Toronto Maple Leafs: Same old story comes back to bite them in Sin City

Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights makes a save against William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period of their game at T-Mobile Arena. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Vegas Golden Knights makes a save against William Nylander #88 of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the third period of their game at T-Mobile Arena. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs put up a better effort against the Vegas Golden Knights but the same issues continue to plague them as their losing streak continues.

After a trainwreck performance Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Toronto Maple Leafs needed to have a bounce-back performance against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Unfortunately, they had the same problems come back to bite them leaving Sin City with a 4-2 loss and fans wondering if this team has given up. The main reason is that once again, the team surrendered the first goal for the 18th time in 23 games and showed no improvement on the penalty kill.

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Sure the team had more pushback as they kept the game close but couldn’t get over their miserable penalty kill which allowed two power-play goals and couldn’t make up for it which has been the story for the past few weeks.

With two regulation wins in their last 16 games, the Leafs are plummeting down the Eastern Conference standings but at this point, the team can’t be worried about where they sit in the standings. They just need to get a win even if it’s an ugly one.

To be fair, the Leafs also ran into some superb goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury who made some unreal saves especially late in the third period.

If Nic Petan scored with over three minutes left in the game, the game would have gone differently but Fleury somehow reached back to keep the puck out. Sometimes breaks go your way and unfortuntely for the Leafs that wasn’t the case.

Regardless, the Leafs cannot continue to fall behind in games like they have and for all the chatter about the team not wanting to play for their coach, it didn’t look like it last night. Considering how much talent is on the team, even with Mitch Marner out with the ankle injury, Toronto shouldn’t be struggling like they are and need to find a way to establish dominance early on.

It also doesn’t help when Tyson Barrie turns the puck over leading to a breakaway and a goal which is unfortunate for the right-handed defenceman because he’s had a lot of negativity around him lately.

"“The bottom line is we’ve got to stick with it and just keep grinding,” said head coach Babcock after the game. “We had a chance on the power play at the end there and we didn’t execute on that. It’s disappointing but I’m always about the process and how hard guys play.“We played way harder so I thought that was good.”"

Well unfortunately for Babcock, people don’t care about whether the team is playing harder when they come away with the loss. He needs to start putting together results because if this continues, the calls for him to be fired will get louder.

The Leafs will continue their road trip to play the Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche who are among the top teams in the Western Conference. If they cannot find a way to get a win before they get to Detroit on Nov. 27, it’s going to hard for Kyle Dubas to not do something to get this team back on track.

It would also help too if Auston Matthews, who has a goal and an assist since putting up four points in Chicago, gets going because he has been far too quiet for the calibre of player the Leafs signed him to be. The same could be said for John Tavares who has gone three games without a goal.

You can say that as long as the Leafs top two paid players continue to come up empty-handed,  they will continue to see similar results.

Next. Why team’s struggles extend beyond Mike Babcock. dark

What do you think the Leafs need to do to get back on track? Should they be looking to make a big trade or stay the course? Let us know in the comments below.