Maple Leafs: Week 3 In Review

This week has not been a kind one to the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s the annual west coast swing and it did not bode well for the boys in the blue and white. It’s time to dissect what unfolded.

Game 7: Ironman Phil. Maple Leafs vs Golden Knights. 3-1 Loss

Old habits reared there ugly head once again. Toronto came out flat and we’re out classed by Las Vegas in this game. Unlike the Arizona game, Vegas is a good team. Head coach was quoted after the game “We just got beat by a team that was better than us tonight in all facets.”. The Maple Leafs were awful in the first five minutes of each of the periods on this night and to boot were absolutely stonewalled by Logan Thompson as he stopped 22 of 23 shots he faced. Former Maple Leaf Phil Kessel tied the Ironman streak suiting up for his 989th consecutive game tying Keith Yandle who had set the record last season. Kessel nearly scored his 400th career goal but after video review the goal was called back. The bright spot for Toronto was once again Ilya Samsonov. He was the only reason the Leafs were hanging around in this game.

Game 8: Shark Bait. Maple Leafs vs Sharks. 4-3 OT Loss

Toronto came out flat, this is Not a recording. Logan Couture makes them pay only 26 seconds into the game to put the Sharks up 1-0. Kampf ended up tying it up a few minutes later however, that was short lived. as Logan Couture scored his second of the game on a 5 on 3 power play and Timo Meier added 42 seconds. Matthews and Marner both notch goals to tie it up which causes the game to go into overtime. However, 57 seconds into OT Erik Karlsson to ends it putting one past Erik Kallgren. Once again Toronto fails to one of the bottom dwellers of the league.

Game 9: Lacking in L.A. Maple Leafs vs Kings. 4-2 Loss

The way this game went for the Maple Leafs you would think this was an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show as it was giveaways a plenty on this night. The D corps once again looked uncomfortable and out of sorts. However the Captain, John Tavares gets the buds on the board first as he potted his 4th of the season on a Toronto powerplay at 10:45 of the first period. The score remained this way until the second when the wheels completely fall off LA score three straight goals including two on the powerplay to go up 3-1. Engvall scored late in the second to draw within one goal but that’s as close as they got as Kevin Fiala added one in the third to put round out the scoring.

Game 10: Duck off. Maple Leafs vs Ducks. 4-3 OT Loss

The Ducks are currently the worst team in the league, and this is the last game of the west coast trip. As much of a catastrophe this trip has been this is the game that Toronto could at least end the trip on a positive note, Not the case. The Leafs got on the board first thanks to Auston Matthews scoring his third of the year on the powerplay to go up 1-0. However midway through the first Jakob Silfverberg ties it up. Denis Malgin gets a nice pass from Nylander to get a one on one break out and is able to deke out John Gibson to put Toronto back up. Calle Jarnkrok adds a short handed goal 45 seconds into the third. Kerfoot gets award a penalty shot for the second time this season but yet again he can find a way to capitalize on the opportunity. This was the beginning of the end for the buds as once again bad habits and turn overs galore lead to the Ducks rallying to tie it up and almost won it regulation but the refs save the day for the Leafs. However fate was on the Ducks side as Trevor Zegras nets the game winning goal at the 2:15 mark of overtime to complete the comeback.

The Wrap up

The Maple Leafs faltered large on this road trip. There is not much positive that can be said. The goaltending can not be fault for the lack of wins. Their team defence was horrendous. This trip in theory should have been at minimum 3-1 for Toronto instead of 0-2-2. Now it’s time to put it behind them and reset as they return home for a date against the Flyers on Wednesday. One thing is certain though, changes need to be made and it’s not with the coaching staff or management. Under Sheldon Keefe the Maple Leafs are 120-54-21 through 195 games. He has the best winning percentage in the history of the storied franchise. The problem lays with the personnel that dawn the sweaters night in and night out, this group have had far too many opportunities to prove otherwise and both the management group and coaching staff have taken bullets in defending them only for the players to not hold up their end of the deal. It is only ten games into the season but the narrative that has lingered around this group like a foul odor needs to been neutralized sooner than later. The talent is there to be the one of the best teams in the league and they have shown that at times but they need to consistently to show it. The big issue I see is the lack of passion and emotion. This market is tough especially given the all the factors that goes into playing in the centre of the hockey universe. Many of the members of this roster have spoken of the honour it is to be wearing the blue and white, it is time to show it.