Toronto Maple Leafs: When will the lessons start to sink in?

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 20: Anthony Cirelli
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 20: Anthony Cirelli /

The Toronto Maple Leafs let a three-goal lead slip away against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but when will they start to learn their lesson?

Once again the Toronto Maple Leafs “learned a valuable lesson” against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but are they really learning from these games? Will this continue to be a concern in the playoffs?

That is what makes Tuesday’s 4-3 loss infuriating if you’re a Leafs fan. For a majority of the game, the team dominated the best team in the Eastern Conference but then let it all slip away, allowing three goals in under 10 minutes.

The troubling part is this can easily happen in the playoffs, something the team is well aware of. But are they prepared to clean up the mistakes?

It is a question Mike Babcock will have to answer with nine games left in the regular season, because his team will have a tough challenge in the first round of the playoffs.

Credit the Lightning for turning things around and apparently there was never any doubt for Jon Cooper, despite the Leafs being in control.

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Sure Tampa is a more experienced team, but that does not excuse the Leafs for allowing them to claw back into the game like they did. It would have different if this game was close from start to finish, that was not the case.

It was encouraging to see James van Riemsdyk continue to light the lamp at an alarming rate, scoring his 32nd and 33rd goasl of the season. Zach Hyman also scored with a great shot, which is a good sign for him as he has not scored since the outdoor game.

One thing that will definitely help the Leafs down the stretch and into the playoffs is their play on the powerplay, as the team scored with a man advantage which technically came on a delayed penalty.

Going up against the Nashville Predators will give the Leafs a chance to show they learned something from this loss.

Maybe Auston Matthews can get back into the lineup to provide a boost but if he cannot, the team will need to find a way to move past this tough loss.

Like the Lightning thought after the second period, the Leafs should feel somewhat encouraged that some of the issues were more self-inflicted and can be cleaned up.

Eventually, this team will need to lock things down defensively and make it tough for the opponent to seize momentum. If not, the playoffs will be a tough grind, especially without home-ice advantage in the first round.

Next: Leafs about to enter the belly of the beast

What are your thoughts on the game? Was this a tough loss considering the team was in control after two periods? Let us know in the comments below.