The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 on Thursday night snapping their six game losing streak. It was just the Leafs third regulation win in the past 17 games and their first regulation win on the road since October 12. It was also just the 6th time in 24 games where the Leafs scored the opening goal.

Barrie Proving His Worth

During the off-season the Leafs acquired Tyson Barrie and Alex Kerfoot for beloved long-time Leaf Nazem Kadri. When the trade initially happened, many fans were outraged claiming that Kadri was the heart and soul of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the past decade.

Barrie started off this season red hot as he picked up four assists in his first three games. However, after this promising start, Barrie went ice cold registering one assist in his next 18 games.

It’s no secret that Leafs fans seem to always have a scapegoat to blame for all the Leafs’ issues. With the departure of Jake Gardiner in the off-season, Leafs fans were looking at a new player to target and seemed like they were leaning towards Barrie.

Barrie has responded nicely to the criticism of his play these past few games, picking up points in each of his last three games. In his most recent game against the Coyotes, Barrie scored his first goal as a member of the Maple Leafs. Look for the back-to-back 55+ point defenseman to continue to produce as he has been recently inserted on the first powerplay unit along with Nylander, Matthews, Tavares and Rielly.

Steady Freddy Back On Track

After yet another miserable month of October for the Leafs’ starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen has really found his groove in the month of November. Andersen stopped 30 on 31 shots on Thursday night which equates to a .968 save percentage; his second highest save percentage of the season. The Coyotes lone goal came in the dying seconds of the game on Thursday night as Andersen was just 17 seconds away from earning his first shutout of the season.

The game could’ve been a lot different had Andersen not made some huge saves in the opening period. The Leafs were out-shot in the first period once again but Andersen held down the fort before the Leafs took over and dominated the rest of the game.

A Dream Start To His Dream Job

Sheldon Keefe, who was named the new head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday afternoon, was thrown into a disastrous situation. The Leafs had lost six straight games and were still without Mitch Marner who has been their leading point scorer for the past two seasons.

The players seemed to respond immensely well to the coaching change. The line juggling and structural change seemed to work as the Leafs easily played their best game in weeks. Keefe seemed to have instilled confidence back in the players and it looks as though the Leafs’ players are on board with the new gameplan of playing to their strengths with a high risk, high reward strategy intact. At just 39-years-old, Keefe was rewarded with his first win as an NHL head coach.

With the win on Thursday, the Leafs have now climbed back to a .500 record. The Leafs are set to take on Tyson Barrie’s old team and Nazem Kadri’s current team the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night. This should be interesting to watch.