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Maple Leafs' loss to Blues in October is one Dubas remembers fondly, with an asterisk

Maple Leafs' Rasmus Sandin and Blues' Ivan Barbashev battle for the puck during a game in October. (GETTY IMAGES)
Maple Leafs' Rasmus Sandin and Blues' Ivan Barbashev battle for the puck during a game in October. (GETTY IMAGES)

Kyle Dubas might not look back on another loss as fondly.

For the Maple Leafs general manager, the Leafs’ fall at the hands of the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 7, by a score of 3-2, was the game in which the club has come as closest to the team he imagined.

“A championship team that was at full strength at that time,” Dubas said of the Blues. “I know we didn’t win the game, but I think in terms of the way we played, stuck with the way we want to play, stuck with the system, that was probably the best one where I felt you get affirmation that okay, this is the way we are built.

“We know there are going to be times when it doesn’t look great because we’re still evolving and growing. But we can play against a team that is built that way and play that way for 60 minutes and have a night like that. It would be the one game where it all came together best.”

That night at Scotiabank Arena, the Leafs were ahead by one goal late in the second period when Brayden Schenn tied it. Alex Pietrangelo scored the winner in the third period.

During five-on-five play, the Leafs strongly outplayed the Blues with a 49-31 advantage in attempts. None of the five goals that night came on special teams. And the Leafs, at five on five, had 16 high-danger scoring chances to the Blues’ four.

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