Toronto Maple Leafs: 3 observations from 8-5 win over Rangers

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 7: Ondrej Pavelec
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 7: Ondrej Pavelec /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO,ON – APRIL 23: Jake Gardiner /

3) Offence from the defence

Gardiner had some questionable turnovers in this game. But god he’s a good player.

His first goal of the season was an absolute thing of beauty. Gardiner harnessed his inner-Bobby Orr and went end-to-end on the power-play, blowing past two players before beating Lundqvist on the blocker-side, to push the lead to 3-1.

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Gardiner had another great play on the sixth Leafs goal. He pushed the puck down the side boards and set up Bozak in the slot for the game-winning goal.

He wasn’t the only defender to get on the scoreboard though. Nikita Zaitsev got his first goal of the season just after Gardiner, with a great wrist shot from the point. That made it 4-1.

It’s good to see Zaitsev get a goal so early. He didn’t score his first career NHL goal until December of last year. He finished with six goals on the season and will be looked at to score like he was in the KHL.

The Zaitsev goal was also the first assist for Ron Hainsey as a Toronto Maple Leaf. He’s not known for his offensive chops, but it’s good to see him start off the season well.

Next: Frederik Andersen’s quest to become the first great Dane

It doesn’t get any easier for the Leafs. They take on the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks at home on Monday night. What is your prediction for the final outcome? Let us know in the comments below.