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Five Takeaways - Leafs at Blues - 11/04/17

Here are five takeaways from the Maple Leafs' 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday at Scottrade Center:

by Adam Proteau / MapleLeafs.com

Borgman's wicked wrister

TOR@STL: Martin, Borgman connect for opening goal

Matt Martin sends a pass to a streaking Andreas Borgman, who wires a wrister past Jake Allen to give the Maple Leafs a 1-0 lead

  • 00:42 •

1. Borgman shows terrific offensive skill, puts Leafs up first. The Leafs were in their final game of a four-game, West Coast road trip, and blueliner Andreas Borgman started off the night's scoring when he took a very good pass from winger Matt Martin just inside the Blues' blueline, then broke in on goalie Jake Allen before picking the top far corner at 9:16 of the first period for his second goal of the season.

Borman impressed Leafs fans with his physicality in the pre-season and at the beginning of the regular season, but he's showing more of a willingness to jump into the rush or carry the puck into the offensive zone. And on this play, he showed he's also got a pinpoint-precise shot he can go to. And he's only 22 years old.  

2. Blues break out for trio of goals in middle frame, including two from blueliners. Toronto had the lone goal of the opening frame, but the Blues outshot them 10-6 in the first 20 minutes - and in the second, they'd take over the game with consistent pressure in the Leafs' end and three goals unanswered by the Buds in the period.

The first Blues goal came from winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who backhand-batted a rebound past Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen for his seventh of the year at 2:33 of the second. At the 7:10 mark, blueliner Joel Edmundson gave the home team their first lead of the game with his fourth of the year, and 3:18 later, D-man Alex Pietrangelo made it 3-1 in St. Louis' favour with his fifth of the year.

The Blues' defense corps is well-regarded for its prowess in preventing goals, but they also demonstrated they can contribute offence as well.

Video: TOR@STL: Bozak finishes Marner's dish to cut the lead
 

3. Blues add to lead to start third, Bozak answers back in short order, and Blues answer that in even shorter order. Blues winger Magnus Paajarvi added to his team's lead 82 seconds into the third period, but the Leafs showed they still had fight in them when centre Tyler Bozak netted his third goal of the season just 45 seconds after St. Louis went up 4-1. Unfortunately for Buds fans, the Blues would answer Bozak's goal only 17 seconds after that when winger Vladimir Sobotka registered his third of the year.

A little more than five minutes later, Pietrangelo scored his second of the night - a power play marker - to give St. Louis a commanding 6-2 advantage. And for the fourth time in their past eight games, the Leafs had surrendered at least five goals.

Video: TOR@STL: Bozak extends stick to tally his second goal


4. Leafs try to pull even with goal from Brown and Bozak's second of the night, but it's not enough. Down four goals, the Leafs didn't stop competing - and just past the halfway point of the third, winger Connor Brown extended his scoring streak to three games when he beat Allen for his sixth of the season at 10:10 of the period. Three minutes and three seconds later, Bozak scored his second of the game, a power play marker that cut the Blues' lead to two goals.

However - and in spite of outshooting St. Louis 12-8 in the final period - the Leafs couldn't come up with any more offense, and dropped their second game in a row and third of the four-game road swing. Toronto hadn't scored more than three goals since an Oct. 18 6-3 win over Detroit, so seeing the offence have a little more chemistry was a positive to build on. But their defensive cohesion is still a significant work-in-progress, and until they can cut down on their defensive mistakes - and earn more power plays than they give up - the Buds are going to be in tough to emerge victorious on a consistent basis.

5. Leafs' road trip ends, but upcoming home stand presents chance to get on right track. The loss dropped Toronto's record to 8-7-0, and their next game - Monday night against Las Vegas, in the first of three in a row at Air Canada Centre - will give them a good chance to right the ship. This isn't to besmirch the Golden Knights, who've surprised many by going 9-4-0 to start the year. But the expansion team is a mediocre 3-3-0 away from home, and they've lost three of their past four games.

That said, the Knights beat the Ottawa Senators Saturday and are clearly a veteran club that has a lot of pride. If the Leafs don't come out with purpose and structure Monday, they could start off their home stand still dealing with the large in-game deficits that have plagued them of late. And with games later in the week against Minnesota and a home-and-home series with the division rival Boston Bruins, Toronto's challenges may only grow from there.

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