Maple Leafs Report Cards: Sheldon Keefe’s new lines dominate the Ducks in shootout victory

Welcome to another episode of the “Toronto Maple Leafs show,” where a destructive performance at five-on-five and on the power play still requires a shootout to secure two points for a 4-3 victory. The “Leafs can’t hold a 3-1 lead” pattern has been repeated so much it’s starting to feel like a trip through the twilight zone. Additionally, the Anaheim Ducks were on the positive side of some lucky bounces. I think it was reassuring to see Sheldon Keefe’s line experimentation — in particular, the Tavares line — look solid, and I think it’s something that should continue for the time being. Perhaps we ignore the score and focus on how they played because this was a good one.

First Star 

John Tavares 

William Nylander wasn’t the only player who got acquainted with John Gibson early — Tavares took the pace to him as well. He had a quick shot on net off a ricocheted puck from the boards and forced an offensive zone turnover for Ilya Mikheyev to get a shot of his own. I’ve really loved how the Leafs have used the back of the net to their advantage on the power play. As good as a shot Nylander had, Tavares put the Ducks and Gibson in a bind with his pass selection. Tavares was also part of the hot power-play scoring, earning the third goal of the game on the five-on-three man advantage.


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