Toronto Maple Leafs Can’t Outscore Their Problems Every Night

Oct 14, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) celebrates with forwards Mitchell Marner (16) and Auston Matthews (34) and William Nylander (88) after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares (91) celebrates with forwards Mitchell Marner (16) and Auston Matthews (34) and William Nylander (88) after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs may have won in spectacular fashion on Monday night but they still have a ton of problems.

A 4-1 lead used to be a curse for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but that seems to be their favorite deficit, as they once again rallied to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime. The last time they trailed like this was Game 4 of the First Round last season, which many thought was a franchise changing win.

The Leafs would ultimately win that series (their first playoff round win in 19 years), but that was where the run ended. They lost in five games to the Florida Panthers in the Second Round and their season was over a few days later.

After pulling Ilya Samsonov and trailing 4-1 in the first period, I thought this game was over.

The fans booed the team off the ice at intermission and it felt like another one of those disappointing Monday night losses. However, things changed quick and all of a sudden the Leafs were right back in it.

The comeback was led by their newly formed top-line of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and Matthew Knies, who ended up with a combined four goals and 10 points on the night. Knies fit in beautifully on that line and it feels like they may have found their Michael Bunting replacement.

Although the top-line was buzzing and the Leafs won in overtime, I was left unsatisfied.

In a six-goal performance, Tyler Bertuzzi was once again left off the scoresheet. For whatever reason, he can’t seem to gel with anyone he plays with as the second-line finished with zero points in regulation.

The only point that the combination of William Nylander/John Tavares/Bertuzzi had was a Nylander assist in overtime, where Tavares and Bertuzzi weren’t even on the ice.

Toronto Maple Leafs Outscore Their Issues on Monday Night

Speaking over that overtime goal, a two-goal performance by Calle Jarnkrok was huge, as we haven’t seen much depth scoring as of late. The insertion of Nick Robertson definitely gave that third-line some juice, so there’s a lot to be happy about there, but that’s where it ends.

Ryan Reaves was benched in the second period and played just over four minutes of ice-time, which makes you question why he’s even in the line-up. Although you probably already were questioning it.

I think that decision showed you everything you need to know about Reaves and Toronto can’t afford to only play 11 forwards each night, so they should send him to the press box next game.

A 6-5 overtime win against a rival is nice, but allowing five goals is a huge issue, as the defensive problems continued. Besides Morgan Rielly, I don’t think the other five defenseman played too great and Samsonov’s play is troubling, as this is the second time this year that Tampa Bay has sent him to the bench in the first period.

The Leafs win showed you everything you need to know about this team. They have unbelievable skill in their top-six and the only way they win is if they outscore their defensive issues. It worked this time and resulted in a crazy exciting win on a Monday night but that’s not going to be the case in the playoffs.

Next. Robertson Called Up. dark

The playoffs are a long way from now but all that win showed me was that the Leafs need to upgrade their defense ASAP or they’re going to even struggle to get to the playoffs this year.