The Toronto Maple Leafs looked to be in control with a 3-0 lead but the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off the comeback and will look to end the series.
For the first two periods of Game 3, the Toronto Maple Leafs looked to be in control and in a comfortable position. That was until we realized that the Leafs don’t like to make life easy on themselves or Leafs Nation.
With a chance to take a lead in the play-in series against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto will be looking to remain in the NHL bubble and avoid another disappointing moment for a team that’s been working to eliminate the franchise’s past demons.
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What we all saw in Game 3 is the fragility that remains with this hockey club. Call it immaturity, call it lack of “desire,” call it whatever you want, but the next 24 hours is going to be a crucial period for the team.
There is no defending what happened because it seems like a depressing cycle with this team. Sure, other teams are capable of blowing a three-goal lead but when you see how easily the Leafs let it happen and how frequently, you can’t blame the fanbase for losing their minds and being ready to give up.
Jake Muzzin’s absence was surely noticeable considering the Leafs didn’t have that stabilizing force on the backend, it also doesn’t help that they gave Columbus with every chance to get back into the game.
Sheldon Keefe said after the game that he didn’t like how the team was playing but even when they had the lead. You would think that the head coach would try to make some sort of adjustment to get the players to realize that they would be in trouble of having the game collapse on them.
Now with a win or go home situation, the Leafs cannot…and I repeat cannot let the Blue Jackets dictate the play in the early going. Unless this team can prove that they don’t have a fragile mentality and willing to play with the gameplan that has been drawn up, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Whether or not Leafs Nation is willing to give this team another chance remains to be seen but Friday night, there is a hockey game and it could be Toronto’s last one for a while.
What are your thoughts on the loss? Do you think they can turn it around and force a Game 5? Let us know in the comments below.