What an ugly game. The Toronto Maple Leafs dominated the first period and didn’t score, then the Seattle Kraken made some great in-game adjustments and simply took over the game. The 5-1 score about says it all.
It has also been an ugly start to the new calendar year for the Maple Leafs. The team not only hasn’t had good goalie play, but it hasn’t played the kind of team defense it had regularly been throwing in the face of the opposition. Does Conor Timmins (now a healthy scratch) make that big a difference (only kidding – well, sort of)?
Over the Maple Leafs’ last two games, the team has given up 10 goals in total. That’s obviously too many goals if the Maple Leafs hope to win.
Takeaway One: Matt Murray Struggled
There’s not a lot to say about Matt Murray in goal (or Ilya Samsonov for that matter). Neither Murray nor Samsonov have been good enough in their past few games. Fortunately, the Maple Leafs have been able to hang around by their scoring. That offensive production might be making the goalie’s play look even better than it has looked.
Although it’s a long season and every once in a while a team just simply loses, this kind of play is getting more regular than Maple Leafs’ fans have gotten used to. The simple fact is that both Maple Leafs’ goalies need to play better. Giving up four goals or more in four of the past five games won’t carry any team far.
The question remains whether the poor play falls simply on the goalies or the team in front of them. It might make some sense to look at the team because, while one goalie could grow cold and lose his focus, why both goalies at the same time?
Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Nylander, Dahlstrom, Gaudette & Woll
Takeaway Two: The Maple Leafs Looked Discouraged
I won’t spend much time on this takeaway, because Maple Leafs’ head coach Sheldon Keefe said it best in the post-game media interview.
As coach Keefe noted, “It is a tough game to play when you are constantly pulling the puck out of your net. I thought that took the life away from us a little bit, but I am not going to overthink that part of the game.”
Keefe added, “It is a funny game there. We didn’t do enough offensively to really gain traction and keep ourselves afloat.”
I agree. The team seemed discouraged. Instead of shooting with confidence, the Maple Leafs’ players seemed to want to pass to someone else.
Related: Four Takeaways in Maple Leafs’ 6-5 Shootout Loss to Blues
Takeaway Three: Seattle Is a Good Team
Seattle deserves a lot of credit for the win. They were really solid after the Maple Leafs dominated them during the first period. Can anyone imagine a better Maple Leafs showing than the first period? They limited the Kraken to three shots on goal – just three shots. That was the lowest number of shots the Kraken has ever had in its two-year NHL history. Not a long history, but still not a lot of shots.
I can hear the two different locker rooms between the first and second periods. In the Maple Leafs’ locker room, the message had to be “Just keep doing what you’ve been doing. The puck will start going in.” In the Kraken locker room, the work was to strategize what could be done to wrest the game back in their favor.
We know which message worked. The Kraken showed balanced scoring; and, Martin Jones played well. Last night, that was enough.
Related: MAPLE LEAFS RANDOM THOUGHTS: JUSTIN HOLL’S VALUE TO THE TEAM
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