Two games. One hundred and twenty minutes of scoreless hockey from the Toronto Maple Leafs. That's certainly not the longest a team has ever gone without scoring a goal. But seven goals in their last six games? That can't continue (and it probably won't). There has to be a growing concern within the front office and the coaching staff about the top two lines on this team. So, what's the next step for this team?
More after the jump and your Sunday links.
Outside of some kind of unlikely megadeal, not much can be done externally. However, I think a change in system could possibly help: the neutral zone trap. Let me first say that I am not a huge fan of the trap. It's boring and kills the flow of a hockey game. That said, the Leafs are not forechecking with the same tenacity of their first four games, and this team isn't really built to play that style of hockey. The lack of size really kills this team in certain areas, and the forecheck is one of those.
I'm not suggesting the trap because the Leafs need to stop goals. They've actually done a good job of limiting shots and their amount of goals allowed per game has been excellent. This is about turnovers and limiting puck possession in the Leafs zone. The Leafs have a fast squad who have shown glimpses of scoring ability, but if you notice on their breakout (which has been steadily pretty terrible for the last two seasons), the forwards are doing a lot of the leg work to get the puck into attacking areas. We have two very capable puck moving defensemen in Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle, but both are limited by the collapsing system Ron Wilson currently employs. I'd like to see them both take the puck up the ice a bit more, and trapping teams tend get their defense more involved. In addition, by clogging up passing lanes and forcing pucks into traffic, the Leafs could potentially generate scoring chances they simply aren't getting right now. I think it would mean less time spent in our own zone, especially for the KBK line, and that would also be a good thing.
But then again, maybe the trap isn't the best option. Honestly, I'd just like to see Wilson move away from the 2-1-2 he's currently running, because it has been fairly ineffective since the second Rangers game.
Leafs HQ with a brief recap.
Blueshirtbanter recaps the game from the enemy's perspective
And that's all I have as of 2am. Throw 'em in the comments, but please use my email at the bottom of the page for any hate mail.