WEEKLY RECAP: Leafs collect seven points on Alberta road trip

  

Game one

The Toronto Maple Leafs started their first extended road trip of the season in Calgary, facing the Flames twice. 

Jack Campbell started in net for Toronto. Having a consistent backup goalie is something the team desperately needed last season and allows them to give Frederik Andersen a break. This is especially important with this year’s condensed game schedule. As well, Auston Matthews returned to the lineup after missing the previous 4–2 win. When asked about why he sat during the last game, he explained that it was an ongoing issue.

“Obviously take care of it here the next couple of weeks, but it feels a lot better, feel more than good enough to play and good enough to go out there and contribute to the team,” Matthews said in an interview.

Speaking of Matthews, his goal in this game was his first against the Flames. He has now scored against all 30 NHL teams. Wayne Simmonds also scored in this game, his first goal with the Maple Leafs.

Campbell was the Leafs’ best player in this game and stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced. Near the end of the game, however, he went down and appeared to be in serious pain. Although Campbell finished the game, he will be out for “weeks” with an unspecified leg injury. This is massively unfortunate for the team, as they lost Aaron Dell to waivers just last week.

Game two

Going into the second game against the Flames, Toronto Head Coach Sheldon Keefe made a couple of small lineup changes. In addition to Michael Hutchinson replacing Campbell in the blue paint, Jason Spezza and Alexander Barabanov sat. Travis Boyd and Joey Anderson (both acquired over the summer—Boyd in free agency and Anderson in the Andreas Johnsson trade) drew into the lineup.

The Flames got off to a slow start, and the Leafs picked up a two-goal lead in the first period. In the second, however, the Leafs lost all their momentum and let the Flames back into the game. This team clearly still struggles with consistency. Johnny Gaudreau tied the game at 3–3 in the third period.

In the middle of the third, Matthews scored to regain the lead and the Leafs held on for the two points.

Game three

Barabanov and Spezza replaced Boyd and Anderson, and Travis Dermott filled in for rookie defender Mikko Lehtonen.

The game was back and forth for the full 60 minutes, at first the Leafs leading 2–0 and then 3–2 before finally winning 4–3. 

Through the beginning portion of this season, the Leafs have not been able to stay out of the penalty box, and it continues to cost them. In this game, they took seven penalties. Three of the penalties were back to back late in the second period—while they were holding on to a one-goal lead. The Oilers’ tying goal in the third period was also the result of a Maple Leafs penalty. Andersen was a huge reason why the Leafs pulled off the win in this game. 

Game four

In this game (and for the remaining games where the team is wearing Reverse Retro or St. Pats jerseys), Jake Muzzin and Zach Hyman served as the alternate captains.

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Early in the game, the puck slipped by Andersen, and Lehtonen barely stopped the puck from crossing the line. 

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This gave the Oilers a penalty shot, which Tyler Ennis took and missed the net on.

Dominik Kahun scored to take the lead later in the first. Although William Nylander tied it up not long after, the Oilers scored again to take the lead heading into the second. Early in the second period, Connor McDavid went end to end, evaded Jake Muzzin and beat Andersen to put Edmonton up 3–1.

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Matthews scored his sixth goal of the season and Hyman picked up a power play marker to tie the game up at 3–3.

In the third, Andersen was forced to make some big saves.

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However, McDavid got the last laugh, winning the game for the Oilers in overtime.

After the game, Keefe had a lot to say about Lehtonen’s performance, and it was not all good. Keefe pointed out that Lehtonen did not look comfortable when he was not on the power play, and that Lehtonen has a long way to go in terms of being a regular in the lineup. The Leafs’ defense situation has been interesting this year. Dermott and Lehtonen have been trading off every other game or so, and Rasmus Sandin has yet to play a game.

The Leafs are now 7–2–1 on the season and sit first in their division, though they have played two more games than the second-place Montreal Canadiens. Toronto starts this week on a three-day break before facing the Vancouver Canucks at home.

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