Leafs love February

TORONTO – To say the Toronto Maple Leafs are hot, is like saying Ghost Peppers are “kinda spicy”. February was very kind to the Leafs, but the fire started in January with a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, Jan 28th. They picked another point on the 30th with an OT loss versus the Oilers.

Then came a very busy February when they took 19 of a possible 24 points into March 1st, which they also won 3-0 against the Oilers. All three Leaf goalies have been great throughout.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were still without goalie Frederik Anderson in the lineup when the Leafs went up against the Oilers of Edmonton, Sunday afternoon. It was a battle of first versus second in the North Division and in the end, the Leafs opened more distance between the two in the North Division rivalry.

Jack Campbell got the call to duty in the Leafs net and turned in a hard-earned, 30 save, 4-0 shutout win. In fact, the Leafs have been hot as a pistol in February with nine wins and two losses.

Saturday night’s game was a fast-moving and close-checking game with neither side giving the other very little time with the puck making for a fast game.

William Nylander continued his good fortune in front of the net by scoring Toronto’s first goal after netting the tying and the winning OT goal the night before.

Nylander nestled one just inside the stick-side post assisted by Mitch Marner, to open the scoring at 14:13 of the first period. Marner added one of his own with a powerplay goal at 15:50 from John Tavaris and Joe Thornton, who was iffy to start the game after a lower-body injury.

Around halfway into the second, Leaf defenceman Jimmy Vesey dove headlong to poke a loose puck in his own zone up to Vesey who relayed to a speeding Jason Spezza who made it a 3-0 game.

Campbell’s shutout was nearly lost later in the frame when he was helped out by the crossbar, but the shutout remained still intact.

At 13:34 of the third, Jack Hyman scored his fifth of the season from Pierre Engvall and Jake Muzzin with a rocket wrist shot to the top glove-side, for the 4-0 final, and Campbell’s third shut out of the season.

The win puts the Leafs firmly in first place in the North Division with 16 wins, four losses, and two OT losses for 34 points as of Monday morning. Edmonton falls to 14-9-0 for 28 points and a game in hand.

Toronto’s dominance of Edmonton continues Wednesday before opening a two-game stand against the Vancouver Canucks, then eastward to Winnipeg for three.

Over this past month and a few days, the Toronto Maple Leafs have outscored their opponents, 60-28.

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