The Leafs did the unthinkable and absolutely wrecked the St Lous Blues. It was their first win against the Stanley Cup champs in St Louis since I was in short pants. But make no mistake about it, Frederik Andersen stole Toronto these two points. I hate being that guy. The guy who gives you the big “yeah, but ___” after a win. But in this case, its extremely necessary.

Within the opening bell of the first round, St Louis almost got a knockout. They came at Freddy with 3x Grade A scoring chances, only to be turned away each time by the Leafs MVP. He had an amazing game, and the score was not as lopsided as the 5-2 final suggests. Throw in a couple of goal posts that were hit by the Blues, and this could have been a completely different hockey game. Yesterday I wrote about the glaring need for the Leafs to make a decision on their season. This win, as enjoyable as it was for me, does not change the club’s current need for swift and decisive measures immediately.

I’d love to take this opportunity to nominate Zach Hyman as honorary mayor of Toronto. This guy is such a workhorse! Not only did he score the opening goal for the Leafs, he followed it up with a shorty. I don’t often agree with Mike Babcock, but “Hyman’s good, eh?” is his best quote during his time as Toronto bench boss.

And Auston Matthews finally broke out of his slump! The trash Sportsnet tandem of Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson really played down how nice his first goal was. Matthews used the defenceman as a screen, then shot it between both he and Binnington’s legs. His all world shot is incredible. Hughson immediately chaulked it up to St Lous goaltender Jordan Binnington playing poorly, but Dominek Hasek on steroids wasn’t saving that beauty snipe. Jim Hughson has to go. The only guy who can single handily make a 5-1 Leafs lead miserable.

I especially liked John Tavares’ work down low in the offensive zone last night. He was pulling some serious JT-stickhandling-in-a-phone-booth type of antics again. He is such an amazing player to watch when he is having a dominant game. Although he did not crush the scoresheet, he was noticeably good. And speaking of noticeably good….

PIERRE ENGVALL IS GOD! That guy flies. I’m not sure if he is always like that, or he just has those “Im in the NHL and want to stay here” rookie legs, but he was very noticeable. Eye-test status: Passed. He very well may have skated Frederik Gauthier out of a job last night. He was that good.

The baby soft Leafs broke their streak of no fighting majors by Travis Dermott getting pumped by Alex Pieterangelo. He failed to register a single blow, but damned if he didn’t eat some for the team. Its a start, right? The Leafs need some players to start doing that more often. But actually tossing a punch would be preferred though.

The resurrection of Jason Spezza is a sight to behold, and a testament to how brutal of a coach Babcock was. Spezza blasted a point shot clean passed Binnington. He looks pretty good for a guy making league minimum. Great way to answer the bell after partially costing the Leafs at least a point vs Colorado. Nobody will remember it in a week. The NHL is a real “what have you done lately for me?” kind of league.

But at the end of the day, the amount of premium scoring chances the Leafs gave up, coupled with some massive amounts of possession in the offensive zone for STL, must be a cause of alarm for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. I sincerely hope he is seeing what I’m seeing. Cody Ceci is not a good defenceman. They need a true shutdown guy. The Leafs cannot keep relying on Frederik Anderson to play like Ginger Jesus every night. Its unsustainable.

But 2 points is 2 points, so lets take’em and run like hell!

Nicky Pizazz
@nickypizazz

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