HEAD SCRATCHER (POST GAME OPINIONS)
Sigh. The Maple Leafs lose a tough one to the Capitals by a score of 4-2. This comes after the Leafs left Death Valley with a 2-1-0 record. It seemed like the Leafs would be playing with confidence after achieving such a feat, but that confidence was no where to be seen in this game.
Does this mean that it is panic time for the Leafs? Absolutely not! But there is no excuses for a lack of effort in the first period especially since two of the goals were questionable thanks to sub-par officiating. If the Leafs are to take anything out of this game, it is that they need to always come prepared to play. Otherwise, the game will go in the other team's favour and two valuable points will be gone. But in the Leaf's defense, they had just returned from California after a long flight east. Still, it is inexcusable not to come prepared to play.
Here are three reasons why the Leafs could not come away with the win:
1) A Slow Start
It was clear from the opening face off that the Leafs looked out of it. Pucks were not bouncing in their favor, and a few questionable penalties, leading to two power play goals against. Not to mention, the SOG totals after the first period were 14-2 in favour of Washington. It turned out to be the turning point of this game as the Leafs were only able to score twice before an empty netter sealed the deal.
2) The Special Teams were sloppy
The penalty kill has always been a problem for the Leafs this year, but two goals against on four penalties is unacceptable. So is zero power play goals on three opportunities. Either way, the special teams let the Leafs down this afternoon in every way possible.
3) Missed opportunities
The second period was all Leafs. They had full control of the puck, they took a majority of the shots, and were given three straight power plays. Unfortunately, the Maple Leafs were only able to find the back of the net once, despite all of the pressure and great opportunities. And by the time the third period was nearly over, it was clear the Leafs wouldn't win.
My prediction for this game was:
"It will be close for most of the game until one team scores late in the third and pop in an empty net goal as well."It is disappointing that the Leafs could not win this one, but my prediction was right. The score count is now: Right-2 Wrong-0.
The Leafs will conclude their road trip with a visit to Detroit to visit the Red Wings on Tuesday. Hope to see you then!