The Toronto Maple Leafs remain the NHL’s hottest team.
After beating the New York Rangers convincingly, the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely destroyed the Pittsburgh Penguins and ex-GM Kyle Dubas on Saturday, posting a touchdown and playing – by far – their most impressive game of the season.
If there is one thing this team has failed at, it’s showing that they are a dominant team. Their nine regulation wins and incredibly high percentage of their games that go to overtime show this to be true.
Becoming a dominant force on a nightly basis is this team’s goal, and it might be something this roster can get to with some improvements, but for now, the Leafs appear to be an average to good team getting excellent results.
They are sixth by points-percentage overall, but only 19th by Expected Goals Percentage.
Their record in games where they go down by two goals is unsustainable, and frankly, insane.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Everything You Need to Know This Week
Last week, the Leafs had two wins, and two overtime losses. They scored a ton of goals doing it – seven against the Rangers, five against Columbus, and seven against Pittsburgh. Throw in the three they scored last Monday against the Islanders, and it was an incredible 22 goals over four games.
This makes the Leafs the 5th highest scoring team in hockey, but unfortunately, they are the 13th best at defense (going just by total goals for and against).
Since November 10th, the Toronto Maple Leafs have lost just one game in regulation. Everyone talks about their low regulation win total, but only the Boston Bruins have less regulation losses.
This is a good team. Their core is amazing, and if they get good goaltending they are unstoppable. Unfortunately their defense is brutal and the narrative that their depth defenseman are doing great is a huge misnomer and entirely untrue. (They are fine, but there is essentially only marginal between non-star players and players who could reasonably get called up to the NHL).
The Leafs blue-line sucks, has sucked all year and will continue to suck until their GM makes an addition or two.
Timothy Liljegren did return on Saturday, which is nice, but he’s not exactly an impact player, even if he’s a lot better than most of their defensemen. Ryan Reaves is out now, and you hate to say it, but that really improves the team. The bottom six looks almost excellent now, although I’m no fan of Max Domi at 3C due to his horrendous defense.
Auston Matthews appears to be back after missing Saturday’s game. Joseph Woll continues to be out with a high-ankle sprain.
The Toronto Maple leafs will play the Rangers, Blue Jackets and Sabres this week before a short Christmas Break. The Leafs need another good week because as good as they’ve been lately, they are still about the same distance from being out of the playoffs to winning the division.