Mitch Marner’s Hot Streak, Robust Patchwork Defense & More: Monday Morning Leafs Report

It’s been over a month since Mitch Marner was left off the scoresheet.

The 25-year-old has scored one point in 16 straight games. Maple is one in every Leafs game he’s played in San Jose, dating back to October 27th.

Three more games on points and margins could make franchise history.

Longest point streak in maple leaf

rank player points streak


Darryl Sittler



Eddie Olchik



Mitch Marner



babe die



John Anderson


“For me, obviously he found his game,” Sheldon Keef said after Marner scored and set up another goal in the Leafs’ healthy win over the Penguins on Saturday. And he was the one who made the difference for us.”

It took some time for Marner to really hit the ground running this season. The pointstreak started when he was still kind of in a brawl. His game has been going well, especially in the last few weeks.The most interesting thing about it is who No By his side — Ouston Matthews.

Surprisingly, Marner has been more productive this season no MatthewsHe has played some of his best hockey all season with John Tavares and has spent the past eight games with the Leafs captain.

per 60 minutes Matthews and Vivares and













shoot attempt



They looked like the duo that shredded leagues together years ago.

Too strong to call it shocking that Marner has done his best work without Matthews lately? I do not know well. Marner and Matthews were literally his most productive 5-on-5 pairing in the last two seasons. As a combo, Connor he was more productive than McDavid and Leon Drysitel.

Marner’s success without Matthews isn’t a bad thing. Not at all. The spicy Marner and Tavares combo makes more awkward decisions night after night for the enemy head coach. Will you use your best defensive man against this two of him or back-to-back rocket he Richard winner Matthews?

On Saturday, it was Matthews who benefited from the intense play of Marner and Tavares: his most frequent opponents in the back end were the Penguins’ third, fourth and sixth defense. He took advantage and scored his three points 5-for-5.

What’s particularly notable about Marner’s recent play at Tavares is how well he shoots pucks and tries to score with Tavares. Earlier this year at Matthews he had 4.4 shots per 60 minutes, but at Tavares he got closer to 7 shots per 60 minutes. (Conversely, Tavares has seen a drop in shot percentage with Marner.)

Marner had six shots on seven attempts in a 5-for-5 win at Pittsburgh, opening the scoring with an easy deke and dunk from Casey Dessmith. (He finished with 8 shots in 12 attempts overall.)

Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Yarunkrok Street. (Charles LeClair/USA Today)

Marner has looked like one of the best playmakers in the world in recent weeks, fueled by a return to high-end puck thief.

Grand Theft Manor.

Marner is at his best when he’s aiming for the puck. He’s good at being loud like that.

He set two goals last week by doing just that.

This is an underrated part of Marner’s game that constantly fuels his attacks (usually with the help of fellow thief Matthews). Marner has been ranked the league’s best player in the takeout division for the past two seasons.

NHL Takeaway Leader (20-22)

Of course, the point is poorly kept statistics.

Marner, for example, was not credited with a takeaway for stripping the puck from Chris Letang before setting up Pontus Holmberg over the weekend. However, he was credited for the assist.

The current points streak was packed with nine consecutive games with assists, the fourth-longest in Leafs history. (It has since come to an end.)

Marner owns five of the ten longest such streaks by Leaf. He already ranks eighth all-time among the Leafs with 338 assists. He’ll pass Tim Horton with 12 more innings to go.

“I’m just going out and buzzing and trying to do me,” Marner said of his recent play.

five points

1. Patchwork D, pt. 1: Played without Morgan Riley, Jake Mazin and TJ Brody, one of the striking elements of the Leafs’ defense’s last three games was the performances of two young Swedes, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren.

Sandin and Liljegren both set career-best records against the Penguins. Sandin led the team in his 23rd minute and Liljegren his 22nd.

“I thought they were great today,” Keef said later.

As the Leafs’ No. 2 pair, the numbers of the two of them together over the last three games are impressive.

  • Shoots: 44-31
  • Shots: 27-13
  • Goals: 5-1
  • Expected Goal: 75%

“It’s easier to relax,” Sandin told reporters in Pittsburgh when asked about playing more time. Feel confident in ice time. “

The sample size is still small, but the signs of growth are encouraging.

2. Patchwork D, pt. 2: Another element that has worked (so far) is Mark Giordano and Justin Hall’s de facto number 1 combo.

These two are chewing the hardest minutes of all injuries on the back end.

Consider this: Giordano and Hall have tied for 26 draws in the defensive zone in their last three games. Sandin and Liljegren are runners-up in his 10th place. difficult About Giordano and Hall.

Surprisingly, Giordano and Hall have never scored, despite deployments and top-line assignments that included main courses for Sidney Crosby on Saturday and Kirill Kaprizov on Friday.

That’s right: in the past three games, the Leafs have outscored the team 2-0 on the ice, going 5-5 against Giordano and Hall. They are a plus 10 in the shot department.

