After winning six of their first seven games, the Toronto Maple Leafs have now lost two games in a row for the first time this season. They now face a tough task in beating the 7-1 Anaheim Ducks, a team that will surely not make it easy for the Maple Leafs to turn things around.
The Ducks are proving to be one of the Western Conference’s elite teams, winning seven straight games dating back to October 5. The only good news for the Maple Leafs is that the Ducks are coming off a five-game homestand and perhaps their luck will change for the worse on the road as they begin an eight-game road-trip tonight in Toronto.
Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, they seem to have come back down to earth after losing two in a row to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. If the Leafs want to prove that they truly are an elite hockey club, they need to start beating the teams that currently sit atop the standings and not just the basement dwellers. They now have a second chance against the Ducks on Tuesday night.
Expect tonight’s matchup to be high in goal scoring as both teams currently rank 3rd and 4th respectively in goals scored in the NHL. For Toronto, the goaltending situation went from fantastic to skeptical as Jonathan Bernier has showed some serious vulnerability ever since his counterpart James Reimer went down with an injury. Bernier hasn’t gotten any favors from his fellow teammates either, as the Maple Leafs rank 3rd in shots against with an average of 35.6. If the Maple Leafs don’t cut down on the traffic allowed against their net-minders, expect the team’s record to continue to slip.
All was well in Toronto only just a couple of weeks ago, but the naysayers have quickly awoken from their slumber after the past two poor performances. If the Maple Leafs want to keep the pressure off from a very critical ‘Leafs Nation’, they must win at home versus the Ducks tonight.