It was the second time in less than a week they put up a pathetic effort at home. Just four days prior to their game against the Blue Jackets they were defeated 4-2 by the Nashville Predators. Toronto missed a crucial opportunity to earn valuable points during a five-game homestand. The Maple Leafs only managed to pick up six out of a possible 10 points while losing by a combined score of 10-2 in their two losses.
Toronto had already played the Blue Jackets this season and looked bad in a 5-2 loss on Oct. 25. The Maple Leafs should have had all the motivation they needed to have one of their better games of the season because of that previous poor effort in Columbus. They were also playing a shorthanded Blue Jackets team as Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky missed the contest. Apparently with those two out of the lineup the Maple Leafs thought they had the night off and forgot to defend Ryan Johansen, who picked up two goals and an assist in the game.
After the pathetic effort against Nashville and the equally inexcusable performance against the Blue Jackets, Toronto wasted a favorable part of the schedule by failing to show up. The Maple Leafs had a puzzling five-game homestand as things couldn’t have started any better. They combined to defeat the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders by a score of 9-4 in the team’s first two games. They stunk up the Air Canada Centre against the Predators but rebounded by grinding out a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals.
The Nashville loss was quickly forgiven after the Maple Leafs won a battle between two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. However, it’s troubling that so quickly after the dismal effort against the Predators the team once again showed up with a lackluster performance in front of their home fans when they hosted the Blue Jackets. The loss stings twice as bad considering it’s the end of an extended homestand, and the Maple Leafs must now play three games on the road in four nights.
Picking up points against the Sabres and Islanders were a must as no team with playoff aspirations can lose to teams at the bottom of the conference standings. Defeating the Capitals was a significant win as it proved Toronto can compete against top teams in the conference. Even losing to the Predators was understandable as nobody expected the Maple Leafs to go a perfect 5-0 during the homestand. However, the loss to the Blue Jackets is unacceptable. Toronto needed at least four wins during the homestand, and they should have wanted the Columbus game more than any other given their previous outing on Oct. 25.
Now the Maple Leafs will look to rebound with three road games in four nights. It’s the type of schedule that makes a team wish they took care of business at home when they had the chance, especially when opponents on the road trip include the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens.