To the surprise of none of their fans, the Toronto Maple Leafs blew a huge lead and lost to one of the NHL’s worst teams.
For the second time, that is. The Toronto Maple Leafs also lost to the Blackhawks earlier in the year, and can now boast to their friends about taking only 1 of four points against the worst roster this side of San Jose.
The Leafs played one great period, then decided that was all they needed to do, before finding out
(too late I might add) that it was, in fact, not.
It was the third two-goal (or more) lead that the Leafs have blown in their last six games.
To No One’s Surprise, Toronto Maple Leafs Blow 2 Goal Lead, Lose
The Leafs could easily have won this game, had their top line showed up at all. And in overtime, Nylander almost extended his streak with an insane three-post shot that somehow looked like the bad guy’s final failed attempt at locking down the game in a Disney movie. It just does not seem realistic that that happened, but it did.
Max Domi continued to be kind of awesome (hey I didn’t think he would be, but I’ll take it) and the Leafs welcomed Connor Timmins back to the lineup with tremendously bad results. (The Lagesson / Timmins pairing did not hold up well against the vaunted Chicago Attack).
The Leafs could also have won this game if they defended well or got good goaltending, but they did not do or get those things.
The coach could have left his previously winning lineup in tact, but he elected to play Ryan Reaves, and start Samsonov over Woll, for reasons no one will ever know.
Reaves played well and scored even, which is great stuff. The better he plays, the more justification the Leafs will have for making horrible decisions!
For me, the best part of this game was that Nick Robertson scored again, and looked absolutely amazing for most of the night. I love watching him play, and as much I was against Domi and don’t like how he makes Kampf into the world’s most overpaid 4th liner (not his fault, just dumb roster construction) they have been so fun to watch over the last little while.
And while you could take a positive stance on this team based on their record, the fact is that out of their last seven games five of them have seen them blow a multi-goal lead or come back from one. Those are five games you’ll almost always lose.
And if you put that with their previous four game losing streak that they ended when they came from three down against Tampa, it’s easy to see how they could be in a situation right now where they’d lost nine of eleven games, playing no differently.
When a team has two MVP candidates on it (as the Leafs do right now) but are barely in a playoff spot a quarter way through a season in which they were expected to challenge for league and division titles, as well as the Stanley Cup, things look bleak. (stats nhl.com, naturalstattrick.com).
The Leafs are 19th in the NHL in Expected Goals Percentage, and 25th in Regulation Wins.
Those are two of the most predictive stats that there are, and they do not bode well for the Leafs.
They are 15th in goal differential, and have lost their overall 5v5 minutes to date.
The Toronto Maple Leafs can’ t just sit around and wait for their team to get better, because it’s not happening short of a player from the Marlies just showing up and blowing the doors off.