After Thursday’s horrific loss to the Stars, panic seemed to set in Leaf Nation. There were the usual concerns of lack of scoring depth, defensive lapses, etc. But lets put things in perspective.
Taking the Dallas game out, the last nine games by the Leafs have been the best they have played so far this season. Pucks were being cleared from the defensive zone quickly, players were helping each other out, and no one was being left to do things by themselves. Coupled with amazing speed and digging hard for the puck along the boards has resulted in winning 6 of those games and collecting 13 points.
The addition of Tim Gleason from Carolina has strengthened a defense corp that had lacked punch when play is in their own end. I’ve said before the return of Tyler Bozak from injury was more about getting secondary scoring than it was giving the top line a needed boost. The line of Nazem Kadri, Joffery Lupul, and Mason Raymond have been generating a lot of chances since Bozak’s return. The trio have combined for 16 points in the last seven games.
There is still, however, the goaltending carousel. Rotating Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer will likely continue at least until the trade deadline. It hasn’t hurt the Leafs much to this point. I suppose if the Leafs continue to win, no one will care who starts in net.
The idea of the starter letting in a pair of soft goals, going down by 3, changing goalies, then turning it up late in the game, like the Leafs did Saturday in Winnipeg, maybe exciting for the fans but I would just as enjoy an 8-0 beat down. And as long as they continue to do execute the way they did the last couple of weeks, what’s there to worry about?
The Steven Stamko-less Tampa Bay Lightning are in Toronto Tuesday night.