3 Takeaways From Maple Leafs Blow-Out Win vs Avalanche

The Toronto Maple Leafs turned the calendar to December and welcomed the Colorado Avalanche to town. Fresh off a western road trip, the Maple Leafs wanted to ensure that road game mentality was still top of mind after winning their seventh straight game away from home. Head coach Sheldon Keefe preached this message pre-game, and let’s say the message was very well received.

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews was unstoppable versus the Avalanche (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

While Colorado had to deal with some goalie controversy before the game, the Maple Leafs didn’t care one bit and blew out the Avalanche 8-3. Here are my three takeaways from the game.

Auston Matthews is On an Absolute Tear Right Now

Good luck stopping Matthews as he has that crazy look in his eye right now, and apparently shaving off his mustache made the Avalanche not even recognize him on the ice. Colorado left the Maple Leafs sniper so wide open in front he had time to read this article before tucking in his first of the night.

This was just the beginning as Matthews ended up recording the hat-trick and now has scored in four straight games. This all comes only days after he told Gord Miller of TSN that he doesn’t care what the media thinks about his five-on-five production. Matthews is now up to 13 goals in 20 games so far in 2021-22 and has sniped eight in his last 12 games.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Matthews & Marner Poised for Record-Breaking Season

The Maple Leafs’ first line seems to have some serious chemistry right now as Mitch Marner and Matthews are always on the same page, but it looks like they shared the reading material with Michael Bunting. One of Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ prized offseason additions has found a home on the top-line and has recorded 10 points in his last seven games.

Back to Matthews, who likes to enjoy some relaxation on his off-days, the Movember campaign leader was able to raise over $140,000, and he certainly held up his end of the bargain by shaving his mustache. Yes, it certainly took a few years off the look, but somebody tell the Avalanche he still wears No. 34.

Maple Leafs Enjoying Some Secondary Scoring

When you win 8-3, not only can your best player have a hat-trick, but others can chime in on the score sheet as well, and that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday night. The Maple Leafs enjoyed goals from the likes of Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott, and Pierre Engvall.

Jason Spezza Toronto Maple Leafs
Jason Spezza, now up to five goals on the season (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Remember when it was just the “core four” scoring all the goals? Now, the Maple Leafs’ best players continue to play like their best players, but some of their depth options are helping fill up the stat sheet, and when that’s taking place in Toronto, good luck beating the Maple Leafs.

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Toronto scored early and often in this one, and just when the second period almost got away from them as they had a three-goal lead that quickly diminished, the team regrouped and was able to stop the bleeding and stretch their lead. It was great to see Dermott score his first of the season as he’s been battling trade rumors and has been scratched a lot lately.

It was also great to see that all four lines for the Maple Leafs were rolling. It feels like the fourth line of Wayne Simmonds, Spezza, and Nick Ritchie have found some chemistry as they’ve generated a ton of scoring chances since being put together several games ago. The top-two lines speak for themselves, and then Engvall potted one late for the third line. Great to see a balanced attack from the hockey club.

Jack Campbell Continues to Roll Right Into an Olympic Roster Spot

While they didn’t need his very best out of him, the Maple Leafs left Campbell out to dry a few times on Wednesday night, and the potential American Olympian stood tall. Especially while Toronto was short-handed and came up with big save after big save to keep his team in the lead. All of this came after being named the Second Star of the Month in November, where the netminder went 9-2.

Campbell ended up making 28 saves on 31 shots against the Avs and has played himself into not only the Vezina conversation as we finish up a quarter of the season, “Soup” has put himself on the Team USA Olympic radar, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. He’s the perfect teammate, and I think Team USA would be missing the mark entirely if they don’t select the Michigan native.

The Maple Leafs will now enjoy their relaxing off day on Thursday and prepare themselves for the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. The Wild are a great home team, and it’s going to be a serious test for Toronto to go up against another strong Western Conference team. Look for Matthews to stay hot, some more balanced scoring from the bottom two lines, and “Soup” to once again stand tall. The boys are buzzing right now, and it’s great to see. Get your popcorn ready, Leafs Nation, you’re in for a special season.

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