Maple Leafs beat Predators 3-1 for 5th win in 6 games


In less than two weeks, Toronto has taken huge points from four teams ahead of it in the standings, getting to the verge of 90 points with another win on Thursday, 3-1 here against the Predators. With each passing victory, it's becoming clear this team is too talented and naïve to care about how this season was supposed to go. Exhausted specialist Zach Hyman couldn't take his regular shift afterwards, but the Leafs still had plenty of gas for another power-play strike. You probably have to sacrifice your body way more. Brown clinched it with his 19th, a feat that has been overlooked in Matthews, Marner and Nylander lighting it up as they have, all headed towards 60 points. You're going to play the way he wants you to play or you're going to get some sort of punishment for it. ...

Check out our Red Wings Xtra app on Apple and Android! A big Andersen save on Mike Fisher followed, but so did a Polak penalty to give the Preds a last gasp advantage.

It was really impressive, though, how the Leafs just flipped the switch when the Wings (deservedly) tied the game late. Matthews now has more goals than Phil Kessel had in any full season.

Frans Nielsen was able to waltz through neutral ice and break the zone with speed because the Leafs' high forward peeled off from the play and glided for half an ice width over to the bench.

Alright, let's get into some Matthews related stats. With very little room to work with, Matthews' soft hands settled it down and released quickly for a short-side goal on Jimmy Howard. Matthews also has the 100mph fastball in his repertoire that Crosby doesn't.

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Hailing from MA, which together with Minnesota were the traditional US hockey hotbeds before the last significant expansion in the late 1990s, Laviolette became the second American coach to coach 1,000 NHL games on Thursday Matthews, who was born in California, but learned the game in Arizona as a Coyotes fan, is part of the 21st century wave.

Filip Forsberg scored his 30th of the season for Nashville.

Nylander has patiently been working on his game for six months in Rochester and has scored 9-18 - 27 in 62 games. "I think we just come on the road and we don't feel any different".

The Red Wings bossed the Leafs around on faceoffs all game, winning 60% on the night.

Matthews began the barrage with his 37th goal, on the power play at 2:56.

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Nylander showed great patience near the dot, forced Niklas Kronwall to commit defensively and opened a sliver of space to shoot and beat Howard.

Seven goals in his last ten for Matthews including back-to-back game-winners.

Having witnessed an octopus being throw onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena you can't help but get excited, especially when you think of Al Sobotka twirling it above his head.

When Vaive scored 50, there was nearly two more goals scored per game than there is now. With a Nikita Zaitsev assist, the Leafs are now at 291 rookie points.

I've got no other analysis here other than to say there were two false starts on the draw that clearly revealed Kapanen's intentions, Green was ready for it, and Kapanen still won the race.

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