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Wednesday’s FTB: the Leafs have won two in a row

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Time to build on some bad wins with good ones.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Los Angeles Kings
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 5: Toronto Maple Leafs center William Nylander (88), Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Andreas Johnsson (18) and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) (back) celebrate. Toronto Maple Leafs vs Los Angeles Kings during 3rd period play of NHL regular season action at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Leafs won 3-1. Toronto Star/Rick Madonik
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Let’s go streaking!

After two “less than optimal” games against generally lesser opponents, the Toronto Maple Leafs find themselves on a two-game winning streak for the third time this season.

While many would say the victories were less than inspiring and failed to meet the lofty expectations placed upon the roster, wins are wins.

Could the Leafs have won their games against Philadelphia and Los Angeles better? Absolutely. But after a tough opening month, getting November started with a few ugly victories is a great way to get this team going the right direction.

Remember three weeks ago when we yelled about the results not being there when the numbers indicated better performance? Well, how’s the other way? At least the team is winning now.

Mike Babcock had this quote after the game, stating — in his own voice — exactly this. Get a bad win, and try to turn those positives into a better win next time. On Saturday, the Leafs disappeared in the second half of their game. In this one, the Leafs were on top of the Kings for all 60 minutes. There’s improvement here — though not as drastic as anyone would want — but improvement nonetheless.

The Leafs have been a strong shot attempts team so far this season (it has consistently gone up in the Babcock era), but their expected goals and chances were lacking. That is starting to improve as the team finds ways into the middle of the ice. John Tavares back from his injured finger helps the team. William Nylander fixed his mistake from Saturday night and it immediately rewarded him with a beautiful goal.

I see a light at the end of this mediocre tunnel, and like many Leafs fans before me, I have hope for this team and this franchise.

Leafs Branches

Here is the recap of the game, written by Brigstew.

Nic Petan was called up before the game and played 12:57 for the Leafs alongside Tavares and Mitch Marner. He totalled four shot attempts (two on net, two scoring chances), and played to a 71% corsi with 56% expected goals.

Saplings

The Toronto Marlies are playing the Rockford Ice Hogs (great name) today at 11:30 am. It is Rockford’s annual School Day Game so if you’re bored at work/school/whatever, here’s something to peak your interest!

Other Branches

ESPN conducted a player poll on a variety of different topics. One of my favourites was “worst visiting locker room.”

31 Thoughts is back for another week and it’s headlined by the Dustin Byfuglien saga. Relevant Leafs news includes the upcoming roster crunch. It’s on its way.

And from The Athletic, qualified women and people of colour are not represented in the NHL’s hockey operations departments. The Leafs are among the best when it comes to employing women, but it doesn’t deserve real praise when 84% of the staff is men*