Well, after the horrible sight that was Thursday’s game against the St. Louis Blues, we somehow watched the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely dominate the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
How did they do it? After all, this was a team that two days earlier had failed to mount a defense against a team that gave them more than a few chances to win. It seems impossible that a team could play two vastly different games in such a short time span.
Even if it’s regarded that the game against the Los Angeles Kings this past Wednesday was the best the Leafs have played all season, the Leafs found a way to make the Blackhawks look average.
Now, they must find a way to bring that type of game and bring it out on a more consistent basis. And by a more consistent basis, I mean every game. The question is, why did the Leafs win last night’s game they way did?
The answer is quite simple. The Leafs got contributions from up and down the lineup.
Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel, Peter Holland, Nikolai Kulemin and Jerry D’Amigo. Those were the goal-scorers last night. Kessel and Lupul are expected to put the puck in the net. Holland will one day be expected to score on a regular basis. Kulemin, D’Amigo and other players down the depth chart are players that the Leafs need to score every other couple of games in order for the Leafs to be successful.
Sure the Leafs have been decimated by injuries, suspensions and any other thing that can be used as an excuse for poor play. All that doesn’t matter. If the Leafs entire lineup,no matter who the lineup is comprised of, plays a complete game like they did last night, not much can stop them.
The Maple Leafs have the potential to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Their month of October proved that. They’ve shown that they can beat any team they face. October might have been filled with mistakes, but the Leafs found a way to win on most nights. If the Leafs continue to play the way they did against the Blackhawks, not many teams will be able to stand up to them.
The Leafs remain in the second wild-card spot for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Playing like they did last night, beating the best team in the NHL, let alone the vastly superior Western Conference, will give them a boost that could very well put them back in the top three of the Atlantic Division.
Last night, the Leafs played a game like they haven’t had a had in a while. It was games like last night that led to the Leafs success in the month of October. If they play like that more often, there’s no reason that the months ahead of the Leafs can be just as, if not more successful than October.