When the season first got under way the Toronto Maple Leafs were making noise and appeared to be on their way back to respectability as they opened the season with a four game winning streak. Seems that now they have come back down to earth and may be more like last years team when they were referred to as the Maple Laughs. They have gone 02-1 in their last three games and have scored a whopping four goals in that time frame after getting 16 during the win streak. This is how teams of this caliber play. Streaky and inconsistent. Only difference between Toronto and the Florida Panthers is that people in hockey mad Toronto are pissed off. Or at least getting nervous.
Here in the land of South Beach people seem to be pleased with the 3-3 start the the Cats are off to. Folks it’s all about expectations and being satisfied.
In the last game that the Leafs played they were outshot by the Flyers in Philly 40-14 in a 5-2 loss that will filled with turnovers in the offensive zone. Head coach Ron Wilson called the play “inexcusable”, and expects things thing to get better immediately if not sooner. Leading the Leafs in scoring is Phil Kessel and Clarke MacArthur (who?) with six goals a piece. Clarke also is the team point leader with eight.
Even though he’s lost his last two starts expect to see J.S. Giguere in goal tonight for Toronto. He has lost his last two starts against the Panthers and the Leafs are 2-4-2- against the Panthers in the last eight contests including 1-3-1 at the ACC. That’s Air Canada Center.
The Panthers have won three of their last four going into this three game road trip. They’ve played fairly well with the exception of the Dallas Stars game last Thursday night where apparently Jacques Martin snuck in and tossed a bunch of 5 gallon buckets of paint on the ice, and we all watched it dry for three periods, losing 4-1. Other than that, the Panthers have been “in” their games.
Concerns: The top line of Little Stevie, David Booth and Michael Frolik is on it’s last legs. Production has been poor to say the least, and it’s probably time to break up the happy family. Booth along with Radek Dvorak are the team leaders in goals with three a piece, while Stevie has one goal which was a redirect. Frolik has no goals. Neither does Chris Higgins. It would be a huge boost if these two players scored on this trip. So while the offense has been spread around, if the top guns (if that’s what you call them) don’t get going, the challenge of scoring still remains.
Jason Garrison is back in the lineup tonight after nursing a groin injury, meaning Keaton Ellerby takes a seat. Bryan McCabe is red hot with five points in his last three games.
Typical road game here boys. Control the first period and first ten minutes. Stay outta the penalty box, and keep the forecheck and pressure on. Toronto is fragile right now. No reason to be fancy. Oh, were talking about the Panthers. Right, fancy doesn’t exist.
Go to our FanSided opponent Editor In Leaf for the Canadien view of how hockey is perceived in the universe.
Thanks for reading.
Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
Please visit our NHL main page: Too Many Men On The Site.
Follow my colleague David Lasseter on Twitter @davidlasseter.
Want The Rat Trick or another Fansided network blog on your Android phone? Search the Android marketplace for your favorite Fansided site and download the free app!