After a couple of tough losses this past weekend against Chicago and Pittsburgh, the Leafs were looking to rebound with a victory on home ice. They were set to do battle with the Florida Panthers. The rivalry between these two teams is forever growing each time they face off against each other. Thanks in large part to the extraordinary performance from Joseph Woll, the Leafs managed to skate away with the 2-1 shootout victory.
First Star – Joseph Woll
Woll was simply fantastic from start to finish in this one. He was hands down the biggest reason the Leafs managed to come away with the victory. He faced a total of 39 shots through 65 minutes of action, and he turned aside 38 of them giving him a 0.974 save percentage on the night; simply outstanding from the rookie netminder. There were several parts of the game where Florida really applied the pressure in the Leafs zone, but full credit to Woll, who stood tall and gave his team a fighting chance to come away with the two points last night. With each passing game, Woll is proving to both Leafs Nation and the Leafs organization that he is the real deal and the Leafs have an elite goaltender in the making on their hands. The fan base just needs to remember he is incredibly raw at the NHL level. Be patient with him and show him support; he is the guy, in my opinion.
Second Star – Anthony Stolarz
Whenever you think of who will be between the pipes for the Florida Panthers on any given night, nine times out of ten, you think of Sergei Bobrovsky. Well, last night, it was Anthony Stolarz who got the call as the Panthers were playing the second half of a back-to-back. To his credit, Stolarz was fantastic last night. He gave the Panthers everything he had and gave them a very good chance to skate away with two points. Unfortunately, he was outdueled by Joseph Woll at the other end of the rink. Stolarz faced a total of 32 shots, and he turned aside 31 of them, giving him a 0.969 save percentage on the night. Take a bow, Anthony.
Third Star – Noah Gregor
Gregor was the exact spark that the Leafs needed last night. His speed is always on full display every single game, but last night, he got a couple extra minutes of ice time, and it showed. He was noticeable every single shift he was on the ice. Especially on the shift in the second period when he used his incredible speed to send himself in all alone on a breakaway where he made no mistake. He kept it simple, nothing fancy; he simply rifled a shot at the top corner to tie the game for the blue and white. Gregor played a total of 11:29 last night, he scored a goal, was +1, fired three shots on goal, blocked a shot, threw a hit, and he also scored the winning goal in the shootout. In my opinion, Gregor continues to prove he deserves to be played more than seven to nine minutes a night, and if he can build off of his performance in this one, I think he will get rewarded.
The Leafs are back in action tomorrow night as they are set to host the Seattle Kraken at Scotiabank Arena!