I hate to be the bearer of good tidings when so many Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans have decided the team is going to hell in a handcart; however, I’m genuinely upbeat about this iteration of the Maple Leafs’ team. That doesn’t mean they are going to win, but I think they have a good chance to do so.
In this post, I want to talk about some things that I believe are going well for the team during this postseason playoffs. Obviously, not everything falls into the “going swimmingly” list; but, enough things are that they’re tied in the series with the reigning Stanley Cup champions by a total of two games to two.
What’s Going Well #1: Finally, the Penalty Killing Was Good Again
I know I seem to be searching for something positive to say in the wake of a 7-3 beatdown; however, the Maple Leafs’ penalty killing was solid. The Lightning drew eight power plays during the game; and, but they only scored on one of them. [The Maple Leafs had three power plays during the game and scored on one.]
What’s Going Well #2: Jack Campbell Is Playing Well Enough in Goal
I know he had a tough Game 4, but the Maple Leafs’ goalie Jack Campbell is playing decently against the Lightning’s goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. I was just thinking that Campbell had a Game 1 shutout and also played one of his best games of the season in Game 3. Then, he could have done lots better, in Games 2 and 4. If he keeps winning the first game of every series and then every other game all postseason, the Maple Leafs will be the Stanley Cup champs.
However, when it’s half said and done (the series isn’t over yet), the Maple Leafs’ second-year starter in Campbell is playing about even with Vasilevskiy in terms of save percentage. Given the reputation that Vasilevskiy has, he should be crushing Campbell; but, he isn’t.
What’s Going Well #3: Jake Muzzin Seems to Be His Old Self
Tell Jake Muzzin to keep shooting. He’s almost tied his regular-season goal total during the four games of the postseason. He’s scored two from shooting from the point – the Maple Leafs’ first goal of the series and the Maple Leafs’ last goal of the series thus far.
In addition to Muzzin’s two goals, he’s added one assist and is also plus-6 in his four playoff contests. He’s also had 18 hits and eight blocked shots; and, he is back playing his usual physical style of hockey.
What’s Going Well #4: Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall Are Playing Lights Out
From the position of depth forwards, Ilya Mikheyev and Pierre Engvall are having great postseasons. They are both strong 200-foot warriors who are getting big minutes because they can be trusted to deliver and not make mistakes on the ice. Need two players to protect a lead in the final minutes? These are your players.
They are playing well and lots. Oh, by the way, you can toss David Kampf into that mix as well. Kampf has scored two key goals, and the Maple Leafs have more than two-thirds (67.5 percent) of the game’s five-on-five expected goals when Kampf’s on the ice even though he starts almost every shift in the defensive zone.
The Maple Leafs’ depth forwards are excellent this postseason.
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