In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs Quick Hits, I’ll take a look at some of the news emerging from the team’s last game against the Detroit Red Wings. Tonight, the team plays the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Quick Hit One: There Were Positives Emerging from the Red Wings’ Game
Despite the Maple Leafs’ loss to the Red Wings, there were some positives to take away from the game. According to Naturalstattrick.com, the Maple Leafs dominated possession and had the majority of the shot attempts, shots, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances, and expected goals. They also managed to rally after going down 5-1 in shots early in the game, outshooting Detroit 44-19 in the remaining 55 minutes of play. This suggests that the team was generating plenty of quality chances and was able to sustain offensive pressure for long stretches.
Related: Do the Maple Leafs and Michael Bunting Have a Problem?
Quick Hit Two: Calle Jarnkrok Continues to Play Well in the Top-Six
Calle Jarnkrok had a standout first period, scoring a powerplay goal to tie the game at one. The goal was particularly impressive because it was scored by the second powerplay unit. That unit used players who hadn’t played much or at all this season. The play involved every skater on the ice for Toronto touching the puck in a four-second span leading up to the goal.
Jarnkrok’s solid play didn’t stop there. He also made a great defensive play on his next shift, catching and passing two Detroit players before intercepting a pass and blocking a shot to prevent a Red Wings’ scoring chance. Jarnkrok’s strong play earned him a spot on the first powerplay unit later in the game. He also played a role in the second Toronto goal, which was also scored on the powerplay. His play was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing loss for the team.
Quick Hit Three: John Tavares Shows His Great Hand/Eye Coordination
John Tavares scored a goal early in the third period, bringing the Maple Leafs within one goal of Detroit. The goal was his 33rd of the season.
Tavares’ consistent production this season has been impressive. He’s scored at a slightly higher clip than he has throughout his career, averaging 0.44 goals per game and 1.01 points per game. If he can manage to score five more points in his last six games, it will be only the fifth time in his career that he has scored a point a game or more and the second time as a Maple Leaf.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Murray, Bunts & McMann
Quick Hit Four: Is Radim Zohorna Destined to Become an Asset?
Despite not being involved in any of the scoring for the Maple Leafs in this game, Radim Zohorna was a standout player. His ice time doubled from his first game. He also has been positive in every stat tracked by Naturalstattrick.com. He also shows up in the “old school” statistics the NHL tracks itself.
[The tweet below shows Zohorna with his former team the Calgary Flames.]
Zohorna’s play has been impressive not just because of the stats, but also because of the eye test. He uses his size and reaches to track down pucks as he closes on opposing players. He also makes simple, smart plays with the puck when he has it. Defensively, he keeps himself on the right side of the puck and uses his body to separate opposing players from it. He also protects it when he has possession.
While it’s still a small sample size, Zohorna’s play has been promising, and some fans may want to see him extended at the end of the season.
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