The past couple games have been disappointing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and now it’s time for players to respond.
At some point, the Toronto Maple Leafs need to be honest with themselves. They might be saying the right things to reporters but when you are sixth in the league and put up consecutive performances that have fans booing you, it’s tough to make excuses.
Sure Jake Gardiner and Travis Dermott are big losses on the blue line and the team was without Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen against the Chicago Blackhawks. However, this is a team that is supposed to have the depth other NHL teams would envy and none of the star players are on the shelf either.
What should be telling about Toronto’s effort or lack of is how they were able to get within a goal of the Blackhawks and could have tied it on a couple of occasions. It should be frustrating to watch them look lifeless to start the game and crumble when things get tough.
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Now to be fair, there have been moments where the team flips a switch and are able to score out of their problems, most elite teams are capable of that. Unfortunately, the Leafs now have put unnecessary pressure on themselves and it’s on the players to dig themselves out of it.
There isn’t a quick fix coming from the Toronto Marlies or a trade from Kyle Dubas, this is on the players to decide to come out of the gate with some fight rather than let their opponent dictate the play.
Frederik Andersen has been asked to bail out his team far too often when they fail to show up, and like we saw in last year’s series against the Boston Bruins, he can’t keep it up forever.
The Leafs have also squandered a chance to gain some ground on Boston who have lost three straight since their ridiculous 19 game point streak. Toronto needs five points to pass the Bruins and play the Flyers, Senators and Predators next. Boston has the Blue Jackets, Islanders and Devils coming up.
Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet wrote how Boston find themselves in the middle of the pack in terms of the strength of the coming opponents while the Maple Leafs are near the bottom in that regard.
This is the perfect time for the Leafs play to do the talking instead of hearing Auston Matthews say that the team quit. No team that’s considered a Stanley Cup favourite should be quitting in the first period.
If it doesn’t change then expect the fans level of frustration to reach a new level despite the team still in a favourable spot with 12 games left in the season.
Are you concerned with the way the Leafs have been playing? What will it take for them to turn things around? Let us know in the comments below.