The Leafs stepped on the ice, saw black and gold uniforms at the other end, figured they were in Pittsburgh still and picked up where they left off Saturday night.
Toronto played a strong first period with the Tavares line continuing their dominance in the offensive zone.
Connor Brown gave the Leafs the early lead with relentless pursuit on the fore-check, resulting in his second “light” of the season. Brown demonstrated he does have “hands” spinning around, firing a bullet past a helpless Marc Andre Fluery.
After a Marner goal nine seconds into the middle frame put the home side up by a couple, it’s like someone hit the “off switch.” They stopped pressuring the Vegas ‘D’, made sloppy passes, numerous defensive zone turnovers, failed to clear routine “outs” and the Golden Knights rang three posts in the second period alone.
When the Leafs did apply pressure holding the O-zone it resulted in at least a half dozen 3 on 2’s for the pesky Knights who seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. The Leafs continuously failed to pick up the trailing Vegas winger entering their zone; without Frederik Anderson on his game, he faced at least 6-point blank shots alone; this one could have gotten away from Toronto pretty easily. Instead they snuck (stole) away with 3-1 victory after an empty netter by Nazem Kadri salted it away with less than a minute to play.
Coach Babcock will not be happy with the last 40-minutes of this one but will take a deep breath, be thankful for the 2-points, give his goaltender the day off and try and figure out why his team almost unbeatable home last year can not string together 3-periods of consistent play. Puzzling.