No Need for Toronto Maple Leafs (Or Their Fans) to Overreact After Game One Loss

Despite losing the first game of the playoff series against the Boston Bruins, things are not as bleak as many people think for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game One / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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On Saturday night the Toronto Maple Leafs fell in Game 1 of their first round series against the Boston Bruins.

Immediately after the loss, the internet blew up with the Toronto Maple Leafs being a failure yet again in the playoffs, but fans need to hit a hard stop to those thoughts as the team are not in as bad of a situation as many are believing.

In Saturday night's game the Maple Leafs were often the better team, however, small mistakes led to the defeat and has put the team down in the series.

Though they lost, there were lots of positives.

No Need for Toronto Maple Leafs (Or Their Fans) to Overreact After Game One Loss

To the start the game the Leafs were all over the Bruins who needed goalie Jeremy Swayman to make a remarkable save on Nicholas Robertson just 90 seconds into the contest to keep the game tied.

The Maple Leafs attack continued for nearly two and a half minutes to start the game until the team or should I say Ryan Reaves made a horrendous play. Defenseman Joel Edmundson made the right decision by pinching down on the boards to keep the attack alive in the Bruins zone and at this point with Reaves becoming "F3" he needs to cover defensively or at least make a play on the puck, but he did neither.

Instead of the right player the team's enforcer decided to hit a player that no longer was a threat (due to Edmundson's pinch) and as such failed to take his defensive responsibilities, which led to a Bruins breakout. The outcome was a two on one with John Beecher burying his first ever playoff goal.

Despite falling behind 1-0, Toronto was able to limit the attack from the Bruins for the remainder of the period and early in the second period Auston Matthews was a fraction of an inch from tying the game when he shot the puck off the post with Swayman scrambling out of the net. A minute later, what looked like nerves, Matthew Knies whiffed on a breakout pass which led to an extended attack in the Leafs zone resulting in another Bruins goal.

The Leafs than had a steady flow of players heading the penalty box with five separate powerplays going to the Bruins throughout the game. When looking at the penalties, three were from careless control of their sticks, one was an undisciplined (Max Domi) and one was a brutal call by an official (Jake McCabe). The special teams became a factor as Boston was able to capitalize on two of their five powerplays.

Mistakes That Can Easily Be Fixed

The Toronto Maple Leafs made several mistakes throughout the game; along with the Reaves play and the careless penalties, the team struggled with controlling the puck through the neutral zone and some of their younger players (Robertson and Knies) failed multiple times to get the puck out of the zone.

The positive with these mistakes are that they are easily correctable. If William Nylander is able to get back into the game Monday night, that will solve a lot of the neutral zone troubles, while also (hopefully) putting Reaves into the press box.

The careless control of the sticks will be better and the younger players should be able to settle in now that Game 1 is over.

Despite all these mistakes in Game 1, the Maple Leafs played a decent game and even outshot the Bruins by wide margin (36-24), though much of that was in garbage time after the game was decided.

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Still, it's not too much to think that with a slightly better goalending performance, more discipline on the physical side, and the addition of William Nylander that the Leafs will recover from their game one loss.