May 20, 2022

For those who’re nonetheless doing math within the collection, Leaf’s greatest issues did not appear to be issues in any respect.

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TAMPA. The fourth line will not win this playoff collection for the Maple Leafs, however the Leafs higher be sure that they do not lose to them within the first spherical in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Promoting 2

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Judging by the 2 video games, the proof is troubling.

Wayne Simmonds, restricted at this level in his profession, performed all 5 minutes and 25 seconds in Sport 2 on Wednesday night time. Within the quick period of time he scored, he transformed two penalties that led to 2 targets for Tampa Bay – and that was really for the Leafs.

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They did not come again from that explosion.

Auston Matthews’ very good 20 minutes, scoring two targets and listening to the MVP chant within the heated Scotiabank area, was marred by the Leafs’ incapability to play disciplined. A fantastic 23 minutes performed by Mitch Marner, scoring the second objective in two playoff video games, scoring two extra factors, plus three nights, six pictures on objective, have been canceled out by those that performed the least.


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In Sport 1, Kyle Clifford, who had barely performed within the NHL, an odd option to be forward of Jason Spezza, performed the total 49 seconds earlier than being ejected for an illogical hit on Ross Colton that value the Leafs 5 minutes. resulting from lack of fingers – and value Clifford a one-game suspension.

It was within the seventh minute of the primary sport. The Leafs’ penalty kill turned out to be glorious and aggressive when Clifford was out, and this short-handed scenario gave Toronto momentum.

It was fortunate. It may have simply killed them within the first match.

So, in abstract, two video games performed, three undisciplined, pointless, taken by gamers, the importance of which is restricted even at the very best of occasions. Coach Sheldon Keefe decided earlier than the beginning of the collection that the Leafs shouldn’t be influenced by the Lightning. That push would not occur when Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are on the ice. That does not occur with Braden Level. This does not occur even with Tampa’s robust protection.


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It occurs when the fourth line comes out, and Pat Maroon and Corey Perry are doing what they’ve made a profession out of – knocking opponents off their toes, turning hockey video games into push, push, and hit matches.

Officials separate Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds (24) and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Corey Perry (10) during the third period, first round of an NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff game in Toronto, Monday, May 2, 2022 of the year.
Officers separate Toronto Maple Leafs ahead Wayne Simmonds (24) and Tampa Bay Lightning ahead Corey Perry (10) through the third interval, first spherical of an NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoff sport in Toronto, Monday, Could 2, 2022 of the 12 months. Picture by Nathan Denette /CANADIAN PRESS

This isn’t a Leafs sport. They should not attempt to play it. Tampa have fought 35 occasions this season, one of the crucial within the NHL. The Leafs, even with Simmonds prepared, fought 12 occasions as a workforce, one of many lowest totals within the league. The stupidity of making an attempt to match Tampa did not work in Toronto’s favor and it will not work within the Leafs’ favor.

It will be higher for Keef to carry the veteran Spezza again into the roster, which might additionally make their powerplay second half stronger, and take away both Simmonds or Clifford – or each if they’ve alternate options. Sadly no.


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For those who depend the streak to this point, Checklist’s greatest fears – how Matthews and Marner will carry out, how prepared Jack Campbell is for the playoffs – did not appear to hassle him in any respect. Matthews and Marner have overwhelmed Kucherov and Stamkos up to now. Campbell confidently scored a objective.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting (58) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano (55) in the second period of the second game of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena.
Toronto Maple Leafs ahead Michael Bunting (58) celebrates his objective in opposition to the Tampa Bay Lightning with Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano (55) within the second interval of the second sport of the primary spherical of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Enviornment. Picture by John E. Sokolovsky /USA TODAY Sports activities

The large line scored 4 targets – one in all them scored by Michael Bunting in his first playoff sport – and in two video games, the recent Stamkos had only one help, the sensible playoff participant Kucherov had one level evenly. The Leafs conceded simply two tied targets in two playoff video games.

You do that all through the collection, you could win.

However once you take pointless penalties – and Alex Kerfoot took one other one within the second sport – you pay. Particularly when denials go the way in which of Tampa Bay.


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In Sport 2, Victor Hedman scored the primary powerplay objective when it was revealed that the Leafs had transformed a penalty and mistakenly thought the interval was operating out. In addition they scored once they transformed a penalty when David Kampf made a ball cross to his teammate T.J. Brody within the defensive zone, solely to search out out that Brody had misplaced his stick. He could not take the cross.

The puck went to Tampa. Then it hit the web. These have been large targets within the first half of the sport. However you possibly can’t workforce up with Hedman, Kucherov, Stamkos and Level on the powerplay and count on excellent penalties.


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You should be sensible. You possibly can’t get Kyle Clifford out. You possibly can’t be singled out the way in which Simmonds let the referees single him out in Sport 2. “I believe I used to be the perpetrator,” Simmonds stated afterwards, taking the brunt of his unhealthy night. “Took two, they scored two, we misplaced two.”

The operation of the fourth line of Leafs must be easy. Do not rating. Do not settle for pointless penalties. Rise up for oneself. It truly is. Within the second sport, they scored and transformed penalties which resulted in targets being scored. Within the first sport, they took an pointless penalty and survived it.

The Leafs do not want a fourth line to win one thing right here. However they can not, underneath any circumstances, enable their fourth gamers to lose video games to them.



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