Toronto leans on the collective
The big storyline heading into this mouthwatering matchup between two of the heavyweights in the North Division was whether or not Auston Matthews could extend his goal streak to nine straight games. Well, Matthews didn’t light the lamp but he did tally an assist to extend his points streak to 11 straight games.
However, while Matthews contributed and Captain John Tavares tallied two assists, it was Toronto’s supporting cast that really stepped up to the plate and helped to deliver the Maple Leafs their fourth consecutive win and a big statement over one of their main rivals in the ultra-competitive North Division.
Josh Anderson did continue his hot start for the Montreal Canadiens by lighting the lamp early in the first period, but defenseman Travis Dermott made it a tied game at 15:18 in the second period with a wrister that went top-shelf, before Justin Holl and then Ilya Mikheyev went back-to-back to put the Maple Leafs firmly in the driving seat.
And, after Tomas Tatar recorded his fourth goal of the year to make it just a one-goal game, Zach Hyman scored an empty-netter in the third period to wrap the game up and seal what was a huge win for his team. As good as the likes of Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews have been this season, and they’ve been elite, any true contender need contributions from up and down the lineup and the Toronto Maple Leafs certainly got that against what has been a juggernaut team in the Montreal Canadiens.
Josh Anderson is good at hockey
This is only going to be a short one but we felt it was only right to mention this Josh Anderson goal from Wednesday night. Montreal Canadiens General Manager Marc Bergevin wanted to make his roster bigger, tougher, stronger and harder to play against in 2020-21, and he achieved that in part by trading for power forward Josh Anderson from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It has been a pretty good start to life for Anderson in Montreal with the forward having 11 points (9 G, 2 A) so far this year, and he showcased why Bergevin was such a big fan with this stellar play during the first period. After retrieving a loose puck, Anderson sent a Maple Leafs player over the boards and into the Montreal bench before getting the puck back, speeding into the zone and then beating Frederik Andersen with a wrister. It was a deadly combination of power, speed and finishing ability and that’s exactly why the Montreal Canadiens signed the power forward to a seven-year, $38,500,000 contract.