After one of their most dominating and complete performances of the entire season, the Maple Leafs were looking to push Columbus to the brink of elimination on Thursday night.
In an encouraging trend, the Maple Leafs came ready to play from first puck drop. Most noticeable at the start was Auston Matthews, who over the span of his first shift had a zone entry, a shot that was blocked that resulted in a Cody Ceci chance in the slot, a beautiful back-check, and a blocked shot of his own. Throughout the series we’ve seen Matthews coming low in the defensive zone to support his defencemen and that first shift was a great illustration of his 200-foot play this postseason.
Speaking of coming to play, the fourth line of Kyle Clifford, Jason Spezza and Pierre Engvall created havoc and chances seemingly every time they hit the ice. On that line’s first shift of the game, Engvall carried the puck around the perimeter of the zone and threw it into the crease, where it bounced around and couldn’t be found by CBJ netminder Joonas Korpisalo. Clifford and Spezza were in the mix jamming away …
Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation