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Five Takeaways - Leafs vs. Canadiens - 11/18/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens Saturday at Bell Centre:

by Adam Proteau Proteautype /

1. Leafs start slow, but Andersen continues strong play in scoreless first frame. Toronto goalie Frederik Andersen was coming off his second shutout of the season in Thursday's 1-0 overtime win over New Jersey, and his strong play continued Saturday. The Leafs began the night being outshot by the Habs - Montreal had 16 shots in the first period to the Buds' seven - and Andersen turned all 26 Canadiens shots aside through the first two periods to give his team a chance to be opportunistic again.

Toronto wasn't able to get a goal in the first 20 minutes of action, but Andersen's stellar showing set the stage for his team's offensive outburst in the next two frames.

2. Two-goal burst in 37-second span of the second period includes Hainsey's first goal as a Leaf. Blueliner Ron Hainsey is depended on for his penalty-killing and all-around defensive skills, but in his first 20 games as a Leaf, he's also amassed nine assists, nearly matching his overall total of 13 helpers in 72 games last season. And at the 12:07 mark of the second period, Hainsey beat Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren for his first goal with Toronto to put the visitors ahead 1-0. The goal was also Hainsey's 50th career marker and 263rd point at the NHL level, and it came in his 928th career regular-season game.

Thirty-seven seconds later, centre Nazem Kadri netted his 10th goal of the season to double the Leafs' lead and please the Buds fans who made the pilgrimage to Bell Centre. Toronto would hold that lead through the second period and put immense pressure on Montreal to begin the third.

3. Brown puts Leafs in commanding lead early in third as Toronto acclimates to new lines. Leafs head coach Mike Babcock made some notable changes to his forward lines Saturday, and one of those changes put centre Auston Matthews (who was making his return to action after four games on the sidelines with an upper-body injury) in the middle of wingers Mitch Marner and Matt Martin. The other new lines featured centre Tyler Bozak with wingers Dominic Moore and James van Riemsdyk, Kadri with wingers Leo Komarov and William Nylander, and centre Patrick Marleau with wingers Zach Hyman and Connor Brown.

The Hyman-Marleau-Brown line did some additional damage on offence just 25 minutes into the third period, as Brown scored his eighth of the year (with Hyman earning the secondary assist) to make it 3-0 in the Leafs' favour.

4. Toronto extends advantage on van Riemsdyk, Matthews goals in 44-second span of third. The Leafs' confidence with the puck steadily increased as the game continued, and it peaked toward the midway point of the third when winger James van Riemsdyk and Matthews scored in a 44-second span (at the 8:07 and 8:51 marks) to increase Toronto's lead to 5-0. The goals were respectively the 10th and 11th of the year for van Riemsdyk and Matthews, and Matthews' goal resulted in Antti Niemi replacing Lindgren in net for the Habs.

Montreal has struggled of late - this defeat was their third in a row - and once the Leafs were able to knock the wind out of them with two rapid-strike offensive bursts, they didn't have the ability to claw back in the final half of the third.

5. Matthews scores second of the night, Andersen records second straight shutout as Leafs match NHL's longest win streak of the season.
Matthews registered his second goal of the evening with 4:33 left in regulation - with Marner adding his second assist on a Matthews goal in this game - to underscore Toronto's offensive prowess and make it 6-0. And Andersen prevented Montreal from scoring on any of their seven shots in the frame (and any of their 33 shots in total) to record his second consecutive shutout and third shutout of the season. Andersen also added his first assist of the year (a secondary helper on Kadri's goal) and led the Leafs to their sixth win in a row, tying the New York Rangers' mark for the longest win streak in the league this season.

The Buds have a day off Sunday before getting back to Air Canada Centre Monday to take on the Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes have the fewest wins in the NHL this year, but they've won two in a row - both on the road - and Toronto will need a similarly savvy, disciplined game to extend their streak to seven games.

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