While a 2-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins is not ideal for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they cannot let it derail all the good things they have done.
It’s hard to forget what happened to the Toronto Maple Leafs the last time they played the Pittsburgh Penguins on a Saturday night.
In what was their most uninspiring performance in a long time, the Leafs got the kick in the butt they needed ti turn their season around. Since that game on Oct. 23, Toronto was 10-3 which was the second-best mark in the NHL during that time as only the Carolina Hurricanes were better.
They found a way to beat some good teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. Unfortunately, the Leafs just couldn’t crack the Penguins’ armour on Saturday but it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Tristan Jarry was stellar when he had to be especially when the Leafs finally got an opportunity on the power play. This is the challenge the team has to figure out as these games are the closest resemblance to playoff-type hockey.
In fairness, the team has been much better at winning close games this season and losses like Saturdays can serve as lessons on what this team still needs to work on.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ defensive mistakes need to be addressed
If you look at the two goals the Leafs allowed on Saturday, they were off broken plays that the defence didn’t look great on.
Rasmus Sandin got caught trying to defend the puck as Jake Guentzel made him by getting by him and beating Jack Campbell with a backhander. Sometimes, it’s tough to make the right decision when you’re forced to defend one-on-one but in this case, Sandin didn’t do a good enough job defending against Guentzel.
Then on the second goal, there was a bit of luck that went against the Leafs’ second pairing. Justin Holl got beat by a faster Pittsburgh forward and Jake Muzzin lost sight of Jeff Carter leading to an easy tap-in that Campbell had no chance of stopping.
Those types of miscues are the ones the Leafs have to find a way to clean up considering there was little margin for error against the Penguins. They will have to find a way to turn things around quickly as they take on the New York Islanders at their new arena at Belmont Park.
This is an opponent that has given the Leafs problems in the past and will look to play a similar style that tries to slow down Toronto’s top offensive players.
What are your thoughts on the Leafs loss to the Penguins? Is there any reason to be concerned? Let us know in the comments below.