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Three Takeaways from the Maple Leafs’ 5-3 Loss to the Sharks

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost by a 5-3 score to the San Jose Sharks. What are three take-aways from the game?

It’s really pretty hard to find good things to say about the Toronto Maple Leafs’ latest effort against the San Jose Sharks. They came into the game well-rested and then simply played another unsuccessful game and eventually lost by a score of 5-3. 

In this post, I’ll look at three takeaways from the game. 

Related: Maple Leafs’ William Nylander Will Shatter Best Single Season Totals

Takeaway #1: ​​Michael Hutchinson Couldn’t Stop the Puck When He Needed To

Michael Hutchinson let in four goals in 30 shots on the net, and his lack of stopping the puck cost the team in Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Sharks. It was a tough night as he was beaten several times. The Maple Leafs’ faithful responded with a chorus of boos. Although the Maple Leafs kept pressuring the Sharks, they simply couldn’t find the net. 

Maple Leafs’ pressure or not, the scoring wasn’t there yet again. As a result, the team couldn’t overcome mistakes in net. Given Hutchinson’s less-than-stellar play tonight, it’s probably fortunate that Petr Mrazek seems to be healed and will travel with the team on their coming three-game road trip. It might be the 31-year-old Hutchinson’s last back-up game in a while with Mrazek returning from an injury.

Takeaway #2: So Far, the Maple Leafs’ Power Play Isn’t Working

The Maple Leafs, for all the hype about changes on the power-play unit, simply aren’t scoring. The movement seems to be there, but the success is not. The Maple Leafs simply couldn’t finish once again. In fact, the Maple Leafs have only scored 11 goals during the team’s first five games of the season.

After the game, Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe noted that “Special teams, or at least our power play, couldn’t be the difference that we needed it to be, especially early in the game. As a result, we are chasing it all the way through.” 

He also commented about the team’s power-play struggles. He thought that the first-unit power-play was “Just not on the same page, fighting it, not executing — a lot of the same stuff we saw last season, to be honest. Not nearly good enough.” 

Keefe was right.

Takeaway #3: Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner Are Just Not Leading the Team

Auston Matthews might have returned from offseason wrist surgery, but he just hasn’t really returned to form. He doesn’t have a point in two games. And Mitch Marner has a single point in five games. That’s simply not good enough to lead the team to a win. 

Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews Mitch Marner Maple Leafs

After the game, it seemed as if the media was critical of Nick Ritchie’s play on the first line. But Keefe would have none of it and seemed to protect Ritchie. He noted that nothing about Ritchie’s game was lazy. 

In fact, when he was asked why he took Ritchie off the top line, he said “I think you are looking at it the wrong way. We get scored on. It was more to me that the line wasn’t going today. You should be asking as many questions about Matthews and Marner today as you should be Ritch.”

A Couple Positive Notes

It would be remiss to not name the few positive notes from the game for the Maple Leafs. First, Ondrej Kase had his first Maple Leafs’ goal on a breakaway when he blocked a Tomas Hertl shot and skated in all alone. Given his concussion history, when the Czech winger ran over referee Wes McCauley, you had to wonder. However, both player and official were unhurt on the play. 

Second, William Nylander’s recorded another assist when his shot bounced off John Tavares over the line for his first to make it 4-3. But the team couldn’t come back. Nylander does keep scoring.

Related: Can Maple Leafs Sheldon Keefe Win with a Different Team in 2021-22?



  1. gfinale

    October 23, 2021 at 8:56 am

    Finally one of the ~11 mil players scores a goal after 5 games…even if it just bounced off his arm!

  2. gfinale

    October 23, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Hutchinson really blew at least 2 goals but we know he can be better and hopefully he will be next game. this was his first of the season. He was far from the only problem with most of the rest of it lying on Marner, Matthews shoulders. Marner was lousy in the playoffs and now lousy for 5 games into the season! No goals in 2 and 5 games is unacceptable for the two of them. Marner shouldn’t be on pp1 at all until he gets his act together. Spezza and Nylander should be on pp1 instead.

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