Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars: Game Preview
The Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Dallas Stars tonight at the ACC. Puck drops at 7:30.
It’s hard to believe the Leafs are just two-weeks removed from back-to-back shutouts. Their play in recent games has been atrocious. Specifically the goaltending and defense.
A 6-5 loss to the Islanders last night was the latest in a series of comically bad late-game collapses. Going back to last week’s loss to the Stars (6-3), the Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed an insane 23 goals in four games.
This includes three games allowing six goals. In a lucky break, they happened to beat the Bruins, thus picking up two points without burning one of their games in hand. They also managed, so how, to record a decent 1-2-1 record during this streak. Three of eight points isn’t terrible when you’re playing this badly on defense.
With last night’s second in a row and seemingly 48th blown lead of the season, it’s worth looking into how bad the Leafs actually are at holding a lead after two periods.
Let this sink in: If the Toronto Maple Leafs held leads after two periods at just the average NHL rate, they would easily be in first place in the Atlantic.
They wouldn’t be talking about a playoff spot, they’d be loading up for a Cup Run.
Nine. Nine blown leads in a league where a lead after two periods is almost a sure thing.
In the NHL, when leading after two periods of play, teams tend to win about 90% of the time. The Toronto Maple Leafs have blown nine leads after two periods – they are either one of the worst lead defending teams of all-time, or they have been brutally unlucky.
Most likely it’s a combination of the two. Either way, they’d have seven to ten more points in the standings if they were only hitting the league average of defending two-period leads.
Nylander Scores Again
For his 5th goal in his last three games. Nylander is awesome, pass it on. Also, with Rielly having a rough game and Zaitsev looking more terrible by the day, it will be interesting to see if Mike Babcock lessons their ice-time in favor of the far superior (statistically) Gardiner / Carrick combo.
Will we see Alexei Marchenko tonight? We’ll find out soon.