What has become a habit are the slow starts and playing catch up while playing games at home. The Maple Leafs came out flat again, the aggressive forecheck and high octane speed that we have become used to from this team in the last month just wasn’t there yet again.
Similar to the game against the Sabres, the Leafs had the game dictated to them. If it weren’t for Frederik Andersen making key saves in the first period to keep his team in the game we would have looked at a bigger drumming than the final 5-2 score.
The Leafs only two goals were manufactured by the only real instances of aggressive and sustained offence. To that point, Zach Hyman played one hell of a great game! This kid is a dog on a bone, especially on his short-handed goal where he fought off Glendenning then cut to the net to place the puck top shelf.
It is this workman attitude he brings each game that has earned him compliments from the coaches and teammates alike. He definitely represents all the qualities we as fans grow to love in players, similarly to the way fans took to Komarov, Tucker and Clarke. There are no off shifts for Hyman, and the results and the importance of him on the line with Matthews and Brown can’t be understated.
Where do the Maple Leafs go from here? Tomorrow night’s game has huge playoff implications if the Maple Leafs can win and bank the two points. I am sure after the results and effort put forth yesterday that coach Babcock will have the players ready to go when the Maple Leafs take to the ice against the Senators on home ice at the ACC.
If nothing else, a better effort resembling what we saw before these last two games against the Sabres and Rangers is necessary if the Leafs want to pick up the important two points up for grabs tomorrow night against the Senators.