The Toronto Maple Leafs finished off a hectic part of their schedule, including a long and tough western road trip, at 12-7-0 — good for 2nd in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Devils and behind the Lightning. They also have the second best goal differential in the conference, again behind Tampa Bay. You’d think all would seem well, especially considering the expectations BEFORE the season started.
But they have not made it this far without some creeping doubts or some wear and tear. Auston Matthews has been playing out of his mind, but has missed the last three games. James van Riemsdyk has missed time and had a period of not looking himself. Frederik Andersen hasn’t looked his usual self either, and last time he played he had a couple of collisions with other players and the post.
Add in the sheer amount of time played, especially for the likes of Zaitsev and Hainsey and how much they’re relied upon to kill penalties, and you have a team that undoubtedly could use some rest.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the best games the Leafs have played came when they were most rested — the start of the season. Since then, as they packed in more and more games, on a long road trip, the injuries and quality of play increased and we saw their performance slip.
So it will be really interesting to see how well the Leafs play coming out of this four day rest.
ONTO THE LINKS!
Rielly the Rusher: A look at the defenceman’s strong first quarter — I’m a big fan of Gus Katsaros, and apparently he’s a big fan of Morgan Rielly’s play this season. Worth a read.
Are the Maple Leafs closer to getting Mitch Marner back on track? — Mirtle takes a look at Marner’s steadily improving play at the Jock, so it might be paywalled.
Chart Timbits: What I learned about Auston, Mitch and Freddy — fanposter billius27 had some fun with charts to look into some of the Leafs’ play.
LFR11 - Game 19 - B Sweeper - Tor 4, Bos 1 — Dangle’s latest recap video from the Leafs’ 4-1 win over Boston included a fantastic intro:
Hat Guy: I’m confused. I thought I read that the owner of the Boston Bruins was in Toronto getting inducted into the HHOF.
Dangle: Yeah, no, that’s right.
Hat Guy: But last night JVR was in Boston!
For reference, JVR has 26 points in his last 23 games vs Boston, going back to the 2012 playoff series.
Maple Leafs by the Numbers: 39-37. — elseldo continues his series listing the best Leafs in franchise history by each jersey number.
Sunday Dots: Because random thoughts separated by periods is how you be a good writer or something. — a pretty great imitation of one of our favourite journalists working for the Sun, by elseldo.
Marlies come home triumphant from their most gruelling road trip of the season. — a recap of the Marlies’ successful weekend, by Katya.
Will Nikita Soshnikov’s contract block Kasperi Kapanen from the NHL? — Katya delves into the news/rumours of Soshnikov’s contract situation and how it impacts another young winger on the Marlies who is probably ready for the NHL.
AROUND THE NHL
A 76-goal rookie season was just a glimpse into the greatness to come for Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne — by Eric Duhatschek at The Jock.
Paul Kariya welcomes hockey back into his life with Hall of Fame induction — Pierre LeBrun looks at the public re-appearance of Paul Kariya, noted ageless Time Lord or possible cyborg.
Result unimportant, Legends Classic means everything to participants — NHL.com looks back at some of the highlights of the Legends Classic yesterday.
The Edmonton Oilers fell 2-1 to Washington in the shootout, and things are looking increasingly double-plus ungood in Edmonton...
The Edmonton Oilers have now moved into sole possession of 28th place in the league— Hardev (@HardevLad) November 13, 2017
They are now DECISIVELY ahead of the juggernaut Sabres, Panthers and Coyotes
In the latest “It was 4-1...” scenario, the New Jersey Devils scored FIVE unanswered goals to go from losing 4-1 to leading 6-4 thanks to a hat trick by Tim Brent impersonator Miles Wood (because, seriously, who the fuck is Miles Wood?). They would wind up winning 7-5, and the Devils’ Twitter was proper excited.
Have a great Monday everyone!
Who is your favourite HHOF inductee?
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That blowhard that loves lock outs so much