You’d think the Toronto Maple Leafs confused St Patty’s day with St Nicks with the generous mood they were in but recovered in time to outlast the Philadelphia Flyers 7-6 in a rare Friday night match at Scotiabank Arena.
The alarming trend of falling behind continued with the home side spotting the visitors a 3-goal cushion part way through the middle frame before waking up and reversing the score.
Frederik Andersen’s sudden average play has surely got to be a concern for management and with unreliable back up Garret Sparks available in relief (unless they call up Michael Hutchinson) it could make for some nervous times ahead; unless 31 snaps out of this funk.
Andersen the last few games has looked uninterested, out of focus and unaware of play around him, almost having his pocket picked in the third last night with some scary puck handling. Then on the same sequence averted misplaying a puck into his own net with no one around that would have sent the restless faithful into a tither.
The talent level on both teams is almost embarrassingly one sided in Toronto’s favour and the Flyers didn’t mount much of an attack. They did however direct pucks at the net and four went in from outside the red circles. Ex- Leaf James Van Riemsdyk delivered three of those, bagging the “trick” against his former mates.
The Leafs out shot the Flyers 51-29 and controlled much of the play but costly giveaways, uninspired effort and poor goaltending was almost enough for Philly to sneak out of Dodge with 2-points.
The game was reminiscent of a 1980’s shootout with the crowd deathly quiet waiting for disaster to strike and a “next goal wins” or “last shot wins” script in place.
With 71-games in the books and the clock ticking towards playoff time, they surely must realize by now there isn’t a secret sauce or magical formula to blend all this together. It doesn’t appear that way.
It starts at their feet; keep them moving; you can never work to hard.
Is it time to panic? Is the 18-wheeler headed for the cliff again?
Probably not but the sense of urgency is desperately lacking; while they’ve shown it at times this season (usually when behind by a couple of goals) they must consistently play with an edge. That cannot be dialed in and out, especially when it counts the most.
Yes they managed to do enough to win but this was another ugly reminder that individual and lethargic play will only lead to an early end to the season.