The Toronto Maple Leafs deserved better last night after a pair of games where they got exactly what they deserved.
After choking on a couple of multi-goal leads against the Islanders and Avalanche, the Toronto Maple Leafs did also blow a lead in this game, but overall they played much better and were the team that deserved to win.
Ilya Samsonov deserved better. I wouldn't have started him, because I thought it was a high-risk move with almost no upside, which it was, but he did alright.
Three goals on 24 shots isn't great, but it's also fine. He made a couple big saves, and one game-saver just before Detroit scored anyways. You cannot blame him for the loss.
Maple Leafs Juggle Lines, Deserve Win, Go Down on a Coaching Error
Sheldon Keefe seems more and more like he'll be the one who pays for the horrible job that Brad Treliving has done with this roster, and while that does kind of suck, it's obvious that the Leafs could use a new voice.
Unfortunately, Brad Treliving isn't likely to make a good choice here, and will most likely recycle someone else's trash rather than use the Toronto Maple Leafs vast resources to find the best available minor league coach with new ideas.
Keefe was at fault for last night's game because how in the hell do you put your fourth line on the ice, after sitting them for most of the period, at the end of the game, with the game on the line?
In a must-win game, at home, against the team that is about to catch you?
Otherwise, I liked the new-look lines. I mean, I didn't love them, but whatever, shake-ups are fun.
But if you're going to shake things up, at least be smart about it. TJ Brodie is done. He should never be leading the team in 5v5 icetime at this junction of his career. (stats from naturalstattrick.com).
Also, I can understand breaking up Matthews and Marner, but playing Marner for only 12 minuts 5v5 is just dumb.
And the fourth line sucks. David Kampf shouldn't be on this team, and Noah Gregor shouldn't even be in the NHL.
So I guess it was a game with some good and some bad. The Toronto Maple Leafs didn't destroy the Red Wings and get screwed out of a sure-thing victory or anything, but they did play well enough to win, and given Samsonov's season, it would have been nice to see it.
Tampa and Detroit are right on the Leafs heels, and they still don't really have a goalie. Martin Jones is due for some major regression and the schedule is about to get extremely tough.