The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to bounce back in a meaningful way tonight after a disappointing loss to the Florida Panthers. They were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 tonight in a game that saw the Leafs thoroughly outplay Tampa Bay for the majority of the game.
The Leafs do not always put together a full 60 minutes, but tonight they had a consistent effort, always trying to trap the Lightning in their own zone, and making it difficult for them to complete passes.
I have observed that it seems that Randy Carlyle or his coaching staff has made significant adjustments in either their strategy or their systems concerning the breakout of other teams from their own zone in recent games. They are much more defensively aware than they have been recently. This defensive awareness combined with their potent offense, makes them a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
This was evident tonight as many chances (including Jay McClement‘s goal and Tyler Bozak‘s empty netter) were created by turnovers that were caused in the Tampa zone. It is evident that the Leafs are able to create more of these chances lately than at any point in the season.
This is a way of using speed and skill to make sure that Toronto is continuing to put pressure upon their opponents. It seems as though the Leafs are more conscious now of creating odd-man rushes as they have been since the good showing they had last season at times.
The thing is, they have the chance to put together a full season this year, and get themselves in a good seed in the postseason.