Nylander rises to the challenge as the Leafs avoid getting goalie’d by the Predators

The Predators had been riding a hot streak, largely due to the impressive goaltending of Juuse Saros, but as good as Saros was, the Matthews-less Leafs managed to inch their way to victory courtesy of a late 3rd period powerplay.

The Leafs were dominant over the Predators throughout the game, out-chancing them consistently from the onset of the game. Though while the chances heavily favoured the Leafs, the Predators made up for it when it came to quality, and the Preds enjoyed 85% HDCF% in the second period at 5v5 and Murray limited Nashville to just one goal in that frame. While the Leafs were the more aggressive team and had the xGF% advantage in the first and overall throughout the game 5v5, the Preds did push back with greater xGF in both the second and third periods.

Most of Nashville’s chances came while they were sitting right on top of Matt Murray, and it’s a credit to Murray’s performance that he limited Nashville to just one goal.
At the other end the Leafs also had a presence down low, but had a spike compared to recent games where they were using the point shot a bit more. I think the variety of shooting locales can somewhat be attributed to the absence of Auston Matthews and the usual “pass it to Auston” mentality.
The Nylander at center experiment
I am somewhat delighted to announce that Toronto didn’t sink into the earth as a result of Nylander taking on more responsibility. He led the Leafs forwards in 5v5 ice time at 15:01, and 69.70 CF%, 69.93 xG%, both unquestionably nice numbers. He didn’t do as well when it came to faceoffs as he won just one of the six draws he took, but that seems like something that could be fixed by having him spend half an hour of practice hanging out at the faceoff dot with Manny Malhotra.
Nylander walking away from the game with two assists, playing the second most ice time out of forwards (penalty kill brought Marner up ahead of Willy) is very encouraging and if Auston isn’t good to go for Thursday night we’ll see if Nylander can show that he can be a potential top six cent …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Pre-Series Notes: New Blue Jays make home debuts, Canadian Cal Quantrill returns to face his childhood team

Coming off two days rest and riding a two game losing streak into tonight, it feels like the Blue Jays haven’t won a game in forever. That said, they still hold the top spot in the American League wild card race with a record of 60-50.
Meanwhile the Guardians have won five in a row to take the lead in the AL Central. The tightest division race in the Majors, the Central still has three teams battling for the division crown. The Minnesota Twins trail the Guardians by just 1.5 games and the Chicago White Sox are 3.5 back.
The Jays will be looking for revenge after losing two of three in Cleveland back in May.
Things Worth Mentioning…
A pair of Blue Jays will be making their home debut tonight.

Whit Merrifield (2B) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (CF) will make their #BlueJays home debut starting tonight. pic.twitter.com/NVdbg7HgdB
— Ben Wagner (@benwag247) August 12, 2022

George Springer is still on IL so Bradley Jr. will start in center and Merrifield will make his first start at second for the Jays. One of the best defensive CF’s of the last decade Bradley Jr. provides plus defence and speed with a below average bat. He did however hit two home runs in his last series against the Blue Jays while he was with the Red Sox. In 92 games this year he is slashing .210/.257/.321 with three home runs.
One of the favourites for the AL Rookie of the Year, Steven Kwan is on a tear recently.

.@CleGuardians OF Steven Kwan has now hit safely in 26 of the last 29 games
Tale of the tape:
.358 (42 hits) 9 doubles 1 triple 2 HR 8 RBI 12 multi-hit games; 5 three-hit games pic.twitter.com/wJJZW94DEx
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) August 11, 2022

In his debut season, Kwan it batting .300 …

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Author: Scott Ony / Blue Jays Nation