If Freddie Andersen Is Indeed Back, The Toronto Maple Leafs are Contenders

Toronto Maple Leafs - Frederik Andersen (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - Frederik Andersen (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the L.A Kings last night in a shootout.

Game time was 10:30 and it may  have been the single most boring game ever played, so if you were ever going to miss a game featuring your beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, it would be this one.

To be sure, there were some exciting plays, but you had to sit through a lot of boring hockey to get to them.  It was pretty bad, although the last five minutes were pretty intense, and Freddie Andersen was fantastic.

If games like the one where they lost to their own Zamboni Driver are a ten on the how much should you be upset about a loss scale, this one would be a negative 10.

The Leafs were the better team, Andersen got a shut-out, and they still lost.  What can you do? That’s hockey.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs L.A Kings

This is the type of game that is a good example of what sometimes is going to happen to any team who relies on offense to win hockey games.

The Leafs controlled 60% of the game, and got 60% of regular and high-danger scoring chances.

But in order to get six more chances than your opponent, you’ve got to take risks, and sometimes those risk result in the kind of give-aways you see on the high-light real, or in videos meant to show why the Leafs are “bad defensively.”

This means when you don’t score, you’re going to look bad when you lose.

Like it or not, a team that loses despite throwing checks and getting in fights appears to be doing better than one who can’t score and loses on a bad breakaway.  The result is the same, but we’ve been trained for 100 years of hockey to respect one of these losing teams and not the other.

Last night, the Freddie Andersen played amazing, but L.A had several breakaways and two-on-ones that could easily have resulted in a goal through no fault of Mr. Andersen.

Had that happened, we’d probably be complaining a lot about this game,  even though after a shaky first the Toronto Maple Leafs were rock solid.

This game and the Pittsburgh game give Andersen two shut-outs in four starts. Considering his failure to match the highs of previous seasons has been one of the Leafs biggest problems this year, this is an excellent development.

Andersen appears to be heating up, and if he can put together a stretch of games that rivals the goalies from Boston or Tampa, the Toronto Maple Leafs will start to look like the contender their stats with a healthy lineup say they should be.

Next. The Problem With the Way the Leafs Play. dark

If this is the beginning of a resurgence by Freddie Andersen, then the Leafs are back to being a real threat to win the cup.  Once they get healthy, if they have a hot goalie they’ll be impossible to stop.