Mitch Marner to John Tavares to tie the game. Auston Matthews to William Nylander to win it. Need I say more? How about Nylander to Matthews and Tavares to Marner in the game before that? All I’m saying is the Toronto Maple Leafs currently have a good thing going on and it would probably be a really good idea to roll with this fresh, new car smell top six construction for a little while.

In last night’s game we saw Sheldon Keefe try really hard to put Matthews and Marner together, like they were most of the last two seasons, but when it came to crunch time and the team needed a goal, it was always Nylander that worked best with Matthews. And that’s not to say anything against Marner, who works really well with Captain Tavares when it comes to puck retrievals and quick chances.

In reality, the Leafs get exactly as many goals with Matthews and Marner as with Matthews and Nylander in their careers. They are literally identical at 3.45 goals per 60 minutes at 5v5. And the numbers with Tavares since he arrived are pretty much equal, too. So technically it doesn’t matter what order you put the top four in, but with everything we know from the start of this season and playoffs of the past, new duos just feel nice and different.

You can’t argue against their results, both lines are rolling really well over the last few games. And if I may delve into a little psychology, it’s important when someone feels like they’re running into a wall and not getting anywhere to have a change of scenery. I think playing with Tavares has helped Marner a lot, not just getting him onto a different stylistic line, but as a chance for him to hit the reset.

Same with Nylander, he’s been the best player on the team this season and he deserves to play with the best player in the most important minutes. He’s growing as a leader, he’s putting everything he can into helping the team win, and he’s getting it done. And at the moment when Matthews isn’t scoring goals yet, it’s important to have a true goal scorer on the first line.

By the way, did anyone else find it weird how much Matthews was passing in last night’s game? He just didn’t want to shoot. I guess I can’t blame him for it after the way the game ended. Just hope everything is alright there.

So let us have our fun, Sheldon, and stop trying to make fetch happen!

Various Leafs and Branches

Updated: Maple Leafs recall Kristiāns Rubīns, send him back | by: Seldo

Kristiāns Rubīns was called up yesterday morning, but was sent back down an hour before the game as it was probably decided that Travis Dermott was going to play. Both Dermott and Rubīns had a zero goal differential in the game, so who’s to say is better really.

Maple Leafs with a big finish, take Tampa Bay 2-1 in OT | by: Katya

Lightning let down Andrei Vasilevskiy in overtime loss to Leafs | by: Hardev (at Raw Charge)

Maple Leafs survive ‘dirty’ hit, ugly 5-on-3 in ‘character-building’ win | by: Sportsnet

TSM: Another New Low | by: HEOTP

The Raptors cheated on us yesterday with their old roommate, they filmed it and everything.

Jack Eichel is a member of the Vegas Golden Knights now, and becomes one more big acquisition by that bold front office. They’re not afraid to pull the trigger on trades and signings, which is why they have a roster headlines by this. I don’t want to spend a first round pick on Nick Foligno ever again. Go after talent.

The Blue Jackets drafted the 18-year-old Cole Sillinger 12th overall in the 2021 Draft and yesterday they announced that he’s going to be sticking in the NHL this season.

The Buffalo Sabres needed to reach the cap floor yesterday so the Islanders gave them Johnny Boychuk’s dead cap hit.