka really close to his career average of .916. He’s been a lot better this week, although not perfect. It’s a step in the right direction.

Coming up next week is the California road trip. San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim. All three are in the bottom five of the week. The Leafs should beat them all three times. It probably won’t go that way. But let’s hope this team has learned from their mistakes and just goes out and wins those games.

And it would really great if Mitch Marner could look a lot more like his old self. I know he has three assists in three games (one on the power play and one on an empty net) but you look at his play and tell me he’s making a difference. The Leafs have been winning without him but he needs to step up if they’re going to keep winning

The Links

Katya has a European prospect report. It’s the end of the regular season for most European leagues and there will be movement among the prospects there. This one is a must-read.

The Marlies thought they had tied the game in the final seconds of the third period in a 5-4 games against the Binghamton Devils. Unfortunately, Matt Lorito (recently acquired for Jordan Schmaltz) missed the buzzer by less than a second.

And here are the headlines from last night’s Hockey Night in Canada. Not much on the Leafs, but some interesting stuff around the league. Including Steven Stamkos could miss between six and eight weeks. That could include the first round of the playoffs of which the Leafs are 57% favourites.