Toronto Maple Leafs: One Weekend a Microcosm of the Season

Mar 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) and forward Mitchell Marner (16) and forward William Nylander (88) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) celebrate a goal by forward John Tavares (91) during the second period against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) and forward Mitchell Marner (16) and forward William Nylander (88) and defenseman Morgan Rielly (44) celebrate a goal by forward John Tavares (91) during the second period against the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the first side eliminated from playoff contention this weekend. Then followed up by defeating the league’s second-placed side.

It really is the Toronto Maple Leafs season in a nutshell. Granted, the defeat to Montreal was a game that saw them massively out-shoot their opponent.

However, all said and done, the end result wasn’t there. In the win/loss column it goes down as a loss to the bottom-placed side.

To then put five goals on Florida the night after, it really highlights how the Leafs season has been going, including a possible inability to raise their game against lesser sides.

Jow Does This Reflect on the Toronto Maple Leafs Season?

Plain and simple, a loss one night followed by a win against big guns the next night, reflects the Toronto Maple Leafs season.

Now perhaps lower sides are raising their games when they face the Leafs. That is no excuse. The Leafs need to show up every night and ensure they elevate their game regardless of opponent.

You can see it with goaltenders. It’s not all that shocking that the Maple Leafs seem to routinely be out-duelled by opposing goaltenders.

Clearly, a goalie sees it as a feather in their cap to limit the likes of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares to just a goal or two.

It feels like in net, they’re certainly raising their game to prevent being run over by one of the league’s hottest offences.

Likewise, the weekend’s back-to-back is almost akin to the ongoing issue with blown leads. The Leafs consistently are able to score early and potentially score a few before allowing their opponent back into the game.

The weekend’s results almost reflect that. Not necessarily in the blown leads (though there is that too), but in the need for a complete performance.

Against the Canadiens, it was a few blown defensive plays that saw the team lose. Those lapses in concentration reflect the season in a nutshell.  The Leafs seem to have concentration lapses, across the season, that result in lowly sides like the Canadiens or Buffalo Sabres getting the better of them.

Every team can expect these but it always feels amplified as the Leafs seem to turn it on against the big guns, making the losses to lower sides feel all the more frustrating.  Perhaps the positive to draw from the microcosm of the teams’ season, that was this weekend, is that the special teams continued to get the job done at an impressive rate.

Giving up just 1 goal despite allowing their opposition a combined 6 penalties, whilst netting 3 goals against their 4 power play opportunities. Those numbers are serving them well in the regular season.

However, we all know the officials like to limit the whistles in the playoffs, so it’s still an area of concern, even if it is currently one of the side’s greatest strengths.

A strange weekend back-to-back no doubt, but one that the Leafs can build upon. A win over the Canadiens was expected and didn’t happen. A win over the Panthers was no guarantee, but did.

Next. The 4th Line Needs Some Identity. dark

It’s just the way hockey is sometimes. Leafs fans though I’m sure hope the roller coaster stops with the peaks and troughs and levels out though.