The Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Terrible, Successful Road Trip

Mar 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) draws a tripping penalty against Nashville Predators center Rasmus Asplund (71) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) draws a tripping penalty against Nashville Predators center Rasmus Asplund (71) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs went out on a ridiculously long road trip to start their season, and somehow won 70% of the points available to them.

The Toronto Maple Leafs played games against the Panthers, Lightning, Capitals, Stars and Predators.

They won 3 and lost 2 and one of them was in overtime, giving them seven of ten possible points.

While the results are the next-best thing to perfect (win 70% of your points all year and you’ll win the President’s Trophy as the NHL’s best team) the Leafs haven’t been playing very well, and process matters just as much, if not more,  than results do at this point.

It’s very good to get points while you work things out – but it won’t last, unless you actually do work those things out. (naturalstattrick.com)

The Toronto Maple Leafs Have a Terrible, Successful Trip

Last night’s game was extremely bad because Timothy Liljegren was injured in the second period.  He has been the Leafs best defenseman early on, and they cannot afford to lose him for any length of time.

There has been no announcement on whether or not he will be.

The Nashville game was one of the Leafs better games, I guess, but they took some really dumb penalties, Samsonov wasn’t that great, and they didn’t put the game away when they could have.

Starting David Kampf in overtime remains the most idiotic strategy I’ve ever seen a professional coach try multiple times.  It’s 3 vs 3 and there is too much open ice for any defensive player to have an affect.

The thing to do is play your best players and stop being cute about it.

It was also idiotic for Keefe to start Samsonov when Woll has been on fire.  You can put the loss of that extra point on him completely.

At times the Leafs seemed to dominate the game, and I’d be tempted to say that Sauros won the game for Nashville, but the stats tell me that the Predators actually had more dangerous scoring chances than the Leafs did.

The Leafs blue-line just bleeds dangerous chances and that is because they are horribly put together. What can you say about a game where the NHL’s oldest player is the best defenseman?

And I don’t mean just because he scored either.

Finally, and again, this is on the coach: Matthews and Jarankrok together stink.  This hasn’t worked for three games and it won’t work.  Playing Calle Jarkrok on the top line is stupid.

One thing that scares you though: when things work even though they shouldn’t, sometimes a false sense of security sets in.

Joseph Woll Has Stolen the Net. dark. Next

The Leafs got 70% of the points on a road trip and that is really good.  But there is a lot wrong with this team that their current record is hiding.