On Matt Murray, Leafs’ load management, and an abnormal amount of penalty shots: Muzzy’s Muzings

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 year ago
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs just around the corner, it was supposed to be just another inconsequential night for the Maple Leafs on route to Game 1 against Tampa.
Well, unfortunately, it’s hockey and anything can happen. Long story short, Matt Murray went down again.
Adding insult to injury, despite outing shooting their opponents 44-23, the Leafs lost the game, too.
Dylan Larkin netted his second career hat-trick as Detroit smothered Toronto 5-2 on Sunday night at Scotiabank Arena. With that, the Leafs and Wings split their four-game season series.
Calle Jarnkrok and John Tavares had the goals for the Maple Leafs, who were without Mitch Marner, Jake McCabe, and Mark Giordano. All three sat out for rest purposes. Love me some load management.
Alex Nedeljkovic was outstanding making 42 stops. Meantime, Matt Murray surrendered two goals on seven shots before leaving in the first period following a fluke collision with Lucas Raymond. Ilya Samsonov, who made 13 saves on 15 shots, took the loss to fall to 18-3-3 on home ice.
The Leafs remain four points up on Tampa with a game in hand for second in the Atlantic Division.


At this point, there’s no use even trying to make sense of things anymore. This is real-life Final Destination, and unfortunately, Matt Murray is the main character. For starters, it was a fluke injury; Raymond fell. All I can say is that the Leafs are lucky to have Joseph Woll as a bit of insurance. Who knows what happens here, but at the very least, it must bring the organization a bit of solace knowing that they have a more than competent option available to them in the AHL —if they need it. And it seems like they will.
Furthermore, I thought Murray was fighting it to begin with. Again, the team in front of him wasn’t great and deserve tons of blame, but you need to come up with a save or two sometimes. It just didn’t happen for him. Again. Coming into the game, Murray had surrendered four goals in seven of eight outings. Not exactly what you want to see out of one of your goalies this time of year.
I won’t lie, I had to double take when I heard Chris Cuthbert throw out the stat that the Leafs are now 0-for-7 on penalty shots this season. That’s a lot of attempts for 76 games. Unsurprisingly, they lead the NHL.
Any way they can get a penalty shot coach on the staff for next season?
Honestly, it’s tough – for me at least – to pick apart this loss. Firstly, they’re playing out the string right now; this game meant nothing. Additionally, no Mitch Marner, Jake McCabe and Mark Giordano meant others were playing up the lineup. Cue the mistakes. Furthermore, can you believe that was Conor Timmins’ first appearance since February 24th? Predictably, it was his bad decision on a pass that led directly to Olli Maatta’s game opening goal early in the first period. It happens. I can’t believe there’s still six games left. Personally, I would love to see Matthews and Tavares each get at least a game off..maybe two.


 In their penultimate home game of the regular season, the Leafs will host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. The two teams have split their two meetings so far this season.

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