Can the Toronto Maple Leafs fix their power play?
With options such as Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, John Tavares and Morgan Reilly, you would think that the power play would be the last of the team’s issues.
Mired in a 2-for-46 slump over the past 18 games, the man advantage has been abysmal. For the season Toronto is 11th in the NHL with a 21.88 per cent mark on the power play.
Perhaps they have just been snake bit the last month-plus or maybe it is in their heads.
"“You can just sense, even on the bench, the guys who aren’t out there; every shot, every time the puck’s in and around the net, the guys are looking for it to fall,” said Keefe, to reporters. “The guys who are out there right now are squeezing it, overthinking it. But that’s where we’re at and what we’ve done to ourselves, so we’ve got to find our way out of it.”"
The team simply is not shooting the puck with the same vigour that they had in the first month of the season when the power play was en feugo.
According to The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel, the Leafs were firing 73 shots per 60 minutes on the power play (tops in the league) during a blistering first month of the season. Over the past month, they’ve managed just 45 shots per 60, which ranks 23rd overall.
Maybe it is as simple as shooting the puck more on the power play to build confidence as a group. The team has been electric with the man advantage as recently as this season so it is well within their grasp to turn it around.
For a squad so littered with high-end talent there is no excuse to not be scoring when up a man. If the team has any designs on making a run in the playoffs they will have to start making teams pay for taking penalties.