The Toronto Maple Leafs played without Auston Matthews for the first time in his career and well, the result was good, but the product really wasn't. The Leafs defeated the Wild 4-2 , but the issue I had was with how the Leafs went about Mike Babcock's game plan. The entire second period felt like Minnesota was invading Toronto and that this was much more serious than just game 17 of an 82 game schedule. The Leafs don't seem to be expecting Matthews to miss multiple games, but there were certainly adjustments that needed to be made besides expecting Frederik Andersen to stand on his head. The one thing you can say about the Leafs efforts on Wednesday night was that they were opportunistic. The Leafs did have a few bounces go their way, but sometimes, being good is as simple as being lucky, and that's the sign of a good hockey team. You create your own luck, and when you're without the teams best player, you need a few of those to go your way.
Back to Frederik Andersen, whose evil twin twin and alter ego finally took a night off, and Leaf fans got a preview of the number one goalie that they've been hoping for. Andersen stole the two points tonight, right out of the Wild's hand. It was really quite the theft.
Anyways, that's sort of besides the point. The Leafs got the goaltending they've desperately needed without upgrading their defense. Something eventually has to give, because the Wild sure got comfortable in Andersen's end, but for now, this performance will have to do, especially since it equated to the ever so vital two points.
Much like we mentioned in the game preview, this one wasn't exactly an adrenaline rush of a game. It provided some theatrics, but I still think the 2/5 stars rating was an accurate one.
Next Game: @Boston, Friday November 10th 7PM ET