The Toronto Maple Leafs are on a quest for redemption.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be playing the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight for the second time this year, and they will be hoping for a much different result.
When the two teams met earlier this season, the Leafs were coming off of a few hard-luck losses against Ottawa, New York and San Jose where they would normally have won, but didn’t.
The Leafs dominated the Rangers, but even though the other two games weren’t perfect, they were games the Leafs would normally score their way to victory in. With frustration mounting, the Leafs came out flying vs the Penguins, and when the Penguins scored two goals in ten seconds, the Leafs were on a 12-2 run of shots.
The frustration bubbled over, and the Leafs got destroyed, hitting rock-bottom with a 7-1 loss.
What’s happened since has been remarkable, but also somewhat predictable. The Leafs were playing well, and they weren’t scoring. Since scoring is their best feature, it was only a matter of time before they started to win. What remains remarkable is that Auston Matthews only has 2 5v5 goals so far this year. When those goals start to rain down, the Leafs will continue to be unstoppable.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Penguins
The Penguins current record is 6-6-4, which makes sense because Sidney Crosby has only played in four games, and Evengi Malkin has played in zero.
The Penguins are coming off of a 6-0 beatdown of the Canadiens, while the Leafs have won five in a row and ten of eleven.
The Toronto Maple Leafs play against the New York Islanders tomorrow (again with travel on a back-to-back) and it appears they will use Jack Campbell tonight and Joseph Woll tomorrow. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they go with Campbell in both games.
I just can’t see them having too much confidence in Woll or Hutchinson.
Then again, the team is playing well, and really, who cares if you lose the second game of a back-to-back, especially when you ‘ve got to travel?
The Leafs could wake up tomorrow in first place in the entire NHL. For that to happen, the Leafs would have to beat the Penguins, and then the Kings would need to beat the Hurricanes, while the Panthers would have to go down to the Wild, and the Capitals to the Sharks.
Even if that doesn’t happen, the fact that it’s even a possibility after the last game to the Penguins should be cause for celebration.