Redemption after laying 'egg of the year'
March 16, 2017, 8:56 AM ET [387 Comments]
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Those of us who watched Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers can all agree it was the ugliest, most disorganized game of the year. It was disaster from puck drop as the Leafs gave up the first goal quicker than I could drink the neck of my beer. That’s bad, really bad and it only got worse as the game went on. I can only imagine the feedback from Babcock after first intermission let alone the aftermath when the game ended.
It must have been scary being one of the players waiting for Babs to come into the room after the game. That’s how bad they played; it was atrocious!
Now that we have covered that; it’s time to move on to something more important. Tonight’s game versus Tampa Bay, it’s as big of a game the Leafs have had all season. Actually, it’s one of the most important games they have had in years.
As of now the Leafs are sitting one point out of a wild card spot and have a game in hand on both Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders. Toronto got passed by the Lightning on Tuesday when they beat Ottawa 2-1. Tampa may be beat up and are nursing a number of injuries, but the bottom line is they are playing really well with four wins in a row and are 7-2-1 in their last ten games.
The Leafs really have to narrow in on a couple of key players and they will make things much easier on themselves if they can do so. Nikita Kucherov is by far Tampa’s most dangerous forward; quite possible with Stamkos in the lineup Kucherov is still their guy. He’s been hot lately with six points in his last five games, but is extremely dangerous whenever he is on the ice.
Another player to keep an eye on is Victor Hedman who has really bursted out in terms of production and importance to the Lightning. He’s logging around 23 minutes per game and is a force both offensively and defensively.
If Toronto can contain these two players they will surely make life easier on themselves tonight when they square off against another team that is scratching their way into the playoff picture with a late season push.
It would be great if Leafs newcomer from Tampa (Brian Boyle) was able to sneak one passed Tampa’s goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy who has taken over as the true number one after Steve Yzerman traded away Ben Bishop.
It’s a 7:30 start tonight and the Leafs better show up on time or the playoff dream is going to be slipping away.
It’s been a great ride this season, expecting little but being pleasantly surprised with a fresh, young team that has the skill and drive (most nights) to get the job done and impress us fans after countless disappointing years of hockey.
Babcock in the overall picture must be thrilled with how things have gone but you can bet your ass he wants the playoffs just as much as any of fans or players. He’s a natural born champion and will be riding the boys hard down the final stretch here. It’s going to be one wild ride here, so buckle up and enjoy!
The Maple Leafs need to get back to their hard fore-checking game and have more puck possession time in the offensive zone. That to me is where they thrive, so hopefully they have the afterburner’s fired up for tonight and give 100% effort after that abysmal showing on Tuesday.
The Panthers? Reimer in net? Ekblad out?
That was a gift from the heavens and the Leafs blew it.
Ned to get back on track tonight with a big win and climb back into a playoff spot!
Have a great day, thanks for reading!
Go Leafs Go!