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Toronto Maple Leafs

Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 5-3 Loss to Avalanche

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost the last two periods of the game against the Colorado Avalanche and lost the game. Who didn’t play well?

Last night, in a disappointing loss, the Toronto Maple Leafs ran out to a 3-0 first-period lead. However, by the middle of the second period, it seemed clear that the lead wouldn’t last. Eventually, the Colorado Avalanche came back with two goals in the second period and three in the third period to win the game. It was one of those games where, had there been a fourth period, the Avalanche would have likely scored four goals.

Fortunately, these games don’t happen that often for the Maple Leafs. But, on this one night, what a discouragement. The Maple Leafs play the Detroit Red Wings tonight. Fans have to hope for a better game from their team.

Takeaway One: The Domi, Jarnkrok & Holmberg Line Were the Team’s Best

The only good line for the Maple Leafs in last night’s game was the line of Max Domi/Calle Jarnkrok/Pontus Holmberg. It was the only line with positive underlying statistics. Each player on the team’s third line had a plus-2 rating in plus/minus rating. They were effective on the ice.

Related: Tavares, Bertuzzi Sent Major Message In Maple Leafs Loss to Avs

Defenseman Mark Giordano also achieved a plus-2 rating. In contrast, all other players on the team were either a minus or had a zero plus/minus rating. It was not a good night for the team.

Takeaway Two: The Tavares, Bertuzzi & Nylander Line Were the Team’s Worst

Coach Sheldon Keefe expressed his displeasure with the play of the John Tavares, Tyler Bertuzzi, and William Nylander line. Matthews Knies (as well as the rest of the team’s top-six units also didn’t play well in the game. As a result, Keefe made significant changes.

Specifically, William Nylander was moved to a line with Matthews and Marner, while Tavares, Bertuzzi, and Knies were benched (as noted) for most of the third period. The dissatisfaction extended to other key players like Matthews, Marner, and Nylander, although they were not benched. But you can’t bench everyone. When things are going badly, Keefe still couldn’t bench the entire lineup.

Takeaway Three: A Litany of Errors Led to the Loss

In the game, the Maple Leafs faced several issues that led to their loss. Defensive lapses and breakdowns created opportunities for the Avalanche, and the Maple Leafs struggled with puck possession. As a result, those allowed Colorado to control the game.

Tavares and Bertuzzi had bad games for the Maple Leafs last night/

The top Avalanche players, particularly MacKinnon’s line, proved challenging for the Maple Leafs to handle, even when shorthanded. The Maple Leafs couldn’t effectively counter the Avalanche’s power play, and that also led to a disadvantage. Overall, the Maple Leafs’ lineup lacked sharpness, made too many late-game mistakes, and had no match for Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche capitalized on all of them – or so it seemed.

What Does the Loss Mean for the Maple Leafs?

Despite the Maple Leafs’ recent success against comparatively weaker opponents, last night’s game was one of their worst of the season. This comes after a period of strong play in the preceding weeks, showcasing a significant departure from their recent form and raising concerns about their consistency and performance in higher-stakes matchups.

What team shows up next will be interesting.

Related: Maple Leafs Highlights: One-Hand Holmberg & Amazing Matthews

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Roy James Peters

    January 14, 2024 at 11:13 am

    The blame should fall squarely on Keefe he has last change and his line matching was terrible, Keefe also does not have a clue how to manage a game and motivate his player’s.

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