Friday, March 24Welcome

Maple Leafs Report Card: Bunting Net 2, Leafs Take Care of Business in Mile High City

The Leafs finished 2022 on the W row and bounced off the Colorado Avalanche in style. Thankfully, the return of Nathan McKinnon and the excited crowd waiting for him to electrify on the ice, or the threat of Dennis Malgin’s revenge on his goal, didn’t calm the team down. They played leading the entire game and were able to capitalize on their poor goaltending performance on the other side of the ice.

first star

Auston Matthews

It’s never a good feeling to be bitten when you’re in the right position, but Matthews had to deal with that feeling when Devon Touse’s shot came off the skate and in. It was all about patience. Instead of immediately launching the puck, Matthews waited, letting Georgiev low and further away from the net for the finish and his 18th finish.

His speed and power bursts along the zone and board were another factor that frustrated Avalanche. JT Confer felt it personally.

second star

William Nylander

Nylander was more visible in the offensive zone, showing his looks in power plays and well-protected 2-on-1s. He was a key part of Matthews’ goal to keep the puck in the zone, bump it and fend off the backchecking Kare McCur. Bunting scored the final goal of the game, but Nylander’s efforts made it happen. He had to fight his way through some ice piles along the boards and contend with the under-pressure Kare Makar, but he managed to deliver the puck to Bunting and score an empty net goal. .

three stars

Matt Murray

The Leafs allowed the Avalanche to return to the game once the second period came. He gave up two of his goals but thought Murray was solid in the net.

Colorado started creating a lot of chances in front of the crease and Murray did a good job of freezing them and not letting his opponent improve their looks on the second and third. was tall and challenged the shooter. Not a bad way to ring in the new year.

player report


Michael Bunting

Our favorite plague two-goal game. Bunting hit double figures with a power play goal in the second half, but has received a lot of attention from that area of ​​the ice since being added to the top unit.


Mitch Marner

Marner brought his 14th on-ice sleight of hand and drive of the season. A little sidestep gave him a better lane and allowed him to start what turned out to be the worst night for Alexander Georgiev.

Marner also looked like he was trying to stretch the ice a bit in the final frame by attempting two long passes to David Kamp and Nylander.

Yarung Krok Street

A quiet 5-point game streak and 10 points in nine games for Järnkrok. He gave Marner his two chances and was able to capitalize on that second chance. Also neutral he sees his Järnkrok physical ability to knock Logan out of the pack in the zone his O’Connor and Conner his third hustle he almost beats the icing from Timmins and gets a chance at the net I also liked

TJ Brody

Defensive defenseman TJ Brody led all Leafs players with six goals. His goal in the second period capped Georgiev’s evening.


John Tavares

The captain’s two helpers. The second was Bunting, whose goal was accidentally scored by a fan.

Pontus Holmberg

Holmberg is doing more and more to gain the trust of the coaching staff and gain more minutes. was able to fill Additionally, Mikko Rantanen’s backcheck and sticklift after the powerplay were beautiful.

dryden hunt

Hunt doesn’t skimp on your efforts and puts pressure on the pack carrier from behind. He put up a good fight with his pack loose in his blue paint, and in the second, he had a strong shot off the wall.

Justin Hall

Hall had some great reads in penalty kills with McKinnon back on the Avalanche. He would drop before the one-off attempt or limit his options to close the gap to McKinnon.

Hall also played a hand in Operation: Revenge Goal Contained, playing well when Margin held the puck in front of Murray.

Connor Timmins

A really steady night for Timmins. With Brody, he makes a lot of simple plays, minimizing shot attempts on the ice and settling into this role to keep him calm.

Mark Giordano

Murray was briefly seen defending Confer in front of the goal, but tonight was also a rare instance of Giordano’s attacking impact being less present.


Alexander Carfoot

The Leafs have been loose in the neutral zone lately, so it wasn’t ideal to see Carfoot’s turnover lead to a goal. Besides, he coasted back into his zone defensively. There, if he could have skated harder, he could have put more pressure on Confer before taking the shot. But I liked Carfoot’s desperate play. He drew a tripping call late, but was able to get the puck to Kamp for the first shot on goal ahead of the first Engvall tally. The second in the middle frame was really frustrating when Carfoot knocked a pass from McKinnon out of the ice into the air.

Timothy Liljegren

Liljegren had to fend off some odd rushes on his own tonight, and penalized one of them.

Morgan Riley

Rierry made some clutch defensive plays tonight, giving McKinnon a good stick lift and coming down to block a pass attempt from Evan Rodriguez to Arturi Raekkonen, who was heading in front of the net. But some of those weird rushes were on him.


Pierre Engval

A quick shot on goal off the rebound to put pressure on Colorado.

Engvall has another piece of gear he can physically reach, too many lost fights, and too many players passing him to sacrifice the line Sheldon Keef relies on defensively.


David Kamp

Like the Avalanche, I love Kemp playing in a match against a team that uses speed to try to crush their opponents behind the net. We’re focusing on his defensive work, but he could have put more effort into Confer’s goal.

Zach Aston-Reese

Reese had a bit of an aggressive snakebite and was unable to see the net and grab a stick.

game score

Final grade: B

The Leafs continued their game-winning trend after scoring four or more, with the Core Four jumping on two of them, but it was another hole-filled night for them.

The game started to look like a 3-on-3 extra time, with an odd number of rushes going both ways. The only difference is that the Leafs had goaltending and the Avalanche didn’t. That said, the Leafs converted the poor goaltending and porous defense Colorado provided into those opportunities. Many people cite three back-to-back power-play opportunities as the moment that puts the game away, but I think capitalizing on the ideal situation would be another way to spark some form of murderous instinct. . Oddman Rush has to handle itself. The Leafs have been very good at limiting their opponents’ chances in the past. They need to get back to it as the second half of the season approaches.

What next for the Leafs?

The Leafs will kick off 2023 at home to the St. Louis Blues (Sportsnet Ontario) on Tuesday at 7pm. It could be another chance to show why Ryan O’Reilly is worth getting.

Happy new year!

(Top photo: Ron Chenoy/USA Today)

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