December 02 2013 09:28AM
Jerred Smithson has played 12 games with Toronto, averaged 10:19 and recorded exactly one shot on goal.
One month into the season, and the Leafs' biggest struggle is offence. Anybody who saw that happening, raise your hand high into the air. No you didn't. Put it down, you liar.
Toronto was 5th in the NHL in goals last season and their biggest strength is the amount of speed and skill they have on the wings. Another strength is the sheer number of quality puck-moving defenceman they employ, so it should be a little surprising that the team is tied for 14th in the NHL with 2.67 goals per game. Michael Traikos notes that the Leafs scored 1.92 goals per game in November. When you break it down further, the reason becomes a little more apparent.
November 30 2013 09:04PM
Losing streaks suck, and it feels like it's been a long time since there's been any sort of air of vulnerability with regards to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Even during the stretches last year when they were really chasing the game, they were winning games. The Leafs wrap up November with 11 points in 13 games. Last season, their worst 13-game stretch was 12 points, but that's a little corrupted thanks to a five-game losing streak from Games 25 to 29. The worry with the Leafs isn't the record, it's just that they haven't strung together any good play over a decent stretch since the solid start.
It's not consistency that's the issue, it's that the team is too consistent. Every game is the same story: the Leafs get out-shot, they'll take too many penalties, and the goaltending has to be close to perfect if they want a win. No different in Montreal Saturday night. They were out-shot 39-36 despite trailing for almost the entire game, and lost 4-2 to Le Club Hockey.
November 30 2013 03:19PM
Just about everything that can go wrong did go wrong in November, so I guess it's good news that the Maple Leafs finally wrap up November. They're still 14-9-3 (or 14-12 in real life) and can be no lower than the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after tonight. I think that as much as their success last season was overstated, I think that determining the Maple Leafs have already hit their demise at the end of November is premature.
The Leafs end their month, and this three-game road trip, with a game in Montreal tonight against Le Club Hockey. I have no interest in re-hashing the Leafs issues, so today's LGD is just going to be fun.
November 29 2013 09:03PM
The Leafs are just coming up to the tough part of their schedule, but in the last three games they've dropped points to both Columbus and Buffalo, two of the worst teams in the National Hockey League. Is it worth reminding the reader how important these points are going into a stretch where you face San Jose, Boston, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Chicago in the next two weeks?
The ship may have been righted tonight. Even though the Leafs were playing the Sabres, the only team that's been worse at shot differential this season than the Maple Leafs, in the early going it looked like the Leafs system was working as it was supposed to. In a frantic first few minutes, the Leafs took away possession opportunities from the Sabres, and got an early goal off an odd-man rush, and controlled the shot clock for the next period-and-a-half.
But that wasn't enough. The Leafs let the Sabres back into the game, took some penalties, and wound up losing 3-2 in overtime on a Christian Ehrhoff wrist shot.
November 29 2013 12:46PM
Collecting and commenting on the major stories surrounding the Maple Leafs as recounted by friendly members of the mainstream media and bloggers. If you have a story you'd like to have featured, sent me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So what's our gripe this week? Breakouts and penalty kill? Breakout and penalty kill it is.