Toronto Maple Leafs Weaknesses On Display In Loss to the Bruins

The Toronto Maple Leafs fell 4-1 at the hands of the Boston Bruins last night, that marks the Toronto Maple Leafs sixth straight loss to the Boston Bruins. The 4-1 score does not entirely reflect how that game went, but it also shined another light on the Toronto Maple Leafs issues that need to be addressed at the deadline.

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Last night the Toronto Maple Leafs came out extremely flat against the Boston Bruins giving up two goals before they were able to put five shots on net.

After the first 10 minutes of the game, the Toronto Maple Leafs played pretty well and finished the game with more shots, scoring chances, high-danger chances and expected goals than the Bruins, however "score effects" tend to set in when its 2-0 (and then 3-0) which means that teams down by multiple goals have a tendency to win the counting stats once the other team starts to settle into defend-the-lead mode.

That said, Jeremy Swayman was the one who stole the show last night in Toronto, the Bruins netminder made 32 saves and saved +2.80 goals above expected. Everything was going right for Swayman, his posts helped him out multiple times and Brandon Carlo even pulled one off the goal line for him.

Toronto Maple Leafs Weaknesses On Display In Loss to the Bruins

At the other end, we saw Joseph Woll make his second start since returning from injury. The math says he didn't play well letting in 1.12 goals above expected. But goals saved above expected isn't a perfect method and don't factor in the entirety of the Maple Leafs defensive breakdowns leaving Morgan Geekie wide open on the doorstep for a tap-in or three Maple Leafs defenders who gave Pavel Zacha all the time in the world to rip one top right from the slot.

The Leafs didn't do their goalie any favors on Monday night.

The third and fourth goals are the ones you could debate Woll should saved, but the third was an odd-man rush where Timothy Liljegren bailed from the shooting lane at the last second which Jake Debrusk with a wide-open look in the slot.

On the fourth goal, it was Zacha again who banged on home on the doorstep. This is one where Woll should have gotten to his post, but again it was Liljegren who was caught puck-watching, rather than putting a body on Zacha who was standing right beside him.

Last night Jeremy Swayman gave Maple Leafs fans a perfect example of how an elite goalie can change the game. Outside of the first 10 minutes of that game, the Maple Leafs were the better team last night, but Swayman made it feel like the Bruins were in control of that game the entire way.

Although not terrible, a tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll is not going to change the course of a playoff series, with Jacob Markstrom and Jusse Saros still on the market, the Maple Leafs should strongly consider acquiring a goalie who would be a difference-maker.

I already mentioned two of Timothy Liljegen's blunders that led to two goals against, and maybe it is unfair to include T.J Brodie in this, but he was on the ice for both of these goals and has the second-worst expected goal percentage on the Maple Leafs over their last five games. Over that stretch he has been on the ice for a team-worst 10 goals against, we just cannot keep sending this guy out to play top pair minutes.

Following a game where Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi and William Nylander were benched for not recognizing "when its time to defend", this line struggled again defensively with all three having expected goal percentages under 50 percent and all being on the ice for another goal against at five-on-five.

Despite Sheldon Keefe's hopes, I do not think these three can defend at a high enough level against other top-six competition in the playoffs. The Maple Leafs could consider a guy like Boone Jenner in Columbus who is a defensive-minded guy who would pair great with Will Nylander.

Maple Leafs Moral Victories

Look, it was not all bad last night. The Maple Leafs had plenty of opportunities to score, we saw Ilya Lybushkin contribute positively having an 80 percent on-ice unblocked shot attempt percentage, and 72.73 percent on-ice shots percentage while picking up an assist on the Maple Leafs loan goal.

We saw John Tavares score again playing with Bobby McMann and Calle Jarnkrok on what is called the third line, but what was really more like the second line last night. Keefe likes what he sees from this line as they played the most minutes at five-on-five tonight and continue to provide the Leafs with some depth scoring. (All Stats From: NaturalStatTrick).

manual

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been playing the best hockey of the season, if they can address a couple of the holes before the deadline, this team could become serious contenders. The Maple Leafs have a chance to bounce back on Wednesday night at home against the Buffalo Sabres.