Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs’ 4-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday at Honda Center:
Signing P-A Parenteau last summer sure looks like it was a great idea.
I’ve been saying this consistently – the 32-year-old Parenteau is turning into quite the addition to the Leafs this year. The veteran winger showed why again Wednesday, scoring his 10th and 11th goals of the season to give Toronto a 2-0 advantage by the middle of the second period. His speed and finish with the puck make him a great fit on the power play and on a line with Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk.
Signing Jake Gardiner to a long-term contract extension sure looks like it was a great idea.
Gardiner is deservedly gaining recognition as a top-level blueliner, and playing against his former organization Wednesday, the youngster was brilliant more than once, including a terrific zone exit with the puck that ended with Parenteau’s second marker of the evening. A darling of the advanced stats world, the 25-year-old Gardiner is averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time a night and still has growth in his game, but if he continues putting in perfor-mances like he did against Anaheim, Leafs brass will be more than pleased.
Jonathan Bernier is rolling.
Bernier’s struggles were well-documented earlier this season, but entering the game against Anaheim, the veteran netminder was on a two-game win streak and had won five of his previous seven games. He extended that streak to three by standing strong against a dangerous Ducks squad that fired a whopping 18 shots at him in the opening period and all 39 shots he saw during the night. The 27-year-old looks focused and determined to put his woes behind him, and now that he has two shutouts in his past eight games, Bernier must feel as if the bad times are disappearing in his rearview mirror.
Nazem Kadri is rolling right alongside Bernier.
Kadri scored at the 12:35 mark of the middle frame and was a threat to his opponents at virtually every turn. The 25-year-old cen-tre now has three goals and six points in six games, and he’s found a great linemate in Leo Komarov, Toronto’s 2016 NHL All-Star game representative, who made a tremendous pass to him before he beat Ducks goalie John Gibson for his eighth of the year. Kadri always is at his best when he plays with a calculated edge, and he had it in this game.
No intimidating these Leafs.
The game had a physical tone almost from the get-go, and as the visiting team’s lead increased, the Ducks’ frustration did as well, and Anaheim’s players took out some of them on the Leafs. However, Toronto wasn’t deterred by any of it, and rose to the challenge of maintaining their composure. Indeed, it was no coincidence that Anaheim gave the Buds six power plays while the Leafs only gave the Ducks two man-advantages. The Leafs couldn’t be goaded into taking penalties, which is another sign this team is disci-plined in more ways than one.