Leafs week review X3
Such was the busyness of my schedule and the Buds schedule I have not got around to writing my weekly review for three weeks! Oooops. But here we are again with a bumper edition. I have fortunately been gifted some time off from my studies because of a snowpocalypse in England which has allowed me to focus all my energy into writing this wonderful review of the last few weeks.
So since we last did a review the Leafs have played nine games – with a 6-1-2 record. On Valentines day we hosted the Blue Jackets and demolished them to a tune of 6 goals to three. Nazem Kadri scored a lovely hat trick to give his love back to all the Leafs fans. Nice.
On February 17th we headed to the reigning Stanley Cup champs the Pittsburgh Penguins and got our butts handed to us by a score of 5-3. To be fair the Buds did okay in this one as the game was tied at 3-3 heading into the third.
The next night we went to Detroit to face off against the Wings. Auston Matthews won the game with just 31 seconds left on the clock to send the good guys home happy.
Three home games came next against Florida, the Islanders and Boston. Florida were dispatched 1-0 thanks to a first period JVR goal that went through the wickets of Roberto Luongo – the 38 year old goaltender who is signed until 2022!
The Islanders came next and were handed a blow to their play off chances as the Buds beat them 4-3 after a shootout. Auston Matthews also limped off the ice with a injury. Not ideal.
A Matthewsless Leafs then welcomed the Bruins to town on Saturday where they played a pretty darn good game of hockey to beat their potential first round opponents 4-3.
Back to back games in Florida this past week led to two overtime/shootout losses before we head to Washington on Saturday for the outdoor game.
The playoff picture
We have known for a while what the picture looks like in regards to three places in the Atlantic division. But the Eastern Conference has plenty of questions around it. The Wildcard spots are currently occupied by New Jersey and Columbus but Carolina, NY Islanders and Florida are all breathing down their necks. Philly have really hot up recently going 9-0-1 in their last 10 and sit comfortably in a playoff spot.
If the season ended today we would have a Tampa v Columbus, Toronto v Boston, Washington v New Jersey and Philly v Pittsburgh opening round.
In the west we would have: Nashville v Anahaim, Vegas v Dallas, Winnipeg v Minnesota and San Jose v LA. Some pretty tasty looking matchups!
Mitch Marner treated himself to a point frenzy over the last nine games – scoring five goals and five assists. Nazem Kadri bagged himself nine points – including a hatty. JVR showed that he could be our best ‘rental’ as he scored some important goals and six points overall.
Mitch Marner I applaud you. He started slow but since the start of February he has been electric. Matthews has 50 points in 53 games – how many games has he been fully healthy for? Impressive.
Player of the last few weeks
Washington on Saturday. Buffalo on Monday and then Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Buds schedule gets far less crazy now until the final few weeks of the season. The team can recharge and get some practice time before the playoffs start.
Is it time to start resting some players in preparation for the playoffs? Give more time to McElhinney? Bring back Justin Holl? Play Leivo more?