TOR@STL L 6-4
The Toronto Maple Leafs were in “The gateway city” on Saturday to finish a four game road trip that saw 1win and 2 losses so far, in the California leg. St.Louis is a very good team with a new coach in Mike Yeo who has his squad at the top of the Western Conference. In the last four years the Blues have finished the season with lots of points. 99, 107, 109, 111 are the point totals each year starting with last season and working back through history.
Toronto on the other hand can only dream of a 100 point season.
The Leafs woes through the neutral zone are being exposed on a nightly basis and the lack of protection for Freddy Andersen means he is being hung out to dry most nights.
Just before the midway mark of the 1st period the Leafs scored on a beautiful shot to the opposite corner by Andreas Brogman. Matt Martin had the puck over centre ice and as he skated across the blue line he passed it cross ice to a rushing Brogman who made no mistake scoring his 2nd NHL goal. That was the only scoring of the opening frame.
In the 2nd stanza it was all St.Louis. The Blues owned the Leafs and although the shots were 14-13 in the period it didn’t look that close. The Blues scored three goals in seven minutes to take a two goal lead into the third.
The 3rd period got off to a crazy start with three goals in the first 2:24. Bozak took a pass from Marner who was behind the net and buried it into an empty net. Unfortunately two of the goals were scored by St. Louis, making it a 5-2 hockey game. At 7:52 of the 3rd period the St.Louis Captain Alex Pietrangelo scored his second of the game to give his team a 6-2 lead. The Leafs did not lie down though. They kept coming and at 10:10, Connor Brown cut the lead in half on a 2-on-1 tip in from a Zack Hyman pass. Tyler Bozak would score a tip in from the doorstep as Matt Martin found him from cross ice and put it on his stick for the easy play. That’s as close as the Buds would get as there top line was shutdown and there will need to be some soul searching done among the players. Is it possible expectations got too high too soon?
Toronto started the season on fire with six wins and one loss. Since then the Blue and White have won two and lost seven. It’s a tale of two teams with the real team somewhere in the middle. One thing is clear, if they don’t right the ship soon then it might be too much to come back from later on. The Leafs are in 3rd place in their division thanks to that great start but they are only six points out of last place in the Conference.