The Leafs biggest weakness this season and cause of a lot of lost points has been their inability or unwillingness to jump on opponents when given the opportunity. Third period leads were lost when the Leafs did not get the next goal and teams that should have been handled have instead done the handling. Kevin McGran notes that it's a killer instinct that seems, at times, to be missing from the Leafs.
Last night was the Leafs fifth loss to the Bruins. Their games have inspired two of my more despondent posts and it usually boils down to the same problem: The Leafs do not have the high-end creative talent to break down a team that sits back and defends with five men. So much of the Leafs' offence is predicated on a successful forecheck and crashing the net. However, in the games in which the Bruins have clogged up the slot and sat back all game the Leafs have been unable to work to their strengths. How they are the only team to realize this is a mystery but thank God because if every team played the Leafs like that they would have a lot fewer points.
Luckily, the Leafs head back on the road where they apparently morph into one of the top teams in the league (4th best road record). They better find their shooting hands because Thomas is no DiPietro. Thursday night will require a much better effort. On the bright side, that game probably helped JFJ realize that trading for the future is what needs to be done at the deadline.
The Final Word
"It seems like when you're playing well, you're working hard and you do get the breaks, too," said Sundin. "Hockey is one of those sports where you do have to earn your breaks a little bit. Tonight, we didn't."
The Captain sums up the keys to the game.