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California Dreamin; Leafs beat Ducks for Golden State sweep

November 29, 2021, 12:47 PM ET [543 Comments]
Mike Augello
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The Toronto Maple Leafs likely do not want November to end, as the club capped off the month with a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday.

Auston Matthews, Michael Bunting, Alex Kerfoot, William Nylander and Wayne Simmonds scored for Toronto and Jack Campbell made 39 saves for his 12th win of the season.

After going 4-4-1 in October, the Leafs have vaulted from the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division to top spot with a club-record 12 victories in the month, winning 14 of their last 16 games and seven straight on the road.

Toronto in the past have had impressive stretches similar to this, but they have been centered on their offense putting up unsustainable numbers or Frederik Andersen standing on his head. The Leafs current success has feared excellent team defense and special teams, balanced scoring and great goaltending from Campbell and Joseph Woll.

“It feels great. We’re rolling. It seems like we’re just getting consistent play out of all four lines. Our goaltending has been amazing,” Matthews said after the game. “I can’t say enough good things about (our goaltenders). I think just all throughout our lineup, we’re getting what we need from everybody and it’s been a full team effort every single night.”

The Leafs inserted Kyle Clifford into the lineup replacing Kirill Seymonov, and the veteran winger had four hits in 9:35 on the night. Travis Dermott replaced Timothy Liljegren after sitting for four games and played 16:49 partnered with Rasmus Sandin. After struggling early against the young and energetic Ducks, Toronto dominated the second period, taking a two-goal lead on Matthews 10th of the season and Bunting’s sixth of the year on a setup from Mitch Marner.

Kerfoot increased the lead to 13 seconds into the third, but Anaheim pelted Campbell with 20 shots in an attempt to get back into the game. Lindholm snapped the shutout bid midway through the final frame, but Nylander and Simmonds added late insurance to cap a perfect three-game sweep of California.

“I thought Anaheim was definitely the better team in that first period. We were able to regroup and find our game in the second.” Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said after the game. “Campbell was great all the way throughout. We gave up certainly a lot more volume than we would have liked, but I thought we defended pretty well tonight and kept things to the perimeter and limited rebound opportunities and such.

Just a good team effort all the way through. Great road trip for us, this is a challenging game here to get through at the end of a long road trip, but the guys dug in and got a win and let us go home with a nice clean trip here. Really proud of the group.”

The Leafs return home on Wednesday to play Colorado before heading back on the road next weekend.


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