The Toronto Maple Leafs are currently playing with fire.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, you’ve likely noticed that every game seems to end the same way lately. While a correct answer would be that it ends in a win, what I mean is that every game seems to conclude in a tie after regulation.
Through 21 games, Toronto has participated in 12 one-goal games. The team has secured eight wins in those one-goal games, with seven of those wins coming in overtime or shootout situations. So, they’ve been winning, but it’s much closer than it should be.
Winning is obviously the number-one objective, so you can’t be upset with wins, but this 2023-24 version of the Leafs is unfortunately starting to remind me of the 2022 Minnesota Vikings.
I know it’s a different sport, but the Vikings went 11-0 in one-score games, finishing the season with a 13-4 record. They won the NFC North and were rewarded with a home playoff game as a result.
Toronto Maple Leafs Are Playing With Fire
Based on their record, they were the No. 3 seed in the NFC and got to play the No. 6 seed New York Giants, who finished the season with a 9-7-1 record, barely making the playoffs. However, despite having the advantage, the Vikings lost to the Giants at home, and their season was over.
You might think that one-score games could be a good thing for a team, as you could argue that they know how to win tight games or persevere in adverse situations. In reality, all it meant was that they don’t know how to blow out teams and put the hammer down.
This is currently what the Leafs are going through, and it’s scary because the narrative can flip at any time.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are continuing to blow third-period leads, allowing their opponent to get back into the game before finding a way to win in overtime or shootout. As we’ve continued to mention, it’s great that they’re winning these games, but what if they suddenly start losing that extra point?
The Leafs are only three points up on a playoff spot right now. So, if this team continues to play tight games but can’t find a way to win in overtime or shootout, they’ll be in trouble.
The Leafs top four has combined for 52 percent of the team’s points thus far, so they’ve been contributing at a great pace. However, the bottom six needs to be better. They need to find more depth scoring and also need solid defensive play if they have any chance in the playoffs.
At this current rate, Toronto is probably going to make the playoffs. However, if they’re anything like the Vikings of last season, they’re going to get embarrassed in the first round of the playoffs because they can never find a way to blow out their opponent, despite their high-end offensive skill.