Toronto Maple Leafs: Marner Strong Again in Loss

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 20: Curtis McElhinney
COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 20: Curtis McElhinney /

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Blue Jackets Wednesday night.

Coming off one of their most exciting games of the year against the Hurricanes Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs went down by a score of 4-2. It was the Leafs sixth game in a row without Auston Matthews as he recovers from an injury.

The Leafs looked good in their loss Wednesday, out-shooting their opponent 41-37, with 60% of the shot-attempts.  This included a dominant third period where the Leafs had possession for 70% of the period.  On a couple of occasions they left starting goaltender, Curtis McElhinney, hanging out to dry and this was one of the deciding factors in the loss.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The good? Mitch Marner built off his previous performance the night before where he scored four points. There were no four points for him in this game, but boy did he have the chances and when the game neared its closing minutes, he scored his fourth of the season.  He nearly scored again seconds later and overall the Leafs got a ridiculous 80% of the shot attempts when he was on the ice.

Jake Gardiner and Connor Carrick also deserve a mention, putting up a 70% Corsi in nine minutes paired together tonight.  Gardiner had a goal and an assist for good measure.

More from Editor In Leaf

The bad was the Leafs defensive game. As I stated earlier, I thought they needed to tighten up and not allow so many bad breaks on McElhinney as they left him screaming for help more than just once. Roman Polak was the Leafs worst defenseman out their tonight and I say that with total respect for Polak. He puts his heart on his sleeve every night and tries to do what he can and more for this club however, I think he looked sluggish and did too many things wrong.

The ugly, oh boy. Yesterday I wrote how the Leafs special teams were godly in their tilt with the Hurricanes. I was praising the special teams units as if they were godly figures and well, now I must swallow my words. The power-play didn’t look good tonight, that’s what I’ll say. The Blue Jackets goalie, Joonas Korpisalo shut the Leafs down all night and especially while on their multiple power-play chances, but also they couldn’t generate much. The penalty kill looked off as well, allowing the Blue Jackets to score on one of their two chances, but also looking off and not how they did a night ago.

Let’s Look Forward

The Maple Leafs played well tonight, but have some things they should focus on going forward. They didn’t convert on the many chances they did have and couldn’t find the back of the net all that often.

Next: How Further Expansion Might Affect the Leafs

The Leafs next game comes Saturday night as they take on original six rival, the New York Rangers.

Stats from