Good Road Start
The Maple Leafs were playing the game they wanted to play and won five of the first six faceoffs. Around the midway point of the first period, the game took a turn in St. Louis’ direction. The Leafs managed to hang in there, but the Blues still controlled every other area of the game. St. Louis ended up winning the faceoff battle 36-22 and outshot Toronto 33-27.
Good defence is one thing, but the scoring drought is reaching new lows. The Leafs have only scored one goal over their last four games. That hasn’t happened since Dec. 11 to 20 in 1926 when the Leafs were still the St. Pats. It’s a real issue that the team needs to focus on. Nazem Kadri had some of the better chances for Toronto, registering five shots on goal.
If there is a big positive to take from special teams on Saturday night, it’s the Leafs keeping the League’s top power play off the scoresheet. Leafs were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
It was Roman Polak’s first game back in St. Louis as a member of the Leafs and he was the most physical player with five hits, far above any other member of the team. He’s doing his best to lead by example. Carl Gunnarsson also played against Toronto for the first time since the deal where both players swapped destinations. He was a plus-1 and had 2 shots on goal.
Aside from Polak, this was a key element missing from the Leafs on Saturday. Leo Komarov’s absence is clearly being felt. With the All-Star break approaching, the Leafs should get a boost with some bodies like Komarov as Peter Holland and Joffrey Lupul get healthier.