Nothing like a victory to begin with. Some talking points after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.
1. Jack Campbell was fantastic. That’s important on many levels, building confidence that last season’s 17-3-2 record was no fluke. He held the fort in the first period before his teammates came to life.
“We came out pretty slow,” said William Nylander. “I mean slow to get my legs going that first period, but Jack was on fire tonight.”
Campbell stopped 31 of 32 shots for his sixth career win against the Canadiens.
Petr Mrazek is going to Ottawa on Thursday night.
2. The Leafs made a blue-necked effort. It was not a pretty game by any means. Michael Bunting became a plague. Jake Muzzin didn’t let anyone be pressured. Justin Holl saved a sure goal while killing a penalty, with a kick kick. The Leafs held a one-goal lead for 19 minutes after Nylander broke the 1-1 tie at the start of the third. They got a victory.
“The boys worked and competed; it was a close game to the end, ”said head coach Sheldon Keefe. “Happy to have found a way to be on the right side, of course.”
3. The death penalty was perfect. David Kämpf led the way there (3:21 short time on ice), winning matchups and clearing pucks.
Four. Mitch Marner fired four shots. Twice, he could have passed instead of fired. Passing is your game, creating opportunities for others. But this year he wants to score, perhaps hardened by criticism that he didn’t score in the playoffs. Credit to him for working on his shot. But hopefully he doesn’t forget to pass is what sets him apart.
5. Pierre Engvall’s nickname is Seabiscuit. So his teammates have named him after a horse. The giraffe seems more appropriate. Never mind, he had a solid performance, both physically and offensively. His line, with Kämpf and Ondrej Kaše, also has some chemistry. Not bad for a guy who wouldn’t have even been in the lineup if it weren’t for the injuries of Auston Matthews and Ilya Mikheyev.
6. Strange fact of the night: Marner received an assist on Nylander’s goal, but not an advantage, even though the goal came with equal force. Marner passed Morgan Rielly, then headed for the bank. Rielly passed Nylander, who replaced Marner. Nylander scored, fooling Jake Allen with a little forgery.
That is all for now. I’m in Ottawa for Thursday’s game. Let’s not forget to get Mailbaggin ‘. If you have DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION, email me at [email protected] and I will reply in the next mail folder.
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