The Maple Leafs got to go home for the holidays on a winning note. Here are five takeaways from their win in Dallas.
Bernier shuts the door, Seguin dry
Had it not been for the mastery of Jonathan Bernier, we are likely talking about a different outcome. Bernier made several highlight reel saves including a couple from Tyler Seguin, who along with his teammates, were held scoreless. Seguin had six shots on goal, and his struggles recently against Toronto continue. Despite leading the league in goals, Seguin hasn’t scored against the Maple Leafs in 13 games. This includes the 2013 first round playoff series between Boston and Toronto. In that span, Seguin has no goals, three assists on 52 shots on goal. Shots continue to be a concern for Toronto. It was their ninth game this season allowing 40+ shots. Goaltending is the reason they are 6-3-0 in those games.
Kadri the man against Big D
Because of conference alignment, Nazem Kadri hasn’t played against the Dallas Stars often. But when he has, he hits the score sheet. Kadri had a goal and assist against the Stars on Tuesday. Kadri has scored points in all five meetings against Dallas, registering four goals and five assists for nine points. His new foond chemistry with James van Reimsdyk could create a spark offensively for both players.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and two assists for three points. It was his second three-point performance, which matched a career high he accomplished in 2011-12, his last season as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers. JVR and Cody Franson were the only skaters on the ice for all four Leafs goals tonight. The Maple Leafs shuffled up their lines to move James van Reimsdyk down to play alongside Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli. JVR proved to be the most versatile player on the ice, but helping out special teams with original linemates Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel.
Special Teams triumph
The Maple Leafs were a perfect 4/4 on the penalty-kill and 1/5 on the power-play. The Leafs took advantage of their superior special teams performance, compared to Dallas, which ranks in the bottom third in both departments.
Quick start set the tone despite late pressure
Kadri’s goal 55 seconds into the game started the Leafs on the right foot. The opening statement meant they weren’t chasing the game for very long. Despite pressure put forth by Dallas. Coming back from the holidays, emphasis will be put on limiting shots against. Including missed and blocked shots, Dallas fired 86 compared to just 46 from Toronto. That can’t continue if the Leafs are to maintain long term success.