The Toronto Maple Leafs needed 10-minutes of similar play from the night before in the opening period Saturday evening to bury the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 6-0.
The style of play Toronto has been trying to sustain with limited success so far is, you may stop one line or even two, but you can’t stop ‘em all! The snake bitten Andreas Johnsson had a breakout game registering his first NHL hat trick all in the opening frame that pretty much put the bow on this one. The speedy winger has looked more comfortable as the season moves along and similar to Josh Leivo has struggled to score on a regular basis. Leivo, John Tavares and Patrick Marleau added markers to round out the scoring for Toronto.
Calvin Pickard who was claimed by the Flyers on waivers from Toronto before the start of the season, allowed four goals on six shots and his night was over almost before it started.
Auston Matthews is close to returning and with December 1st fast approaching, the window to sign William Nylander is closing fast and if an agreement is reached in the next few days someone will have to sit. It’s a great problem for Mike Babcock to have but there is definitely some added incentive for Johnnson, Leivo, Frederik Gauthier and Tyler Ennis to start finding the back of the net.
The depth of talent is supposed to be the strength of Toronto’s offense but has been lead mostly by Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Morgan Reilly, Kasperi Kapanen and when healthy Auston Matthews. Contributions from the bottom six is imperative if the Maple Leafs have any designs on a deep playoff run.
All in all a solid effort, starting with Garret Sparks who looked more relaxed, wasn’t fighting the puck and given a 4-goal cushion after the first period, cruised to his first shutout of the season. The Boston Bruins are up next and hopefully the Leafs can carry the explosiveness from Saturday forward.