Toronto Maple Leafs: Three Observations from 2-0 win over Washington

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Nazem Kadri /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 17: Nazem Kadri /

Defence gets the job done

It is not often that you see the Leafs defence be the spotlight of a win especially with a strong performance between the pipes. Andersen was stellar in this one but the Leafs made it much easier for their goaltender.

There were not as many breakdowns defensively especially against a lethal Capitals offence. What may have been the difference in this one was the Leafs discipline as they only took three penalties in this game.

The best way to neutralize a big offence like Washington’s is to take away their weapons and while he only has two goals on the man advantage this season, Ovechkin is always lethal from the left side circle.

The nervous moments came in the final minute of the third period with Washington pressing for the equalizer. Andre Burakovsky almost connected on a pass from Niklas Backstrom from the side of the net but the Leafs were able to survive that and take the pressure off thanks to Nazem Kadri.

While the Kadri line looked good at different parts of this game, it was the Matthews, Nylander and Hyman trio that was the most noticeable. Nylander and Matthews were finding each other all over the offensive zone but they were unable to get one past Holtby and trust me there were chances.

Nylander showed off his impressive puck handling skills the entire night and at times he did it in the defensive zone forcing Andersen to bail him out. However, he missed chances to get one past Holtby off rushes to the net and some open looks to the net.

Another area that Nylander has shown improvements on this season is at the faceoff circle. Babcock has been alternating Nylander and Matthews so that they can take draws on their strong side. Nylander won some draws against Backstrom who is an experienced center which is an encouraging sign for the young Swede to do it against his fellow countrymen.

Next: The James van Riemsdyk conundrum

What are your thoughts on the Leafs game? Who impressed you the most and what are your expectations with the Detroit Red Wings in town?