Connect with us

Toronto Maple Leafs

Maple Leafs Quick Hits: The Devils, Panic & Knies

The Toronto Maple Leafs are down two games to none and heading into the opponent’s building. Is it time to panic? What’s with Matthew Knies?

In this edition of Toronto Maple Leafs Quick Hits, I’ll look at how another team – the New Jersey Devils – found themselves in a similar hole as the Maple Leafs yet found a way to scramble out of it. Second, I’ll ask the question about if the team should be panicked. Third, I’ll wonder about what makes Matthew Knies so special a player – even in the small sample size he’s been part of.

Quick Hit One: If the New Jersey Devils Can Do It, Why Not the Maple Leafs?

Can a team come back from a two-games-to-none hole and win a series? The New Jersey Devils just completed that feat. Here are the scores from Round 1 between the Devils and the New York Rangers. 

In Game 1, the New York Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils by a score of 5-1 in New Jersey. In Game 2, the Rangers once again beat the Devils by the same  5-1 score. Ten goals to two goals. That’s a whipping.

Then the teams went into the Rangers’ home ice for Game 3. The Devils won 2-1 in overtime. In Game 4, the Devils won again by a score of 3-1. 

In Game 5, the Devils kept their winning streak alive and shut the Rangers out by a score of 4-0. In Game 6, the Rangers came back to win on their home ice by a score of 5-2. Then, in Game 7 in New Jersey, the Devils moved on by shutting out the Rangers by a score of 4-0.

If one is looking for an example of how a team that’s behind two games to none and heading into the opponent’s building can win, it happened not more than a week ago. There’s hope yet.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Maurice & Keefe, Samsonov & Knies

Quick Hit Two: Is It Time to Panic?

What’s so interesting about this series is that the Maple Leafs are outplaying, but not outscoring, the Panthers. There are two things the Maple Leafs need to do to come back in this series. First, the team needs better performances from key players like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and William Nylander. Nylander came on strong in the third period of Game 2, but he could have been dominant throughout the entire game. He wasn’t.

William Nylander needs a goal or two to get going.

As a result, the Maple Leafs have struggled offensively. They’ve scored only two goals each in their last four playoff games. Panthers’ goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped them; or, did the Maple Leafs stop themselves? 

The second thing is that the Maple Leafs simply need to eliminate their simple mistakes, particularly turnovers. They have been costly. A case can be made that the Maple Leafs would have won Game 2 if those mistakes had not been made. 

It’s probably easier not to give up a goal than to score one. That’s what the team needs to focus on. Don’t leave Ilya Samsonov hanging out to dry.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 3-2 Loss to the Panthers

Quick Hit Three: What Is It About Matthew Knies?

Could Matthew Knies already be one of those players who simply can and does make things happen? The kid is only a 20-year-old. He only just joined the Maple Leafs after his college career ended. 

Yet, despite only playing four regular-season games, Knies just seems to be on the ice when good things happen. He was part of the play that led to three overtime game-winning goals. Things happen when he’s on the ice. 

Does that mean that Knies’ absence is more significant and larger than people might think? I honestly don’t know. However, there’s something about this youngster.

Knies seems to be more in the middle of the action – even with his limited experience – than the team’s Core Four. How much of a problem is it that he’s gone? We’ll see.

Related: Four Songs Maple Leafs’ Nation Should Have on Its Playlist Today 



  1. Al Mac

    May 6, 2023 at 7:26 am

    I sometimes wonder if Leaf core players stats may be a bit padded due to the style of play during regular season? Not saying they aren’t talented, but there’s other players around the league that don’t quite get the superstar points, yet have more complete games. Thus, for the Leaf’s core, it’s possibly not so natural for them to switch to playoff style where the 200 ft game is paramount. Sure, Marner is a Selke Nominee, yet we all saw what happened last game. Even a pee wee player understands the importance of getting the puck out quickly and cleanly. Meh…I’m tired of losing, but there’s a sliver of hope…and I mean sliver. Beating a team 4 of the next 5 who are firing on all cylinders is a big mountain to climb. Oops, sorry, not mountain to climb, more a self dug hole to climb out of 😉

  2. Jon Harding

    May 6, 2023 at 7:54 am

    I don’t have any answers on how this series sits going into Sunday. The playoffs are more about how good a team can become as opposed to how good it is going in. I’m not seeing another level with the Leafs yet in this series, which is on them, Keefe and a credit to Florida. I think the Leafs have the potential and talent but I’ve always doubted the will of this group, and that won’t change until they prove me wrong.

    • gfinale

      May 6, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Totally agreed and I doubt we ever do see it while having this so called core 5. So far, they have won 1 series in 7 years when they were substantially outplayed 5 of those 6 games.

  3. gfinale

    May 6, 2023 at 10:00 am

    Let’s be clearer. The so called core 5 have scored NO goals in the 2 games of round 2 so far. The problem is almost entirely on them as the other players including Bunting, Knies, Kerfoot and O’Reilly have 4 goals in 2 games. Those core 5 are playing like they have for the past 6 years of poor production in the playoffs. When the going gets tougher, they disappear, nothing new. Kerfoot was rightfully blamed for the screw up in backpassing just before getting out of his own zone last playoffs. This playoffs Matthews screwed up in a similar way but wrongfully has not encountered the same treatment. He could have easily pulled the puck close to him and ensured the exit from their zone but was not thinking defensively.

  4. Pingback: A New Voice Is Needed: Gallant and Rangers Agree to Part Ways

  5. Roy Peters

    May 6, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    The writer needs to understand that Nylander started to play better with O’Reilly as center, I hope Keefe realised that fact and he needs to have 2 top lines going and the the other two lines are just supposed to play even plus minus. I don’t have any faith in keefe as a coach he should of been fired two years ago.

  6. Pingback: Matthew Knies' Injury: Do Only Maple Leafs' Fans Find It Ugly?

Leave a Reply

More News