The Toronto Maple Leafs are off to one of the hottest starts in recent memory. They are undefeated through three games and their scoring and offensive prowess is seemingly second to none.
The Leafs are led by the likes of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander but it speaks to the depth of this club that so many other players have stepped up and are contributing to the effort. It was a wild game against the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that looks fresh and revitalized after a dismal playoff performance last year.
Here are three takeaways from the Leafs wild overtime win.
As noted above, the Maple Leafs offense primarily runs through the big three of Matthews, Nylander and Marner. All three are supremely talented players who drive possession and scoring chances in their favour.
An extraordinary stat has already emerged from the Leafs season. After three total games, they have 13 different goal scorers and 19 individual players with points.
Six players on the squad have two goals and Matthews is leading the way with five points through the three games. The Maple Leafs can finally boast about the scoring depth that they have. In the recent past, having multiple scoring players was considered a pipe dream. It’s an excellent step in the right direction as the Leafs try to become elite.
So much of the Maple Leafs success can be attributed to goaltender Frederik Andersen. He’s arguably the most important player on the team, especially because the Leafs don’t have a great deal of goaltender depth.
Andersen will be extremely busy this season. He’s already started the Leafs first three games and figures to get at least 65 to 70 more appearances over the course of the year. Andersen is coming into the season healthy and lean.
He’s ready to carry the load and has already been relied upon to come up with some massive saves for the Buds over the course of the three games. Chicago dominated the Leafs in the first period of their game. Andersen had to stand tall and weather the storm to give his team a chance at a win later.
Look for Andersen to have a career campaign with the high flying Leafs this season.
The Dominance of Matthews
Auston Matthews is a special player. The former first overall pick had a fantastic first year in the NHL. He scored 40 goals and 69 total points and propelled the Leafs into the playoffs.
The American pivot has started off his second NHL season by leading the team with five points in three total games. He was also ultra impressive against the Hawks and sniped a beautiful goal to win the game in overtime.
Matthews played majority of his ice time against Keith, Seabrook, Kane.
84% possession. Even strength shot attempts were 29-3.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) October 10, 2017
Despite that amazing finish, there was an even more impressive stat. Matthews played the majority of the night against Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook. Even strength shot attempts were 29-3.
Let’s consider this for a moment. It means that there were only three shot attempts when Matthews was on the ice. The key to this sentence is attempts. In other words, no Blackhawks player had a shot when Matthews hit the ice throughout the entire game.
Matthews is such an effective player. He does all the little things right and is rewarded with scoring chances and goals. He’s a special player and if you give him an inch he’ll jump on it and take a mile.