Toronto Maple Leafs: Time for the team to learn their “lesson”

Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) leaves the ice after their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares (91) leaves the ice after their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to make life miserable for themselves and the fanbase but will they finally start to learn from the “lessons” they talk about?

What we are seeing from the Toronto Maple Leafs right now isn’t anything news. This group has hit new lows over the years but right now, it doesn’t look like the team has any answers for their struggles.

Early in their loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Auston Matthews got his first goal of the season and at that moment it looked like things were starting to look up. Then Carolina scored three goals in the second period with each one making the Leafs look worse.

Before we dive into the glaring issues Toronto is facing at both ends of the ice, let’s bring up Sheldon Keefe’s comments from after the game.

"“When you’re playing against the Carolina Hurricanes, I think they set the standard in the league,” Keefe said after the game. “Despite the fact that we competed at a higher level today that was required in the game, it’s still not to the level necessary to be able to compete with a team like that.“That’s the hardest game we’ve played this season by a wide margin.”"

To say that the Hurricanes are setting the standard in the league is quite a statement when you consider the roster the Leafs have right now. This isn’t a team that was supposed to fight for a spot in the playoffs and yet, that’s the impression Keefe is giving.

On top of that, the Leafs head coach made it a point to say that after a 4-1 loss, Toronto left Carolina a better team. The bar has certainly been dropped big time.

There’s no doubting that the Leafs have taken a significant step backwards but it’s far more telling that a 4-1 loss can somehow make Toronto a better team.

Toronto Maple Leafs need to find reset button and quick

Between the offence struggling to generate chances, the defence blowing coverages and allowing easy lanes to the net, there isn’t one easy fix for what is ailing the Leafs.

Keefe tried to mix things up with his lineup by splitting up Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and while they are a big piece of the puzzle to turning things around, it can just fall on them. The rest of the team needs to band together and elevate their teammates because that’s their job.

On defence, the play from the top four has been inexcusable especially Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl who have been exposed as the team’s worst pairing. If they cannot get their play on track, the defence is going to have a tough time turning things around when you consider they play a significant role.

Really at this rate, losing like they did to the Ottawa Senators and New York Rangers would be an improvement over the last three games considering they dictated the play in those games. If the Leafs think they are going to win by letting the opposition dictate the pace and establish their game, they’re going to expect similar results.

The team needs to do a mental reset soon otherwise it might get to a point where they cannot come back from.

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What are your thoughts on the Leafs’ struggles? How can they turn things around? Let us know in the comments below.