Toronto Maple Leafs: 3 observations from 6-3 win over Detroit

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Morgan Rielly
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 18: Morgan Rielly /
3 of 3
Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 18: Curtis Mcelhinney /

3) McElhinney: Bad performance or bad defence?

The second half of a back-to-back, tired team, backup goalie in net; not a great mix. However, Curtis McElhinney weathered the early storm by the Red Wings to allow the Leafs to jump out to an early lead. The defence didn’t do him any favours in the game, but McElhinney did his part and got the win.

The Leafs were outshot 8-2 in the first 10 mins (Although the first two Leafs shots were goals) so McElhinney had to be big out of the gate.

More from Toronto Maple Leafs

The first Detroit goal scored by Henrik Zetterberg was an ugly one. McElhinney overcommitted on the short side and the Red Wings captain wrapped it around to score.

The goal is partly on the Leafs goaltender and part on the defence. There was nobody on the back post to stop Zetterberg from scoring.

The second goal from Tomas Tatar was a bad rebound, but Ron Hainsey got beat around by Tatar on the rebound.

I will put the third goal entirely on the defence. Just seconds before the goal, Nikita Zaitsev came around the back of the net, lost his footing and took out Jake Gardiner, forcing both defenders to slide into the corner boards.

The pair couldn’t recover in time to clear the front of the net and Justin Abdelkader had a perfect screen on McElhinney, for Jonathan Ericsson to bury a point shot.

The Leafs backup made some solid saves during the game, including a sprawling pad stop on Anthony Mantha:

Every game is crucial for McElhinney now. With the acquisition of Calvin Pickard, one bad outing could mean the end of his run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It only took three games for Babcock to decide he’d seen enough of Jhonas Enroth last season and he didn’t have any NHL ready goaltenders to replace him then. Imagine how little it could take for Pickard to get the call up?

Good on McElhinney for battling and getting the win. He did his job.

Next: Tip of the Tower podcast - The Boys are Back in Town

The Maple Leafs are back in action Saturday night when they take on the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season. What’s your prediction for the final outcome? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.