The Toronto Maple Leafs are still searching for their first win on their California road trip along with the consistency in their effort.
Going into Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks, the Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping that third time’s the charm in terms of picking up a valuable two points on their road trip.
Between Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks and the 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, we have seen two different versions of the Leafs and that continues to be the common issue every game.
There has been a lot of talk about how the Leafs play down to their opponent especially when it comes to their defensive effort. In one game they look lost and out of sorts to the point where they can give up a couple of goals in a short amount of time but in the next, they find a way to tighten up.
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It’s obvious Toronto is searching for that consistency and it’s tough to expect a team to play perfectly for an entire game but one thing they can’t let happen is having their effort questioned.
Where it starts is with the star players coming out strong and not having one Auston Matthews‘ line play well then see the John Tavares‘ line struggle. This was certainly the issue against the Sharks where Matthews’ line accounted for both of the goals and against the Kings, Tavares’ group looked more engaged.
One area they desperately need to improve in is on the power play as they are 0-for-11 over their past four games which isn’t going to cut it when you consider how crucial special teams are in the playoffs. This is something Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe pointed out after the game.
"“The power play is the first thing,” Keefe told Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun after the game. “The power play has to be lethal for us. With the type of talent we have, it should be and it has been for quite some time.“But it has gone dry a little bit, so we have to have that be a difference-maker for us. We know it can be. That’s the first thing. And then we have to be able to establish more play in the offensive zone, be able to get more stuff toward the net.“Certainly we have to find a way to generate more.”"
Fortunately for Toronto, they still have their lead over the Florida Panthers but they can’t get complacent considering the road still goes through Tampa and Boston in the playoffs.
What have you thought about the Leafs play over the past couple of games? Can they regroup and get the win in Anaheim? Let us know in the comments below.