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The Maple Leafs' best line against the Nashville Predators may shock you


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Mike Armenti
December 10, 2023  (11:30)
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The Toronto Maple Leafs turned in their best performance of the season in a decisive 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, giving the Preds absolutely nothing, limiting them to just 19 shots on the night.

Ilya Samsonov was brilliant in his return to action, stopping all 19 shots he faced for the 11th shutout of his young NHL career, playing in his first game since November 24th. The Leafs received goal support from the top of the lineup and from the bottom of the lineup and could have had 6 or 7 goals were it not for the exceptional play of Kevin Lankinen in the Preds' net.
Auston Matthews scored twice, David Kampf scored in back-to-back games and Noah Gregor sealed the deal with an excellent individual effort to put the game away late in the 3rd.
Throughout the year, the common trend has been that one of the team's top two lines have carried them to victory in the games they've won - whether it be the Matthews line or Tavares line. The team's third line of Nick Robertson, Max Domi and Calle Jarnkrok has been excellent of late, contributing a great deal of secondary scoring, but the one weak link in the chain has often been the team's porous 4th line. However, that wasn't the case on Saturday.
Surprisingly, the Leafs' 4th line was their top trio against the Preds, boasting a 98% expected goals for percentage, according to Natural Stat Trick.
The trio of Noah Gregor, David Kampf and Ryan Reaves has certainly experienced their lows this year, at one point being on the ice for at least 1 or 2 goals each and every game. Reaves had an especially tough time on that line, going -11 through his first 14 games this season. Last night, however, Reaves played his 2nd highest total for ice time since November 24th, playing a hair under 9 minutes last night, a full 3 minutes more than he played against Boston on December 2nd.
If this is a turning point for that 4th line, the Leafs are going to quickly put the league on notice that they're a 4-lines deep force to be reckoned with. Pretty much every Stanley Cup winner over the past decade has been a team who is 4 lines deep, so if the Leafs are finally reaching a point where they're able to count on all 4 lines, their chances of going on a run this year will be better than they've been in ages.
POLL
10 DECEMBRE   |   579 ANSWERS
The Maple Leafs' best line against the Nashville Predators may shock you

Do you think the Leafs' 4th line of Gregor/Kampf/Reaves is good enough to help them win in the playoffs?

Yes, they just needed to build chemistry17029.4 %
No, they need an upgrade18331.6 %
I prefer McMann on that line over Reaves22639 %
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