Toronto Maple Leafs having a truly historic season
By Neil Becker
By Neil Becker
This Toronto Maple Leafs team have shown all season long that they are a serious Stanley Cup contender.
On Sunday night at Scotiabank Arena, the Leafs, who were playing without star Auston Matthews, made franchise history as they pulled off a 4-2 win against the New York Islanders for what was their 50th win of the season.
The Leafs, who look more and more like they will finish second in the Atlantic Division, have never in their existence hit the 50-win barrier. They also set another franchise record on Sunday when they hit 106 points, which has never been reached. The previous records, which were set in the 2017/18 season were 49 wins and 105 points.
Incredibly this season, the Leafs have posted a 5-1-0 record when Matthews wasn’t playing.
Leading the way on Sunday night were William Nylander who had two points including equaling his career-high of 31 goals and Michael Bunting who followed up Saturday night’s two-point performance with another two-point game.
Toronto came into action on Sunday hoping to ride the wave of momentum from the night before when in Ottawa they defeated the Senators by a 5-4 overtime score.
Things didn’t start off well for Toronto as the Islanders, who were playing for their playoff lives, took a 1-0 first period lead when Anthony Beauvillier scored from the right faceoff circle his 12th goal at the 14:17 mark.
Playing without Matthews didn’t seem to affect Leafs star Mitch Marner who less than three minutes after the Islanders goal, scored his 34th off a rebound to make it a brand new game heading to the second.
It only took 31 seconds into the second before New York received a huge break when Leafs forward Alex Kerfoot accidentally scored on himself. Islanders forward Josh Bailey had the puck on his stick right by the Leafs goal when Kerfoot in an attempt to knock it off his stick accidentally swatted at the puck into his own net.
Kerfoot would make up for that mistake when with a little over nine minutes remaining in the second he found himself on a 2 on 1 break. Skating down the ice he set up line-mate Pierre Engvall for his 14th goal which once again made it a new game at 2-2.
It didn’t stay tied for long as Toronto capitalized on a power play when Nylander at the 13:20 mark received a perfect pass from John Tavares before shooting the puck between the Islanders goalie’s legs for his 31st goal and the eventual game-winner.
Toronto would add one more goal when forward David Kampf scored his 10th goal with nine seconds remaining into an open net to clinch what again was a franchise-high 50th win and 106 points.
The Leafs don’t see action until Tuesday when at Scotiabank Arena, they face off at 7 p.m. against the Philadelphia Flyers.
1st. Period NYI- TOR
14:17 PPG- Anthony Beauvillier (12) 1 – 0
Kyle Palmieri (17), Ryan Pulock (14)
17:31 Mitch Marner (34) 1 – 1
Mark Giordano (24), Michael Bunting (39)
2nd. Period NYI – TOR
0:31 Josh Bailey (12) 2 – 1
10:49 Pierre Engvall (14) 2 – 2
Alex Kerfoot (37), Justin Holl (19)
13:20 PPG- William Nylander (31) 2 – 3
John Tavares (48), Michael Bunting (40)
3rd. Period NYI- TOR
19:51 EN- David Kampf (10) 2 – 4