Morning Mashup: Little Defense for the Defense
The Good: The Maple Leafs sport a 4-0-1 record, having garnered 9 of a possible 10 points during a 5-game homestand to start the season. Optimists, you may stop reading right now.
The Bad: In the second game of the season the Leafs nearly coughed up a 4-goal lead, and in three subsequent games have had a lousy first 30-40 minutes followed by an exceptional final 20. That just won’t cut it over the long haul.
The Ugly: The team’s defensive play — chiefly, that of its blueliners — has run the gamut from excellent to unfocused to “meh” to worryingly-disorganized to gone-completely-off-the-rails in the span of five games. Making matters worse, the past two weeks were the easy part of the October schedule.
Ultimately, it is the play of the defense corps which dictates the entire flow of the game. Everything from puck possession, to the transition game, to the subsequent genesis of scoring chances for and against, begins and ends with the defensive unit. If the defenders aren’t doing their jobs, the play of the forwards, and the goaltender, will invariably suffer. The Leafs got very lucky last night — as they have in their past three games — but can’t expect to survive many more performances like those.
But hey, at least the powerplay is clicking again!
Recommended A.M. reading after the jump.
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