Toronto Maple Leafs: Observations from 6-3 loss to Carolina

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Frederik Andersen
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Frederik Andersen /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – OCTOBER 9: Frederik Andersen /

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost in embarrassing fashion to the Carolina Hurricanes on home ice, following a statement game against the Los Angeles Kings.

I shouldn’t be so upset with a team that is 7-3-0, but two of these losses are against teams the Toronto Maple Leafs absolutely had out-skilled on paper. However as the saying goes, the game isn’t played on paper.

The Leafs dropped their third game of the season at home on Thursday night, 6-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes. Let’s get into it:

1) Defence and goaltending

I’m making a decision – from here on, this will be a point in every single observations post. It’s so difficult to not talk about either on a game-to-game basis.

The defence was BRUTAL against the Hurricanes and goaltender Frederik Andersen wasn’t able to come up with the saves to keep his team in the game.

The first goal of the game was a cross-crease goal that was a bullet off the stick, not much you can do about that. However, the next five goals were a folly of errors.

You can tell when Jake Gardiner is gonna have a bad game from the first time he touches the puck.

He had a flurry or rough turnovers and the second goal occurred, because of one of those off a botched clearing attempt in the slot. Teuvo Teravainen slotted home and the Hurricans were up 2-0 less than three minutes into the contest.

If you read my previous observations for the Kings game, (thank you if you did) you’d know I mentioned that Connor Carrick should be in against the faster teams and Roman Polak against slower teams that like to cycle. Well, Mike Babcock doesn’t like to make it a common practice to do anything that Leafs fan like, so Polak was in the lineup against the young, fast Canes.

Polak was noticeable, and not in a good way. He looked like the player that was coming off surgery and couldn’t skate. He couldn’t keep up with the opposing forwards, which put extra pressure on rookie Andreas Borgman, who had an awful turnover in the second period that led to Victor Rask’s goal.

Ron Hainsey got bodied in front of the net on the third Canes goal, that was tipped past Andersen. (If only we could have a Polak on every line to clear the front of the net.)

I’m sure Nikita Zaitsev and Morgan Rielly messed up at some point. Had zoned out of the game when the Hurricanes went up 4-3. Let me know how they did.

One solid point was the save of the year candidate, which was followed up off the next face-off by the tip-in goal. Andersen bailed out the defence and that could’ve been a turning point in the game, but the back end just laid an egg.

Good for Freddy on that save though.