No team can ever claim to be perfect and despite a 7-2 record this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs definitely have areas to address.
Some will certainly take time but one that shouldn’t be allowed to continue is the number of penalties they take. While they picked the victory over the Edmonton Oilers, it would have been a different story based on the number of times they found themselves shorthanded.
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It is always easy to look at the referees and say that they were really whistle-friendly which certainly was the case against the Oilers but it doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t be trying to fix that. As Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston pointed out, the Leafs have taken 11 minor penalties over the past two games.
That is a lot of penalties and at some point, the Leafs penalty kill isn’t going to be able to bail them out as the season goes along. Leon Draisaitl scored twice on the power play and should’ve probably had more but Frederik Andersen came up with a big save late in the game.
Toronto is certainly playing an aggressive style especially on the forecheck which can lead to careless penalties for hooking and slashing. At the same time, the Leafs are not known for being overly physical and are struggling to find that balance.
Saturday night against the Oilers, Toronto can try to find that level of discipline as they try to limit Edmonton’s dynamic duo. If they can do that and stay out of the box, consider that a step in the right direction.
Toronto Maple Leafs seeing a better Frederik Andersen after slot start
Stop if you have heard this before, Frederik Andersen has started to stabilize his game after a poor start to the season. It’s a trend you hope the Leafs starter would somehow find an answer for but seeing how he has played that he hasn’t allowed more than three goals since the second game of the season.
Credit the Leafs defence for significantly decreasing the workload Andersen has had to face. Only twice this season has Toronto allowed more than 30 shots in a game Anderen has started which is certainly encouraging.
He still has a ways to go considering he owns a sub-.900 save percentage. Toronto has found a way to win more of the one-goal games that didn’t come easily for them before but when teams really try to clamp down defensively, they’ll need to show that they can grind out wins.
Do you think the Leafs should be concerned about their penalty issues this season? Can they continue to see success with their style of play? Let us know in the comments below.