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.

Anyways, it will be Curtis McElhinny in net for the Leafs tonight.

Blowing Leads

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.

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