There’s no query the Leafs wouldn’t be the place they’re with out him. His sport rounded into type in November when he went 9-2-1 with a 2.14 goals-against common and .938 save proportion.
He hardly ever offers up a nasty objective, or one which deflates the staff.
And along with his teammates habitually getting off to sluggish begins, Andersen is often the most effective Leaf within the first interval.
There was a palpable sense of rivalry on Wednesday on the ACC.
In spite of everything, the Leafs had crushed Calgary 5 instances in a row on the Air Canada Centre and got here into the sport holding a 59-58-12 (with 4 extra time losses) all-time in opposition to Calgary.
As properly, the Leafs and Flames have a wealthy historical past of personnel transfers, be it gamers like Doug Gilmour, Dion Phaneuf or Matt Stajan switching sweaters in franchise-defining trades, or common managers Cliff Fletcher and Brian Burke switching government suites.
And there’s an enormous GTA contingent of gamers on Calgary’s roster, with the likes of Sam Bennett, Dougie Hamilton, Sean Monahan and Mark Giordano answerable for about 150 household and buddies within the stands.
And perhaps to rub slightly salt within the wound, the Maple Leafs feted the Gray Cup champion Toronto Argonauts at centre ice earlier than the sport. The Argos, in fact, beat the Calgary Stampeders.
Then there was the entire Auston Matthews-Matthew Tkachuk factor. Each younger stars are from Scottsdale, Ariz., — Tkachuk born there, Matthews raised there. They’re buddies, maturing as hockey gamers with the U.S. Nationwide Improvement Program and representing their nation internationally on the junior stage.
Now each are within the NHL, with Matthews rising because the Leafs chief.
Tkachuk, too, is a particular expertise for Calgary, a tough and tumble participant who can rating and get beneath the opponent’s pores and skin. However he doesn’t mess with Matthews.
“He doesn’t prefer to lose,” Matthews stated of Tkachuk. “Within the instances we’ve performed them, he hasn’t gone at me. He’s good at it. He’s actually good at getting beneath guys’ pores and skin. However he’s by no means given me an excessive amount of crap after the whistle, or the stuff he likes to throw at guys.”
The Flames additionally got here in wanting revenge as a result of the Leafs beat them in Calgary final week, Four-1. That was a part of a swoon through which Calgary had misplaced 5 of their previous seven.
“We’re not feeling in addition to we expect we will,” Giordano stated earlier than the sport. “We’re nonetheless in that spot the place we’re inside putting distance (of a playoff spot). Now we have to get on a roll the place we will be ok with ourselves.”
And identical to they may have imagined, the Flames took a 1-Zero lead within the first interval. It was Giordano with a protracted wrist shot throughout an influence play that bought issues rolling in a tight-checking first body. It was his fourth objective of the season, at 10:37.
The Flames outshot Toronto 14-12, who bought off to a sluggish begin earlier than rebounding with a extra strong ultimate half of the interval.
Rielly bought the one objective of the second interval, which appeared as near man-to-man protection as is seen within the NHL. It was Rielly’s fourth objective of the season. He intercepted a Flames’ clearing try on the boards, and his wrist shot eluded Smithat 18:47.
NOTES: Attendance was introduced at 19,217 . . . Patrick Marleau’s profession numbers in opposition to Calgary dwarf these of another present Maple Leaf. He has performed 78 video games (Roman Polak is second at 27), put up 53 factors (Jake Gardiner is second with six), scored 22 objectives (Nazem Kadri, three), and has 22 assists (Gardiner, 5) . . . Coming into the sport, the Leafs ranked second within the NHL in first-period objectives (32) and led the NHL in third-period objectives (41) . . . Toronto additionally led the NHL in objectives scored at 5-on-5 with 67 . . . The Flames scratched Jaromir Jagr due to a decrease physique harm.