By Stan Smith
The Toronto Maple Leafs upped their early season record to 2-1, winning a closer than it should have been battle with the Ottawa Senators by a 3-2. Today we will look at the game’s Good, Bad and Ugly takeaways.
Nine players shared in the scoring of the three goals in this game with no Maple Leafs’ player getting more than a single point. The only player in the top six that failed to get a point was Denis Malgin. In the bottom six, David Kampf with a goal and Alex Kerfoot with an assist were the two players that figured in on the scoring. Both Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl played key roles in two of the Maple Leafs’ goals.
Muzzin and Holl
Muzzin made a nice feed to Kampf to open up the scoring. Holl took a pass from Mitch Marner on his wrong side, carried the puck down low, dished it off to Michael Bunting, and then headed for the front of the net. He was rewarded with the game-winning goal when he knocked in the rebound of a Bunting backhand.
After struggling badly in their first game together both Holl and Muzzin have had a pair of solid games in the two games since. In the regular stat line for this game, Holl scored a goal, was plus two, and had three shots on the net, a hit, and a blocked shot. Muzzin had an assist, was plus two, and had one shot on goal, four hits, and two blocked shots.
Confidence plays such an important part in sports. Last season the Holl/Muzzin pairing spiralled as they lost confidence, getting worse as the season progressed. Hopefully, the two of them can build their confidence from these last two games. If they can this defence as it is constructed looks very good. One other noticeable thing is how much more the two of them are getting involved in the offence. It would be interesting to know if this is by design and something head coach Sheldon Keefe has them purposely doing, or if it is happening on its own accord.
The Top Line
According to Naturalstattrick.com the Auston Matthews, Marner, Bunting line was on-ice at 5 on 5 for 28 shot attempts for and 10 against, and 19 scoring chances for and only five against. They had a combined Expected Goals For Percentage of 83.2%. Matthews led the team in shots with seven and hits with six (Nicolas Aube-Kubel also had six hits). Marner had two shots on the net, three hits, and a blocked shot.
With Matt Murray getting injured in the morning skate Ilya Samsonov got the start with Erik Kallgren getting the call-up as a backup. Samsonov played a great game and made some excellent saves in the game. In the two games Samsonov has played, he has stopped 50 of the 54 shots he has faced giving him a .926% Save Percentage and a 2.00 Goals Against Average.
With Murray being placed on LTIR and the Maple Leafs only play three games a week for the next three weeks we can most likely expect to see Samsonov get the majority of the next nine starts if not them all.
After having a blazing start to the game and getting eleven of the first twelve shot attempts in the game, giving up the goal on the power play mid-period seemed to take the wind out of the Maple Leafs’ sails. The Maple Leafs had outshot the Senators 6-2 to that point in the game. From that point to the halfway mark of the second period the Senators outshot the Maple Leafs 13-9.
Kampf, Aube-Kubel, Ashton-Reese
Even though Kampf scored the opening goal for the Maple Leafs he was on the ice with Alex Kerfoot and Calle Jarnkrok when he notched the goal. The analytics for this line in the game were not pretty. If we focus specifically on Aube-Kubel and Ashton-Reese, and their five-on0five numbers we see the following stats:
Aube-Kubel: Shots For 1, Shots Against 8, Scoring Chances For 1, Scoring Chances Against 7, High Danger Chances For 0, High Danger Chances Against 6, Expected Goals Percentage 4.1%.
Ashton-Reese: Shots For 1, Shots Against 7, Scoring Chances For 1, Scoring Chances Against 6, High Danger Chances For 0, Expected Goals Percentage 4.3%.
It is only three games, but to this point, the fourth line which was expected to be vastly improved over last season has been performing worse.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is the Senators’ second goal of the game.