Woohoo the NHL season started last night and the first game sure was a fun one. The Toronto Maple Leafs started their season with a bang. After looking sluggish, and taking many penalties in the first period all signs led to Winnipeg taking control. Then, the audience was welcomed to the Freddy Andersen show. Andersen made numerous A grade saves against Laine, Scheifele, and most notably Jacob Trouba. The tides then shifted when the Leafs got a fortunate powerplay on a phantom hooking call. On this powerplay, the Leafs worked the puck around and Nazem Kadri cleaned up the trash in front. From there on out the route was on. Soon, JVR would score right off of a faceoff win by Tyler Bozak beating new Jets goaltender Steve Mason. Next up was William Nylander’s turn to score and give the Leafs a 3-0 lead at the end of one.
Then comes the second period in which the Leafs continued their onslaught. Patrick Marleau would make it 4-0 with his first of two on the night in an incredible debut with Toronto. The Jets outshot the Leafs again this period, yet they could not find a way past Frederik Andersen.
The third period comes along, and last season the Jets made a miraculous comeback against the Leafs, that game was also 4-0 and eventually a hat trick by Patrik Laine made the difference in Overtime. The Leafs made sure this would not happen. Back to back goals by Marleau (his 2nd of the game), and Mitch Marner push the lead up to 6-0. The Jets would eventually score a beautiful goal on a nice backhand saucer pass by Laine over to Scheifele who finally beat Andersen to make it 6-1. Matthews would add a goal to his already 2 assist night, and put it away for good. The Leafs end up winning this game 7-2.
To introduce analytics to this game, which I will do consistently during game reviews. This game was realistically a lot tighter than the score would suggest. The CF% (Corsi for Percent) was in favor of Winnipeg by only a small tick. Their percentage was 50.67% (5 on 5 only) versus the Leafs’ 49.33%. This is related back to the total shots of the game which was 37-31 in favor of the Jets. Goaltending was the true difference tonight. Steve Mason could not stop a puck, while Freddy Andersen was a wall for Toronto. Do not fret Jets fans, look at the numbers, not just the score. If Mason does not have an off night, this game could have easily gone the Jets’ way.