Toronto Maple Leafs 6 at Colorado Avalanche 2 – 2022-12-31 recap

Just a fantastic hockey game to end 2022. The Avs haven’t looked great this season but it felt like they brought their A-game against the Leafs, with their stars dominating for extended stretches.

The one issue I had was that I didn’t think Cale Makar played all that great. I’ve loved watching Makar his whole career up until now: we kept close tabs on him in his draft year (before eventually realizing that there was no chance he’d fall to us). I loved watching him break in as a rookie during the playoffs, and then dominating last season. I don’t think there’s ever been a player in my lifetime quite like him–most puck-moving defencemen have obvious defensive warts and give up quite a bit the other way. Makar defends so well at high speed and can effortlessly shut down rushes.

In this game, Rantanen, MacKinnon, and Toews all did great. Makar was a little more hectic. He wasn’t busting pucks up the ice with his usual efficiency and flair. He wasn’t bad, but he was just OK. Since I’m not able to watch as much non-Leafs/Canucks hockey as I expected to be able to, I’d rather my favourite players played well in the games they play against the two teams I follow.

This really was a great hockey game, though. It looked like the Leafs were going to pull away early. Colorado really made a push early in third, and the Leafs closed the gap late, rather than by locking down defensively, but by trading chances. The third line of Kerfoot-Kampf-Engvall were skating particularly well.

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