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Four Lessons from Maple Leafs’ 3-2 Loss to Senators

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. What lessons can be learned from that loss?

The Ottawa Senators’ young goalie Anton Forsberg stopped a career-high 46 shots on net to stone the Toronto Maple Leafs by a 3-2 score during the Maple Leafs’ second game of the season. 

The Senators scored all three of their goals during the first period and then hung on to beat the Maple Leafs. For all the Maple Leafs’ push, they couldn’t score the game-tying goal.

The Maple Leafs outshot the Senators during the first period. They outshot the Senators during the last period. However, there was a space in the second period where the Senators actually caught up and passed the Maple Leafs in shots on goal. 

Where the team went and why couldn’t they sustain a push is a question that needs to be answered this season. In this post, I’ll share what I think are four lessons the Maple Leafs should have learned during their second-game loss.

Related: Three Maple Leafs’ Takeaways Game 1: Kampf, Nylander & Campbell

Lesson #1: Start Quicker & Show Up Sooner

The Senators game was the second game in a row that the team simply didn’t show up to start the game. Sure the Senators scored on some lucky bounces; however, if the puck were at the other end of the ice, those bounces wouldn’t have happened. 

When the Maple Leafs started to show pressure, things didn’t always go right. However, there’s no other choice than to keep pressuring. If they expect to win their share of games, regardless of their strong offense, the team simply has to show up sooner and start quicker. That lesson needs to come sooner rather than later. 

No team can come back every single night from a deficit. Even if that deficit is only 1-0, starting from behind is a bad strategy.

Lesson #2: Other Teams Have Good Players 

In the Senators’ loss, the Maple Leafs seemed to dominate. However, a young Senators’ young goalie simply didn’t allow that to happen. Sometimes that happens. However, similar to the lesson noted above, a good team just has to keep pushing. 

In the end, if it doesn’t work and you’re stoned by a goalie, give the goalie credit and go on to the next game determined to play harder.

Lesson #3: William Nylander Is for Real

William Nylander scored a goal and added an assist during the 3-2 loss to the Senators. The 25-year-old scored in Wednesday’s season’s first game against the Montreal Canadiens and didn’t stop on Thursday. In total, Nylander finished the night with six shots on goal. In total, he also played 22:28 TOI in this game. 

I said it before in another post, it’s time that Maple Leafs’ fans gave Nylander his due credit. The young Swede is playing hard and well. He’s an excellent goal scorer, an excellent skater, and a smart hockey player. He’s for real.

He’s even willing to embrace working on the penalty kill. He’s one of the stars of this team, no matter what some fans say about his needing to be traded.

Lesson #4: Hockey Is a Crazy Game: You Won’t Always Win

This game was one of those where you needed Jumbo Joe Thornton in the locker room to remind players that hockey is a funny game and sometimes you’re just not going to win no matter how hard you try. It’s hard to fault the Maple Leafs on the try-hard meter, but they still didn’t win. 

That’s just going to happen sometimes, and Thursday night was one of those times.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Pierre Engvall’s Get’s His Big Chance: Can He Deliver?

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