The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off of a great 3-0 West Coast road trip, but I fear that this winning streak was pretty lite, while the losing they were coming off before the trip still looms large in the review mirror.
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat LA 3-0, but got hammered in the third, and had to rely on Martin Jones to lock down the victory. They then beat two loser teams that make the Senators look good.
It's a bit of an empty victory, if we're being honest. I remain concerned that this team's blue-line, goaltending and forward depth are, more or less, terrible.
Don't get me wrong - I want them to win, I always cheer for them, and with their core they can win a Stanley Cup if they get a hot goalie at the right time.
Right now, the Leafs remind me of the 2017-18 Washington Capitals who finally won their Stanely Cup after years of being an elite team. The thing is, they ironically won their Cup in the year in which they iced their worst team of the Ovechkin Era.
This year is easily the worst year of the Matthews Era, so far, and yet, for the most part, the Leafs are getting by. They are an auto-Cup Contender because of their five star players, but frankly, they aren't that good of a team right now.
They are 18th in xGoals across the NHL, and they have way too good of a record in one-goal games. They also have played in 15 overtime games out of 37. It doesn't take a big imagination to see that their record could be much worse than it is.
For tonight's game, the Leafs will once again start Martin Jones, and once again they will sit Nick Robertson.
These are huge mistakes. Robertson needs to play to develop, and he was fifth on the Leafs in points per minute at 5v5 the last time I checked. He does not deserve to be scratched.
As for Jones, yeah he's on fire, but Dennis Hildeby needs to play. It's worse for the Leafs to leave him sitting on the bench for two weeks than it is to risk losing a game. Keefe might as well let him play, but then again, I have given up on trying to understand what that guy is thinking on any given decision.
The Toronto Maple Leafs should celebrate the glorious signing of William Nylander with a beat-down of the NHL's worst team, but this is the Leafs we are talking about, so who knows what we're going to get?