Toronto Maple Leafs: It Shouldn’t Be Possible to Play This Badly and Win

Dec 4, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe looks on during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe looks on during the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs record after six games is 4-2, which is pretty good.

Unfortunately, the Toronto Maple Leafs do not in any way deserve such a record, so there a bunch of things to work out.

Last night’s game was a lucky break, but Sheldon Keefe obviously won’t be too happy with how his team played.

The reason? They played like crap and only won the game due to Joseph Woll’s incredible performance.  One that included 13 saves on Alex Ovechkin, including a penalty shot.

Other than that, the Leafs were terrible.  In fact, “terrible” might be a compliment to their performance.

Toronto Maple Leafs Win But Keefe Is Probably Not Happy

That said, at least they are getting results while they figure out how to be a team again after changing about half their roster in the last six months. (stats naturalstattrick.com).

Though, even saying that, it must be noted that this team just doesn’t fit together because it is badly assembled.  The fourth line is horrible because of Reaves, which means Kampf has to be on the third line to be effective, but that isn’t ideal because he’s so bad offensively.  The defense is just a flat-out joke.

But when you can score your way out of problems and you have a hot goalie, you can hide a lot of warts.  The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t dumb and their management will likely figure this out, but it sure is frustrating to watch exactly what I said would happen happen.

It should have been obvious to anyone capable of getting a job in the NHL,  before the season started,  that Klingberg, Domi, Reaves and Kampf were bad singings.

You know it wasn’t a good game when Auston Matthews doesn’t get a single 5v5 shot, and Noah Gregor is second on the team with two.

Max Domi was the only player on the team who finished with a positive 5v5 expected goals rating last night. The  Leafs were absolutely destroyed by every 5v5 metric.  Only the power-play and the goalie were anything approaching acceptable.

Holmberg, Gregor and Reaves were 11% expected goals or worse.  That is pathetic. If the fourth line continues to get dominated every single game, it will cost the team several points over 82 games.  That will cost them the division and their best shot at a reasonable path through the playoffs.

Ryan Reaves needs to be cut.  He is not an NHL player.  He may actually be the worst player the Toronto Maple Leafs have ever dressed.

The Leafs have some things to work out – especially their blue-line –  but for now at least they’re getting points while they learn that maybe I would have been a better choice than Brad Treliving this off-season.

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That was one of the worst games you could play and still win.  Joseph Woll should have been given the 1st, second and third stars of the game.