Monday Mailbag: Another win streak edition

Ah, the difference a bit over a week makes. The Leafs went from being 0-2-2 in their last four games to 4-2-2 in their last eight games. That looks a lot better, doesn’t it?

Anyway, let’s dive into some questions from our lovely studio audience.

I feel like a lot of their struggles this year came from coaching and player deployment. The Leafs were actually one of the better possession teams early on in the season, but once Babcock decided they go for a more chip and chase style of play, and give ice time to the Polak’s and Komarov’s, they started to slowly trend downwards. Not that that style of play doesn’t work, but it doesn’t for a team geared towards speed and offense. Things have looked better since the lineup changes, but there have certainly been some concerns with their performance all year, and it will be interesting to see what happens come playoffs.

As much as I love the idea of keeping Nylander at centre, the Matthews-Nylander combo is something dangerous that the Leafs need to keep together, especially in the potential first couple of rounds against Boston’s Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak, or Tampa’s Stamkos-Kucherov. Also, the Leafs have a strong centre depth without Nylander, of Matthews, Kadri, Bozak, and Plekanec, and then you could put Nylander or Marleau down the middle if there are injuries, and then worst case scenario, you look at Dominic Moore, or even Ben Smith and Miro Aaltonen.

While Nylander down the middle is something the Leafs should do long term, I think they should use their center depth this year to keep the dangerous duo of Nylander and Matthews together.

Malkin for Moore, Martin, and Polak, who says no?

Well, among goalies with at least 15 games played, McElhinney leads all of them in save percentage, is second in goals against average, and tied for 13th in shutouts. I don’t know about you, but those seem like Vezina quality numbers to me.

At this point, both teams seem to have their own unique way of being able to beat the Leafs, but they also have their own unique way of the Leafs being able to beat them. The Leafs have shown that they can handle both, but so far have seemed to have better success against Boston. Also, it’d be nice to finally have the Leafs exorcise those demons.

Although who knows, the Leafs could blow out Tampa tomorrow and I’d be all on board with playing them too.

If you haven’t learned anything from the last ten years, you’d already know that their version of the rat, catfish, or octopi was waffles and Leafs jerseys.

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