Leafs feeling Golden after shootout win over Vegas Golden Knights

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: William Karlsson
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 6: William Karlsson /
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TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 6: William Karlsson /

Auston Matthews gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a scare, but still played and helped the team beat Vegas 4-3 in the shootout.

They sure do like to make things interesting, don’t they? The Toronto Maple Leafs came home after a hellish week on the west coast, and in St. Louis.

Things appeared set to get worse, as the Buds got their first look at the Vegas Golden Knights, who have started the season off strong. However, the Leafs squeaked out a 4-3 win via the shootout in front of their home crowd.

Let’s take a look at the main takeaways from the game:

1) Defence & Goaltending

This game almost didn’t make it to the shootout. Frederik Andersen tried to make a play by skating to the blue line to try and catch Vegas sleeping. The pass was intercepted and shot on net from the neutral zone, just missing the net.

Andersen was doing his best to give Leaf fans a hernia in that overtime. It looked like he was trying to make something happen when the puck came near him.

Andersen didn’t freeze the puck much, if at all, in the extra frame. In the end, however, the Leafs starter made several stops in overtime and blanked the Golden Knights in the shootout.

This wasn’t the same defensive performance we saw on the road trip. The Leafs forwards and defence looked noticeably better in terms of clearing their zone.

The lone mistake came when Connor Carrick couldn’t get the puck full down the ice for a dump and change. Vegas turned that around quick and Deryk Engelland scored.

Jake Gardiner had a good bounce-back game after a rough road trip. He had more confidence with the puck and didn’t make any glaring mistakes during the game. He looked very good in overtime as well, alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander.

Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey are having quietly productive seasons for the Leafs. Rielly tallied another assist on the first goal of the game, giving him 10 assists and 12 points in 16 games. Hainsey has nine assists over the same span and the pair has only accumulated six penalty minutes combined.

It’s good to see Rielly get time with a steady blue line partner, after being given the Dion Phaneuf treatment of getting tossed with a fifth or sixth defender a majority of the time.