That’s impressive from a defenseman who is the oldest skater in the league and has had ups and downs in Toronto, including a bumpy start this fall.

Mark Giordano. (Charles LeClair/USA Today)

Keef has a somewhat interesting decision to make in the near future when Brody returns from an oblique injury. is to replace

3. Old man: How unusual is it for a player Giordano’s age to eat regularly for 20 minutes every night?

Pretty rare in the modern NHL.

Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the defensemen who have recorded 20 minutes or more on at least 10 occasions in a post-39 season are: Niklas Lidström, Zdeno Chara, Rob Blake, Mathieu Schneider, Chris Chelios, Eric Weinrich and Sami. Salo, Dan Boyle, Sergei Gonchar, Teppo Numinen. Giordano of course.

4. Shot block: Do you feel like the Leafs are blocking more shots this season? Yes. Are they actually blocking more shots? And yes — more.

Last season: 11.7 shot blocks per 60 minutes (29th overall)

This season: 14.7 shot blocks per 60 minutes (13th overall)

Who’s blocking all those shots? Giordano (49) and Hall (47) are leading, both around the top 10 overall in the league this season.

Hall especially strengthens the blocking game. He blocked 4.5 per 60 minutes last season. Currently, that number is 5.8 per 60 so far this season.

In fact, every returning member of the defense is jumping before more shots.

shot blocks per 60 minutes

5. Top 6: Keef’s decision to split Marner and Matthews started on November 12, but it worked out thanks in large part to the glorious reconnection between Marner and Tavares.

Matthews is starting to gain some traction by playing alongside William Nylander again, but having Nylander by his side, rather than Marner, will definitely change his game.

Notably, Matthews’ opportunity to shoot the puck drop is in line with the more shot-satisfied Nylander. At Nylander he landed just 9 per 60 minutes, while at Marner he landed 13 per 60 minutes. Meanwhile, his goal percentage and points percentage are both up with his new sidekick.

Matthews capitalized on Michael Bunting’s tenacious effort, scoring 5-5 for the second time in his final four games against the Penguins. He also set up 5-5 goals for Marner and Nylander.


• Marner leads the Leafs in goals (6), assists (9) and points (15) 5-for-5.

• Nylander posted a career-best 18% this season, despite Tavares leading the team with 12 goals.

• Keef on newcomer Pontus Holmberg: “I can’t believe this guy is doing anything wrong.”

• The Leafs’ leading hitter in the back end (and still is): Sandin ranks among the NHL leaders with 58 hits this season with D’s.

• Matt Murray gave up nearly four fewer goals than expected in six starts for the Leafs.

• Only the notoriously stingy Hurricanes have a higher 5-5 defensive shot rate than the Leafs in November.

what i think what i think

1. The Leafs have had a more impressive November (9-1-3) this year than last November (12-2-0). why? Muzzin he hasn’t played a single game. Brody has appeared in five of his games and has missed his final eight through injury. Ilya Samsonov is out of the last 11. Murray has only started five games. Erik Källgren has started the most games for the team this month. Meanwhile, the Leafs’ best player is just starting to cook. Especially the defensive effort stands out now. Keef and the coaching staff deserve a nod, as do their claims to the Next Man Up mentality in the face of all those injuries.

2. More starline shift please. Starline means a unit (temporary unit) featuring his three: Matthews, Marner, Nylander, and Tavares. Keef will occasionally drop them, usually after a penalty kill. More is better (especially if things are getting old).

Keef actually sent all four out together for the second period offensive zone draw against the Islanders. Final result: his 5-5 goal for Matthews.

Smash that glass at least once or twice in the game to put pressure on your opponent’s defense.

3. Very curious if Calle Järnkrok can stick with Tavares and Marner for now. Keef has exhausted all other options, including Alex Carfoot, Nick Robertson and Dennis Malgin. Järnkrok brings his chops with speed and defensiveness. Can he bring enough enthusiasm offensively? Does it matter if the other two are rolling? If he’s not the answer, the spot needs to be upgraded before the trading deadline.

Yarung Krok Street. (Charles LeClair/USA Today)

point of curiosity

Can the Leafs hunt down the Bruins for the Atlantic crown?

Boston has 36 points in 21 games (a ridiculous record of 18-3). The Leafs have scored up to 31 points in his 23 games.

Is the division already lost? Can the Leafs somehow close the gap?

Clearly, we still have plenty of time. The two teams, in addition he will face off in three games. His next match is in mid-January. The Leafs had their first meeting on November 5th and played arguably their best game of the season.

A second spot in the Atlantic could mean another first-round matchup against Tampa.

Winning a division is a big, big, big problem.

(Top photo by Mitch Marner: Kevin Sousa / NHLI via Getty Images)

Statistics and research courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, Evolving Hockey, Stat Head, Hockey Reference

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