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Splitting up Matthews and Marner is already paying off for Sheldon Keefe in a big way


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Ryan Smitheram
November 16, 2022  (12:19)
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Struggling to get consistent 5-on-5 play out of the ''Core 4'', Sheldon Keefe has flipped Mitch Marner and William Nylander the past couple of games and has been reaping the rewards so far. Last night, Tavares, Marner, Nylander and Matthews combined for 7 points in a 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.

The Matthews-Marner and Tavares-Nylander combinations have been outscored a combined 16-12 by opposition through the first stretch of the season. However, the Matthews-Nylander and Tavares-Marner duos are outscoring opposition 6-1 over the past two games. When playing together at 5-on-5 through 200+ minutes this season, Marner and Matthews have been outscored 9-8 and are even (6-6) in high danger goals. Without each other, Matthews is outscoring opponents 3-1 and Marner is outscoring opponents 4-0. In the 43 minutes that Marner has spent playing with Tavares at 5-on-5 though, they are outscoring opponents 4-0 and have generated 12 high danger scoring chances to the opponents' 8.
When Nylander has played with Tavares at 5-on-5 this season (143 minutes), they struggle to generate offense, being outscored 7-4 and while playing with Matthews at 5-on-5 they are only outscoring opponents 2-1, but Nylander himself is outscoring opponents 5-0 when he's not playing with Tavares.
Last night was a clear indication that the new-old pairings are working and it is because Matthews and Nylander prefer to play off the rush and generate rush chances, using their speed. Marner and Tavares depend more on an East and West style of play in the offensive zone, using their playmaking and vision to slow the game down and find open teammates. Both combinations can certainly control a cycle in the offensive zone, but they prefer to enter the zone in two completely different ways. As long as the production continues, expect the Matthews-Nylander and Marner-Tavares pairings to continue.
Stats courtesy of naturalstattrick.com*
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16 NOVEMBRE   |   185 ANSWERS
Splitting up Matthews and Marner is already paying off for Sheldon Keefe in a big way

Should the Leafs continue to roll Matthews-Nylander and Tavares-Marner?

Yes16689.7 %
No, go back to last year's lines1910.3 %
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