The Leafs need to find a way to bottle up their effort against the Blues

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
2 months ago
Are you feeling frustrated and/or bewildered over the Toronto Maple Leafs’ dominant performance over the red-hot St. Louis Blues? You’re not alone. Tuesday night’s outing showcased everything that’s wrong with the Leafs, and simultaneously, everything that can be right with them.
If you know this team, it was totally predictable, though. Down Morgan Rielly (suspension) as well as John Tavares (flu) and Mitch Marner (flu), the Leafs put on a defensive clinic outshooting the visiting St. Louis Blues 30-15 on route to an impressive 4-1 victory.
It makes no sense, but it’s so Maple Leafs.
It’s probably wishful thinking but hopefully, this is the beginning of something special for Sheldon Keefe and company. On Saturday night, a game filled with theatrics, the Leafs fell 5-3 to their provincial rivals as they officially hit the 50-game mark of the 2023-24 regular season.
Mercifully, game No. 51 had a bit of a different tune. Missing $29-plus million in salary from their lineup, all the Leafs did was go out and turn in one of their most complete efforts of the season.
It makes no sense, but again, it’s so Maple Leafs.
Now, if only the team could find a way to bottle that game up and transfer it toward the rest of the season, they would be in big-time business. For the first time in a while, Toronto played with desperation, purpose, and intent. From the opening puck drop, they were hungry, and most importantly, they carried a hard-nosed identity throughout the entirety of the game. They didn’t feel bad for themselves. They took it to the opponent. And thus, they were rewarded for their hard work and determination.
It was a simple effort. Just another stern reminder of what this team is capable of when they apply themselves.
Furthermore, dating back to last season, the Leafs are now 15-2-1 without Morgan Rielly in the lineup. How. Does. That. Even. Make. Sense?
At the end of the day, the Leafs will take the two points and move on. It was a huge victory. That said, it’s understandable to be a bit frustrated about the whole situation.
Why can’t they play like that all the time? Well, they have 31 games to figure that answer out.

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