This isn’t a joke. This isn’t Leafs-peddled propaganda. When Matt Murray closed out his 44-save shutout of the Dallas Stars, he had saved nearly six goals above expected — the most seen since shot locations began being tracked in 2007-08. After nine starts, the former Penguins and Senators goalie has a .932 save percentage, second in the NHL, and a 6-1-2 record for the Leafs, dropping only four of a possible 18 points.

As impressive as Murray’s performance was against the Stars, one might think the Leafs played utterly horri-bad in front of him. While the Leafs only had 47% of the shots in the game, they did have 55% of the expected goals at 5v5 — only 2.14 expected goals against at evens. Where the big discrepancy came from, and more specifically where Murray shone, was the power play.

The Stars had 10 minutes of power play time in last night’s game, including nearly two whole minutes at 5v3. In those 10 minutes, they piled up 3.64 expected goals on Murray, mostly on the 5v3 after Mitch Marner had broken his stick. Marner, Sandin, and Liljegren did very well to block shots (especially removing Jason Robertson’s shot), cover a lot of empty space, but the Stars were throwing everything at the net and Matt Murray was simply sensational. He stopped Tyler Seguin earlier in the game on a breakaway after Conor Timmins tripped over air. And in general he was excellent in close quarters.

The Leafs took a lot of penalties in this game, and those penalties were earned. But they played to the game that was in front of them, adjusted, and won in very convincing fashion. On the whole night the Leafs scored four goals on 3.92 expected goals (including the empty netter). Offensively, they had a strong team performance and made the most of their 5v5 play. Defensively, when you play most of the second period shorthanded, blocking shots and stopping pucks is the recipe for success.

Oh, and Mitch Marner extended his point streak to 20 games, while Jason Robertson lost his at 18. Robertson hasn’t scored a point in only four games this season, and two of them were against the Leafs (their only two meetings this season).

Oh and another thing, Auston Matthews has four goals and nine points in his last five games (a five-game point streak). He’s coming for you, Mitch!

Various Leafs and Branches

Recap: Leafs defeat Stars 4-0 | by: Species

Save % over time in the NHL | by: Katya

Maple Leafs Prospect Report: Akhtyamov, Hildeby, Peksa, and other goalies | by: Brigstew

Sheldon Keefe Post Game, Leafs 4 vs. Stars 0: “Murray was perfect… [Sandin-Liljegren] took on a lot and were really, really good” | from: MLHS

‘Unique’ Der-Arguchintsev achieves goal with Maple Leafs call-up | from: Sportsnet

NHL99: Why Victor Hedman is the best defenseman of the post-Nicklas Lidstrom era | from: The Athletic

Victor Mete didn’t return to the Leafs game after taking a hit. He’ll be out for about a week, according to the team. We’ll see who the Leafs call up tomorrow to replace him. The only defenders on NHL contracts who played for the Marlies over the weekend were Mikko Kokkonen, Axel Rindell, and William Villeneuve.

Kokkonen seems like the next player up (to enter the meat grinder known as the 2022-23 Leafs defense), I’m very intrigued to see him play. I think he could impress immediately like Holmberg. He has a very mature, responsible game with skills to go around it.

Add another onto the pile, I guess.

I don’t even have anything to say, I’m just speechless that the quiet part couldn’t even be said aloud.

I found this thread on NHL virtual ads to be really enlightening and allowed me to put words beyond using “weird” to describe how the ads on the screen looked compared to real ones. The result is very simply that realistic looking CG takes time and a lot of complexity, especially in motion. And adding 2-D effects don’t do the trick either.

Shane Wright scored his first career NHL goal last night on the Montreal Canadiens — who won the game and got farther from picking first overall next year, losers. The AHL conditioning stint for the 18-year-old seemed to do wonders as he found his scoring touch there and translated it right to the NHL.

Should all first round picks be eligible for the AHL?

In their D+1 year, yes!121
A year early in their D+2 year seems reasonable65
No, the CHL needs them52
Burn down the CHL and make regional hockey academies (oops did I say that one aloud?)65