The Toronto Maple Leafs were obliterated last night by the New York Islanders by a score of 7-2. Although the Maple Leafs had a strong first period, the game turned on a great save by Islanders’ goalie Ilya Sorokin. Sorokin had an outstanding game for the Islanders, and his incredible save on Erik Gustafsson was the kicker.
It’s great to see a goalie make such tough saves, but not if your team is the one getting stoned. Part of me worries when I see a game like this one; then, part of me says that a loss is a loss. Might as well lose by five goals than by an Alex Kerfoot shootout goal in the ninth round (if you’re on the other side of this).
Perhaps the team will come out harder in Florida on Thursday just to avoid this feeling of frustration.
Takeaway One: Just Too Many Maple Leafs Mistakes Did Them In
Face it, the Maple Leafs had a rough game defensively against the Islanders. Sure, credit to the Islanders for the pressure that caused the turnovers. However, that does not negate the fact that there were – in fact – turnovers and bad choices galore.
The scary thing is that, if the Maple Leafs can be pressured into tons of mistakes tonight, isn’t that an invitation for other teams to mimic what happened? Certainly, there’s some game film for the Tampa Bay Lightning to watch.
The Maple Leafs had far too many defensive problems and turned the puck over far too many times. There was a lot of running around and poor puck decisions. Timothy Liljegren had a tough night.
It would be wrong to ignore what happened. These kinds of errors need to be fixed if the team hopes to move past the first round of the postseason. Perhaps it’s also not a time to get goofy about a loss.
We will see.
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Acciari, Nylander, Samsonov & Brodie
Takeaway Two: Mitch Marner Becomes Fourth Maple Leafs’ Player to Log Two 90-Point Seasons In a Row
In some rare good news on this night, Mitch Marner reached an impressive accomplishment. He recorded his second 90-point season in a row. Maple Leafs’ fans might be getting used to his accomplishments. However, it is impressive.
Having a single 90-point season is no small feat. However, for Marner to do it in consecutive seasons puts him in rare Maple Leafs’ company. He now joins the ranks of franchise legends like Doug Gilmour, Darryl Sittler, and Lanny McDonald. They are the only other players in Maple Leafs’ history to do it. It was exactly 30 seasons ago that Gilmour reached the mark last.
Marner has established himself as an elite NHL player. He’s certainly become this year’s leader on the team. For now, although it didn’t seem like it tonight, the focus is on the upcoming playoffs. But, what about next season? Can Marner do it for a third in a row?
Here at NHLTradeTalk, we wish congratulations to Marner on this well-deserved accomplishment.
Related: WHAT HAS CALLE JARNKROK’S SUCCESS TAUGHT MAPLE LEAFS’ CRITICS?
Takeaway Three: Time to Quickly Forget This Game and Look Ahead
It’s time for the Maple Leafs to put this game behind them – and quickly – so the team can focus on the future. So here’s the team’s next week.
The Maple Leafs have a coming game against the Florida Panthers. They will meet these same Panthers three times before the end of the season. The word was that Ilya Samsonov won’t be on the remainder of the trip with his new child expected to be born soon back in Toronto.
Hopefully, the team can put tonight’s game behind them and focus on playing their best hockey on Thursday. Good luck to the Maple Leafs!
Related: Maple Leafs’ Quick Hits: Scoring, New Line Combos & Acciari
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March 22, 2023 at 12:17 am
My three takeaways from tonight. Interesting lineup tonight, playing a physical team & Schenn not in the lineup. Keefe has gone to the well one too many times having Kerfoot on Matthews wing. He’s a bottom six winger who can fill a top 6 position occasionally but not full time. Gustafson doesn’t make as many mistakes as Rielly does.
March 22, 2023 at 12:45 am
My three takeaways:
1. No Will To Win
2. No consistency game to game
3. Questionable commitment to overall D
4. Questionable coaching decisions
5. Core not leading by example…lol, when have they ever?
6. Regular season means diddly squat.
7. Team continues to suffer from same issues year over year.
8. Team culture built upon min wage players providing tenacity and commitment, while core players like Marner, Matthews, Nylander bask in individual regular season records.
9. Leafs have not solved the goaltending issue. Even though they’ve had plenty of “years” now to do so.
10. Top heavy team that can easily be fore checked and intimidated.
11. Oh, I’m sorry, did I say three takeaways? At the least I’ll leave it here. This team is going nowhere come playoffs.
March 22, 2023 at 4:13 am
Not going to pile on because the comments made here are all accurate. Some nights with this team, Sheldon Keefe just needs to help coach them through it. It’s his job. But it doesn’t always happen. One would imagine there is also a point with about five games left that his insistent tinkering needs to give way to consistency and continuity. Maybe the lack of will seen over the many past seasons keeps him juggling. Don’t seem to see as much of that elsewhere – but I could be wrong.
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