The Leafs look to extend their winning streak to four while getting off the schneid at home tonight against the Flyers. The key will be avoiding a letdown after a thoroughly solid win over the Canadiens and all the excitement that came with it. It was such an arrant ass kicking that Habs players were still complaining about it in the media today.
Something will have to give tonight. We’re all familiar with the Leafs’ struggles at home, and the Flyers have been an equally miserable away team (1-5). Their scoring depth has taken a hit with the loss of JvR through trade, Jagr to free agency, and Scott Hartnell to long term injury. They’ve also lost Matt Carle (FA) and Andrej Meszaros (injury) off the backend. Claude Giroux has been missing his linemate in Hartnell and is off to a slower start by his standards. One of the league’s most prolific offensive teams (2nd) last season is 22nd in team scoring so far this season as a result.
With the sample size being what it is, the Leafs’ 6-0 rout of the Habs has taken them into the top ten in scoring (9th) and 12th overall in goals against. We’ll take it for as long as we can get it.
The home struggles, to me anyways, are much less likely to do with the crowd than it is the style the Leafs are forced to play at home. I know it’s convenient to look at the bad home record and take it out on an audience that is less than inspiring most nights. It is frustrating. But it’s far more likely to do with the fact that the Leafs under Carlyle almost seem better suited to a road style of hockey, if you catch my drift, than they are when facing an opponent content to play a road game, slow the Leafs down and capitalize on their mistakes. That’s not an excuse obviously, and there’s no hope for the playoffs if the Leafs don’t figure out how to grab more points on ACC ice.