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What we learned from the Leafs pummeling the Jets

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The no-defence division is easier than the old Pacific Division.

NHL: JAN 18 Jets at Maple Leafs Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Maple Leafs pummeled the Jets in most statistical categories, and the only reason the score was an ENG-padded 3-1 was Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets did not have Patrik Laine, and that might have made that game a lot easier for the Leafs.

Special Teams

The Leafs laid down a glorious power play for five seconds less than two minutes on the only penalty called on the Jets. It had movement of all kinds, and might be the single best execution the team has done in some time.

The Jets had four full power plays, and their total shooting on those four looked like this:

Oh, look, the Leafs had two shots on the Jets’ power play making the total shot difference in the Jets’ 8 minutes to the Leafs’ 1:55 minutes 12 to 14. However, not only would it be unwise to give up that penalty differential if Laine is in the lineup, it’s very unwise to do it against Edmonton.

This was the Oilers last night:

I mean, yes, on the one hand, LOL Oilers, but on the other, that’s a very intimidating orange blob when you consider who is doing that shooting. That was a relatively poor showing for the Oilers too, considering they had 11:36 of five-on-four to the Canadiens 9:03.

Yeah, that’s the other thing. This is a weird NHL season, but it’s still NHL, so the penalties are frequent to the point of absurdity in some games. That should go away in about two weeks There were only 36:46 minutes of five-on-five in that Montreal - Oilers game.

Zach Hyman

The Leafs finished off the Jets with a Corsi of 62% and Expected Goals of 71%. Meanwhile the Kerfoot line had 39% Corsi and 60% Expected Goals (the worst of any line).

At the same time, however, Hyman had seven shots (Corsi or all shots, not shots on goal) second only to Matthews and Tavares with eight each.

How can you be on the worst line, and one of the best shooters?

The entire 6:49 seconds the Kerfoot line was together only five shots of any kind were produced by any Leafs player. In 1:49 of Hyman with Marner and Matthews, there were six.

Zach Hyman has been cloned in a way. He plays two deeply distinct roles on the team as the muscle winger of the “shutdown” line that doesn’t shut down top lines very well, and as the support the offence winger on the top line in his free moments.

No one should be too concerned about the Kerfoot line in that Jets game, they were more than good enough, but there’s not much about their matchup results that recommends them for the role against better teams. They dummied Ottawa okay. They folded like wet tissue against the Canadiens, and using Kerfoot’s stats as a proxy for the line since he only played two minutes away from Hyman and Ilya Mikheyev, you get this:

  • 31% Corsi against Nate Beaulieu and rookie Logan Stanley
  • 31% Corsi against Mark Scheifele
  • 34% Corsi against Paul Stastny

The only forward they really shut down was Matthew Perreault. To give them their due, they did keep those top two lines on the Jets to less effective Expected Goals while allowing them to dominate the matchup. But when the Matthews line, and particularly the Tavares line rolled over the entire lineup, this doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that this third line, as constructed, can handle life outside the North Division. Or the Habs. Or even the Oilers for that matter, although, we’re about to find out.

There’s a lot of time to get to a place where that can be a priority to fix, and I don’t think it is now, but no one actually needs a shutdown line that only works against Ottawa.

All numbers are from the Natural Stat Trick Full game report. All are five-on-five, score and venue adjusted, unless other wise specified or in reference to specific Corsi counts, and then they are unadjusted.