Ranking the Best Highlights for the Toronto Maple Leafs so Far in 2014-15
Phil Kessel has played some of the best offensive hockey of his career since October, and the team, as a whole, is playing well in all three zones.
There has been a lot for Leafs fans to cheer about. Let's rank the best highlights in 2014-15.
All stats can be found on NHL.com unless noted otherwise.
5. Leafs Destroy the Buffalo Sabres 4-0
This Oct. 28 game was a complete whitewashing by the Leafs. Yes, it was against the Buffalo Sabres. But good teams have to dominate teams that they should beat.
The Leafs did this back in October, and it was a humiliating defeat for the Sabres.
Eight Leafs figured into the scoring in the 4-0 victory. The Leafs gave up just 10 shots in a display of domination both territorially and defensively. There are nights when NHL teams register 10 shots in the first five minutes of a game.
Jonathan Bernier earned the shutout in what will likely remain the quietest night of work he will ever have in the NHL.
4. Leafs Upset the Chicago Blackhawks
The Leafs were coming off a solid road win in Columbus against the Blue Jackets. There were a lot of built-in excuses to just roll over and take the loss in the Windy City the next night.
That didn't happen. The Leafs weathered 47 shots and eked out a 3-2 win on Nov. 1. The Blackhawks managed two power-play goals, but Toronto didn't yield a five-on-five marker.
The Leafs allowed just one point between the feared trio of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane.
The Maple Leafs were full value for the win, and it is an early highlight from the 2014-15 season.
3. Leo Komarov Dominates the New York Rangers in 5-4 Win
The Leafs gave up the first goal of the game on the New York Rangers' first shot, but the team rallied from there.
Feisty Leo Komarov played a great game in scoring the game-winning goal and setting up a short-handed marker. The goal was his first of the season.
Komarov has played very well in his return to the Leafs. The team has three legitimate attacking lines, and Komarov plays as well as anyone on the roster away from the puck.
It wasn't quite single-handed, but Komarov was decisive in this Leafs victory at the Air Canada Centre in early November.
2. Daniel Winnik Plays Big Against the Columbus Blue Jackets
Like Komarov, Daniel Winnik was brought in to bolster the Leafs' bottom six in an effort to balance out the attack.
Winnik was howling on Halloween night as he played his best hockey of this campaign. Winnik managed three points in a 4-1 defeat of the Blue Jackets.
He had three shots that night and registered two hits. He was a two-way force for the entire game.
If Winnik continues to have nights like that in 2014-15, expect at least one playoff round for the Leafs.
1. Leafs Crush the Boston Bruins at the ACC
The Leafs played their most complete game in the past two seasons—if not longer—this past Wednesday night. The team came out flying and dominated the overmatched Boston Bruins in a 6-1 defeat at the ACC.
Kessel was nearly unstoppable and could have had at least a hat trick. He scored two goals in a great performance. Bernier was nearly as good as Kessel in thwarting the Boston offense for most of the night.
The Bruins are managing some key injuries to players like Zdeno Chara, but the club had been winning regularly coming into the game.
If the Leafs continue to play this kind of hockey, they will win much more than they lose as the season progresses.
This quality effort was easily the best moment in the 2014-15 season for the surging Leafs.