The signing of John Tavares was a big step up for the Toronto Maple Leafs this past off-season. Every analyst predicted that combined with players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and Zach Hyman, this Maple Leafs team was seen as unstoppable.
There is just one small problem.
The Leafs tend to do fantastic things and then take a sharp nose dive also known as “pulling a leaf”. Of course this happens to other teams but the Leafs do it in a big way, for example, they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 and then turned around and lost to the Florida Panthers 1-3. It’s these small pitfalls that add up over the course of the season.
First 41 games was a great run, the Leafs pulled a record of 27-12-2. Within those 41, the team hadn’t lost more than 2 games in a row at any time. The Leafs had 152 goals for and 113 goals against. The Leafs were scoring 23% of the time on the power play and killing about 80.38% of the penalty kills they were faced with. Their puck possession was middle of the pack as well with a Corsi for of 50.7%. Overall it was a good start to the season, the team was doing good and building upon that.
And the Leafs have slowly began to Pull A Leaf into this second half.
In the last 33 games, the Leafs have gone 17-13-3. They’ve scored 111 goals for and allowed 108 goals against. The roughest point has been the past 11 games. In those 11 games, the Leafs are 5-5-1, with 36 goals for but 43 against. They’re still controlling the puck well with a corsi for of 52.8% but giving the opposition too many quality chances which is leading to the opposition taking the lead.
They’ve taken a wrong left turn but the Leafs still have a cushion in the playoff standings. Being 3rd in the Atlantic, the Leafs still have a 6 point gap between them and the Carolina Hurricanes who are in the first Wild Card spot.
With 8 regular season games remaining, this will be a very important stretch of games for the Leafs. With a young team that is loaded with talent I believe that they will be able to kick it into gear for this last push.
Featured Image: Maple Leafs Hot Stove