Toronto Maple Leafs: Top players a no-show in Game 6

Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs attempts a shot against goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs attempts a shot against goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

For the second-straight game, it was the same story for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A brutal turnover in overtime ended another attempt to end the series after the team erased a two-goal deficit. Once again, the top line was a no-show as the Montreal Canadiens forced a Game 7 after beating the Leafs in Game 6.

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After the game, Auston Matthews said they’re doing good things but it hasn’t shown up on the scoreboard. Here is the problem, in the playoffs, what happens on the scoreboard matters more than the moral victories.

Now, after taking a commanding 3-1 lead, Toronto now has to deal with a Game 7 that should never have happened when you consider how Montreal was on the ropes after Game 4. It’s understandable that Leafs fans are frustrated seeing the same old story happen again.

For the Leafs to acknowledge that they didn’t start on time remains the biggest issue with this team. They know what their problem was and decided to make things hard on themselves.

The challenge on the first goal certainly changed things in the game because it kept the Leafs shorthanded and would eventually lead to the team’s second goal. It really shows how Toronto continues to give Montreal chances especially after Mitch Marner takes the worst puck over the glass penalty you will ever see.

Speaking of Mitch Marner.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Nothing but the best from top players acceptable in Game 7

You have to think Leafs fans are getting tired of hearing the team’s top-paid players say they didn’t start on time. The Leafs aren’t paying Matthews $11,634 million, Marner, $10.893 million and even William Nylander $6.96 million to get outworked and outproduced by 37-year-old Jason Spezza who is playing on the veteran minimum.

Look, you win as a team and lose as a team, that’s usually how hockey works. However, if your star players are 0-6 in elimination games and have nothing to show for it, you have to think the engine is the problem and not the other parts of the car.

We hear that this team needed veteran leadership and toughness to take the next step as a contender. They addressed that and at the end of the day, it circles back to what they’re truly lacking. The killer instinct from their star players.

Don’t waste your time trying to figure out whether or not these players care because if you see the reaction on their face when the overtime goal was scored you can see they do. The issue is there is a mentality they still haven’t achieved and you wonder if they will ever find that killer instinct.

It’s easy to think you justify your contract with a great regular season but at the end of the day, playoff success is what matters. Kyle Dubas certainly deserves blame for giving the big paydays before any success is achieved but also blame the economics of the NHL for rewarding star players before they win anything.

All Leafs fans can hope for is that what went wrong the past two nights is a wake-up call. If the players fail to live up to their word, then you wonder if big change does happen.

How are you feeling after losing in Game 6? Do you have faith the Leafs can pull it out in Game 7? Let us know in the comments below.