Once again, the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the NHL season on a tear. They stormed out of the gate, winning six of their first seven games. The team was also scoring at a monstrous clip. Alas, just as local natives were taking part in their October tradition of planning the Stanley Cup parade routes, Toronto began to cool off.
The Leafs have to be psyched the month of November is just about over. In eleven games this month, they’ve only won four. The way they lost their last two isn’t exactly a point of pride for the club. After getting their doors blown off by the Columbus Blue Jackets to the tune of 6-0, they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-5 in a shootout two days later.
Bear in mind, a loss to the Penguins is nothing to be ashamed of. That is unless, at one point, you had a three goal lead. And if you go through the entire third period and overtime without a single shot on net. These factors might make a loss a little less comforting.
This is especially the case for coach Randy Carlyle. Now that Toronto is having more than a few issues on the ice, the man behind the bench has admitted its causing him to lose a little sleep.
“Well, I don’t sleep well,” he said. “I get stress headaches. I get a lot of things that you guys probably never experience. But that’s all part of it. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. There’s an adrenalin that comes with it, but there’s also some pretty big lows.
“And nights like (the loss to Pittsburgh) bring you to Earth in a hurry.”
You don’t have to remind anyone on the Leafs roster about how bad it is losing a three goal lead. It was just six months ago when Toronto was up 4-1 on the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the opening playoff round. In ten minutes the club went from planning their trip to the next round to being eliminated in a 5-4 loss. Something like Wednesday’s bout with the Penguins most likely dug up some frightening flashbacks for Carlyle and his roster.
More concerning is the fact that the Leafs should, technically, be solid in net. However, they’ve been a hot mess lately. Despite running with a combo of James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier, they can’t seem to consistently keep pucks out of the net. Reimer followed up his 49 save performance against the Washington Capitals by giving up six to Columbus. Bernier was taken to task by Pittsburgh, allowing five goals.
Obviously two bad performances by your respective goalies is nothing to freak out about. At the same time, its enough to keep Carlyle awake at night. If he wants to start sleeping better, Toronto better start fixing their problems.