After getting back-to-back wins, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a second period to forget in their loss to the Washington Capitals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs started the game with a lot of promise getting ahead 2-0 on the Washington Capitals but then the second period came around and things got ugly quickly.
After allowing three goals in 78 seconds, the Leafs found themselves chasing the game and simply had nothing left after John Tavares got them within a goal in the third period. Of course, people will wonder if Michael Hutchinson can get the job done as the Leafs backup but let’s not start there.
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Up 2-0, the Leafs should have known that Washington got some momentum when they got a goal late in the second. This is a team that was embarrassed against the Colorado Avalanche this past Monday and had the Leafs on the second half of a back-to-back.
Of course, part of it is on the coaches to get the players in the mindset that they need to be prepared for an onslaught and it was clear that they weren’t especially when they took two questionable penalties that gave the Caps the lead.
Mike Babcock wasn’t ready to throw players under the bus but his comments made it clear he wasn’t pleased with the defensive zone coverage.
"“I haven’t had a chance to go through the whole thing. We’ll look at it close on the flight,” said Babcock to reporters. “The bottom line is we gotta do a better job of keeping it out of our net. A couple of the sort-outs in our own D-zone weren’t good enough. It’s one thing if they’ve made a play that’s unbelievable, but if you’re not standing next to your guy, that’s on you.”"
The Leafs have shown that their defensive awareness certainly needs work and part of that comes with discipline especially when the Leafs went to the penalty box six times and only had one power-play opportunity. While Hutchinson might not have been the problem for Toronto, he wasn’t a part of the solution.
Toronto’s backup job will continue to be a talking point until Hutchinson can show that he can step up when called on considering he was a part of the collapse against Montreal. His defence isn’t giving him much help but unless he can provide them with some confidence, Babcock will make it clear that he will need another option.
His next opportunity could come on Tuesday when the Leafs have to play another back-to-back in Boston against the Bruins. Considering that is the team the Leafs are struggling to overcome in the playoffs, it would say a lot if Hutchinson can have his best effort of the season.
What are your thoughts from the Leafs’ loss to the Capitals? What do they need to improve on before they play Boston? Let us know in the comments below.