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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Golden Knights -11/06/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 4-3 shootout win over the Las Vegas Golden Knights Monday at Air Canada Centre:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Kadri's PPG opens the scoring

VGK@TOR: Kadri buries power-play goal off rebound

Nazem Kadri collects a rebound in front of the net and knocks it home to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead on the power play in the 1st period

  • 01:03 •

1. Leafs' offence powers up early - including two from Kadri - to stake out 3-1 lead. Toronto was aiming to halt a two-game losing streak Monday, and centre Nazem Kadri gave them a solid start toward that goal by scoring the first and final goal of the first period as the Buds took a 3-1 lead into the second frame.

Kadri's first marker - his seventh of the year - came on the power play at 4:14 of the first. Las Vegas rapidly answered back when defenseman Erik Haula's shot ricocheted off winger James Neal's skate and past goalie Frederik Andersen to even the score at the 4:52 mark. But the Leafs' offence went into high gear some four-and-a-half minutes later: centre Auston Matthews carried the puck into the Golden Knights' offensive zone and made a terrific spinning play before shooting at netminder Maxime Lagace, and winger James van Riemsdyk knocked in the rebound for his sixth of the season at 9:31.

Five-and-a-half minutes after that, Kadri notched his second of the night after a terrific cross-ice, pinpoint pass from forward Patrick Marleau, and Toronto led by a pair heading into the first intermission. It was a solid period on offence, and although the Leafs gave Vegas a few too many scoring opportunities and were outshot by the Golden Knights 10-9, their confidence was clearly at a great level to start the evening.

2. Toronto's discipline lapses in second half of second period, Knights score power play marker late in frame. The Leafs had stayed out of the penalty box for more than the first half of the game, but in the final eight minutes of the second period, they were called for three consecutive penalties - including two that gave Las Vegas a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:12. And on the third minor, Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith registered his fifth of the year with 1:10 left before the second intermission to cut Toronto's lead to a single goal to begin the final regulation period.

The Buds have had discipline issues in games they've lost, and Reilly's goal - and really, the trio of consecutive trips to the box - was a reminder of how they can't keep leaning on special teams to preserve a lead. Indeed, considering the two teams each had just six shots apiece in the second, those power plays allowed Vegas to get back within game-tying distance.

3. Knights tie it up early in third. The Buds broke their streak of consecutive penalties 1:24 into the third when Brayden McNabb was called for a check to the head of Marleau, but the Leafs were unable to convert their fourth man advantage of the night. And at the 6:16 mark, the visitors tied the score on defenceman Deryk Engelland's shot from inside the blueline that beat Andersen high on his far side for Engelland's second goal of the year.

Toronto had no shortage of energy in the third, outshooting Vegas 5-2 in the first half of the frame. But the Golden Knights haven't earned their 9-4-0 season record entering Monday's action by accident - they're a hardworking group with resilience and skill, and Engelland's marker underscored their determination to compete until the final buzzer.

Video: VGK@TOR: Andersen turns away snap shot in big spot

4. Andersen makes outstanding glove stop in crunch time to help send game to extra time. The Leafs outshot Vegas 8-7 in the final regulation period, but with 1:03 left, Haula had a glorious chance to win the game when he had the puck all alone at point blank range in front of Andersen, but Toronto's goalie robbed him with an outstanding glove save to keep the score tied. Andersen stopped 20 of 23 shots the Golden Knights fired at him in three periods, but he'd need a little more in extra time to lock up the victory for the Buds.

5. After no goal in overtime, Marner scores lone shootout goal, Andersen stands strong to snap losing streak. The overtime period was wild and wooly - a little wilder and woolier than Leafs head coach Mike Babcock would've preferred - with Las Vegas outshooting Toronto 5-2. But Andersen made the stops when he had to, and when the game went to a shootout, he stopped all three Golden Knights shooters he faced.

That performance, coupled with winger Mitch Marner's shootout marker - the only goal scored in the process - gave the Leafs their ninth win of the year and improved their record to 9-7-0. It was Toronto's first shootout game of the season, and given they had a less-than impressive 1-8 mark in the shootout last season, it was a great way to build esteem in the dressing room as the team now focuses on a Wednesday showdown against Minnesota at ACC.

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