Two games into the 2020-21 NHL season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are 1-1. That’s not terrible but the problem is, their win against the Montreal Canadiens in overtime wasn’t exactly pretty and to make matters worse, the way Toronto caved against the pressure of the Ottawa Senators on Friday was an indication there’s a lot of work still to do. Both Auston Matthews and John Tavares know it and they’ve not been afraid to share their feelings on the matter.
As much as the Senators looked good in a 5-3 win over the Maple Leafs, according to Matthews, the Leafs took their foot off the gas. Plain and simple, they showed little to no response when the Sens started to mount their comeback and even though the Leafs had the lead twice, there was almost this feeling like the group was never really going to get back in it.
Following the game, both Matthews and Tavares admitted the team was simply too lazy in the way they played. “I think we just played too loose”, he said. He acknowledge that the Senators are a “team that works hard” and said they are “not going to go away.” But, after giving the Senators credit, the real issue for Matthews was that the Leafs had it coming. “That’s on all of us,” he said.
He’s probably right too in that the Senators came roaring back and scored four goals in a row. The Leafs simply didn’t have a response.
The Maple Leafs Get a Chance to Make It Right
There’s not much the Leafs can do about Friday’s game other than to learn from it. We “gotta make sure that we put our foot on the gas and (show) no mercy,” Matthews said. “Luckily we get another chance tomorrow.”
Tavares said the team had a “really poor response after we took the lead.” He added, “We gave them life and then we weren’t able to establish our game again. We got sloppy and that obviously led to too many good looks for them.”
The Leafs will play the Senators at 7pm ET time on Saturday and try to show they can play a strong game from start to finish. If they do, it will be their first such game this season.
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