The Toronto Maple Leafs, behind a very energetic contingent of faithful followers, gave them there money’s worth with a convincing 6-2 drubbing of the Western Conference leading Calgary Flames at the Saddledome Monday.
The always split crowd, when the Leafs make their yearly visit, was buzzing before, during, and after the game with “Go Leafs Go” chants echoing into the shivering night as fans spilled into the streets with a large group headed towards the popular hangout 'Cowboys' to continue the festive celebration.
Not unlike a Toronto crowd of the 1980’s, the rather subdued Calgary fans didn’t seem too upset a visiting team not only received a standing ovation but a barrage of hats flooded the ice after 4th line winger Tyler Ennis completed his first career hat-trick.
The unlikely hero was full marks for his tenacious pursuit of the puck, motivated in part with the trade deadline acquisition of Nic Petan who replaced Ennis the previous outing and fired the winner against Buffalo.
Mitch Marner looks back on track with another 3-point night (10 in last 3) and Toronto’s version of the hardest workingman in show business Zach Hyman, had a pair to surpass a career high.
Frederik Andersen once again provided the stellar goaltending needed for this team to play beyond game 82, April 6 at the Bell Center.
The first of three on the western swing heads to Vancouver for a match Wednesday followed by the finale in Edmonton Saturday.
At the morning skate the youthful Leafs looked “ready” exhibiting lots of ‘jump’ and a very crisp execution of drills. They started on time, took the play to the dangerous Flames, were rewarded with a couple bounces and before the opening 20-minutes was in the books had a 3-goal lead that had the home team chasing the game.
There was some nervous moments resulting in the visitors running around their own end but the “bend but didn’t break” analogy applied and called upon, Andersen shut the door.
Clearly one of the best performances of the season, but no time to take the foot off the gas with two must-wins on this western swing left (Canucks, Oilers) before heading home to face league leading Tampa Bay Lightning Monday at Scotiabank Arena.