Toronto Maple Leafs: Good Luck + Kapanen Needs to Play
Toronto Maple Leafs: Marlies Forward Grades Part Three
The Toronto Maple Leafs got lucky.
Down 2-0 and without one of their best players (Kadri) the Leafs were looking pretty screwed. And yet, thanks to some luck that went Boston’s way in the first two games, and also some incredibly goaltending (but mostly luck) the series is now 2-1.
For the Leafs, they can take heart in the fact that they still haven’t really played a good game, that their best players (Matthews and Marner) haven’t yet, but are very capable of blowing up and tilting the series in the Leafs favor. If I’m the Bruins, I’m thinking about how we managed to get through three games without either of the Leafs two best players dominating like they can, and lamenting the fact that we didn’t fully take advantage of it.
The best reason for optimism for Leafs fans is that they still haven’t seen the full abilities of either Marner or Matthews yet. This team has another gear and if they get their I don’t think there’s a team in the NHL that can handle them.
OK SO FAR
I might be in the minority here, but I didn’t think the first two games of the series were that bad. And, if I’m honest, I was getting pretty sick of hearing people talk about Marchand and friends on the Bruins top line. They’re good. We get it. But really, all they did was kick some ass on the power-play. If we throw out the third period of game two (the game was over after two periods) the Leafs only allowed one more 5v5 goal than the Bruins in each of game one and game two. This is not great – and it may even be cherry picking – but I point it out because the first two games weren’t these massive beatdowns that everyone is making them out to be.
More from Editor In Leaf
Yeah, the Leafs lost, but I think the doom and gloom was a bit exaggerated: The Bruins aren’t that great, the Leafs aren’t that bad and if a couple goal posts happened to go in, or if the Leafs’ goalie showed up for the first two games, we’d have seen different results.
So I’m optimistic.
One final note: I think the Toronto Maple Leafs need to stop worrying so much about line matching the Bruins. If the Leafs want to, they can skate the Bruins into the ground. The Leafs are one of the NHL’s fastest teams and have one of the most mobile blue-lines. If they stop worrying so much about matching up, and just worry about skating the crap out of whoever they’re on the ice against, they’ll do much better.
The Bruins should be afraid of the Leafs skating and depth, but as long as the Leafs are trying to matchup physically and defensively, they’re playing right into Boston’s hands.
Kasperi Kapanen needs more ice time. Last night he only got eight minutes, but since he gets a breakaway or hits the post every other time he’s on the ice, he clearly needs to play more. Yeah the fourth line got caved in (two rookies and a washed up geezer who hasn’t played in weeks, what do you expect?) but Kasperi Kapanen is not the seventh best winger on the Leafs. Playing him on the fourth line only hurts the Leafs at this point.
Nothing against Marleau, Brown or Hyman, but the Leafs have to get Kapanen’s speed on the ice for more than eight minutes a game and so one of those guys is going to have to give up his spot.
Thanks for reading.