Toronto Maple Leafs Top the Blue Jackets, Win Second in a Row
It took ten games, but the Toronto Maple Leafs finally hold a record with more wins than regulation losses. They are 5-4-1, playing six games at home and four on the road.
More from Toronto Maple Leafs
- Maple Leafs Rumours: Half of NHL teams interested in Ilya Mikheyev
- Toronto Maple Leafs: How to address the goaltender position
- Leafs reward Timothy Liljegren with extension after breakout season
- Maple Leafs: Jack Campbell situation becoming increasingly uncertain
- Jason Spezza retires, joins Toronto Maple Leafs front office
The Leafs flew into Columbus hoping that they packed their momentum from their performance in Buffalo. They gave all Leaf fans an extra Halloween treat as they pulled out a convincing 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was there first win against Columbus since November 3rd, 2011.
Here is a recap of Friday night’s game:
The Leafs brought their competitive edge that Leaf fans know can come and go on Friday night. They wanted to get a quick start against a Columbus team that has been under attack by a contagious injury bug. Phil Kessel got the scoring started at 15:28 of the opening frame on assists by Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri.
Oct 31, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Daniel Winnik (26) celebrates his first goal of the season on a shot against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney (30) in the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Leafs won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
This was more than just a tie breaker as prior to this game the Leafs were 4-0 on the season when scoring the first goal and 4-0 when Kessel scores.
For Winnik, the assist came in his 500th career NHL game. Kadri’s assist snapped a six-game pointless streak. All in all, a strong start for the Buds individually and as a team. Despite the shots being even after the first period, the Leafs carried the majority of the play and were off to the strong start they were hoping for, backed up by Jonathan Bernier in goal.
The second period was all Leafs. David Clarkson tipped in a Dion Phaneuf point shot on the power play to tally his third goal of the season, already surpassing half of his total goals last year. Toronto’s 16-9 shot advantage heading into the third had them a little too relaxed as Columbus dominated offensively in the final period.
Oct 31, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf (3) checks Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell (43) from behind during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Goals were swapped by Kadri and the Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson, who snapped Bernier’s shutout streak at 110 minutes and five seconds. Bernier was shelled with eleven more shots in the last period as compared to just two shots by the Leafs, but Toronto scored on both of those shots.
One of them came off a fantastic individual scoring effort from a surprising, yet deserving player. I believe that Winnik may have actually been Joffrey Lupul wearing a costume in the spirit of Halloween… but we will give him the benefit of the doubt because it was his 500th career game after all.
Three points from Winnik, another three points from Kessel, and a terrific performance from Bernier led the Leafs to their fifth victory of the season. The offense looked lively despite Lupul’s absence, who fractured his hand in practice yesterday. It was an important two points with the Leafs taking on the Blackhawks tonight.
Oct 31, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) passes the puck to center Nazem Kadri (43) who shoots the puck in for a goal against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney (30) during the third period at Nationwide Arena. The Leafs won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
They have won two games in a row now – both were games that they should have won if they want to be a contender. But a win is a win. The team has proved that with more consistency in the defensive zone, and if the offence can keep coming from different places (albeit playing with Kessel seems to be the key to success here), wins should come more frequently for the Maple Leafs.
Let’s wait until we see three wins in a row before we plan the parade.
Follow me on Twitter for my three cents on what’s going on in the world of sports:@braydon93