Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 

It’s a tight race; Flat lining in the first minute(s)

February 14, 2020, 10:37 AM ET [120 Comments]
Lucas Neilson
Toronto Maple Leafs Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
When the Maple Leafs give up the first shot of the game it’s certainly discouraging and deflating to the team and their fans. Last night the Leafs not only gave up the first shot of the game but they managed to give up a goal at the start of each period, basically within a minute of play.

It was Andersen’s first game back after his neck injury and it’s expected he would take a period or two to settle back in. He’s without a doubt a goalie who’s better the more he plays. But the Leafs can’t be giving up the first goal as often as they are, especially so early in the game or at the beginning of a period like that. It’s a brutal way to start a game or a period as it makes for an uphill battle, and when playing a team like Dallas who doesn’t give you much ice to work with. It makes for a tough comeback and a frustrating game when each point is so important.

Thankfully the Florida Panthers are struggling right now and lost again last night which keeps the Leafs hanging by a thread in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Leafs have a huge weekend ahead with two games against opponents they should be able to handle. Ottawa on Saturday and Buffalo on Sunday and what I’m thinking are must wins as games remaining in the season are numbered and the schedule certainly doesn’t get any easier for the blue and white.

Keefe is going to have to light a fire under the arse of whoever’s starting the period/game on Saturday night; no more first minute/first shot goals. The Leafs need to start rifling the puck on net and getting on the board before their opponent. Enough of this upward battle all game!

Matthews buried his 41st goal of the season which puts him back into first place in the scoring race (tied with Pastrnak). It would be quite the milestone if Matthews can break 50 in a season, but even more so disappointing if the Leafs missed the playoffs with him doing so.

The Leafs should learn a lot from Dallas in last night’s game. The Stars are a team that play a very strategic defensive game, but have bursts of offense that happen when you have the talent on the ice. They seem to be patient and wait for their opponent to make a mistake and they capitalize on their chances. At some point the Leafs need to realize they can’t outscore every team on any given night. They need to honker down defensively and work on taking advantage of other teams errors. We know the boys have a ton of offensive talent, and I’m a firm believer that the chances will come if they play a quality 200 foot game.

Hold onto your shorts, if things go sour this weekend all hell is going to break loose in Leafs Nation!

Let’s hope the boys are primed and ready for a big back to back victory. I’m much more confident in Jack Campbell backing up than Hutchinson, so I’m feeling two big wins and four clutch points are coming in.

Will the Leafs add a defender at trade deadline? I'm still hoping for Dumba.

Have a great weekend. Try not to kick anyone with a skate…

Thanks for reading.
Join the Discussion: » 120 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Lucas Neilson
» Leafs hit rock bottom, bounce now or never
» Maple Leafs Mashup
» Dubas time: One trade down, one to go
» Maple Leafs about to declaw the Panthers
» The goal scoring machine and his aide