It was the second straight game where the Leafs let a two-goal lead slip away. While the circumstances were different than they were on Sunday, a new theme is developing. A back-to-back of giving up two goal leads is new this season. In fact, the last time the Leafs dropped two-goal leads on back-to-back nights, was April of 1989. Typically resilient this season, the Leafs now have to deal with a couple of letdowns as their road trip continues on into Boston.
Another game for the Leafs where they were badly outshot. Tampa had 41 shots on goal, marking the tenth time the Leafs have given up 40 or more. Compare that to 23 from the Lightning. Shot attempts favoured the Lightning 67-46. James Reimer did all he could to weather the storm early and, ultimately, on the back half of games on consecutive nights, Tampa tired the Leafs out.
Awareness of the issues
The work ethic is there and the Leafs are fully aware of the issues that are lingering. They went through adversity earlier in the season and managed to pull through it. The answers then are the same as they were back in November. They know they are capable of better, they just have to find out how. Cody Franson put it best following the loss to Tampa
“It’s not that we’re not working hard enough, we’re not working smart enough.”
That’s a mental issue and one that the Leafs will have to dig into their bag of tricks to remedy.
This area continues to decline for the Maple Leafs. After going 0/2 on the power-play and 3/4 on the penalty-kill, the Leafs have dropped to 10th in those categories. Toronto have stayed inside the top-10 for a majority of the season. Toronto gave up goal while shorthanded for the third time in four games.
Stamkos tends to put up a lot of points when taking on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Monday’s game was no exception with the Markham, Ontario native putting up a goal and an assist. Stamkos has put up points in five straight games against the Leafs (six goals, three assists). He’s always a factor and Monday was no exception.