The post Mistakes Cost Maple Leafs a Win Over the Devils appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

The Toronto Maple Leafs faced the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night, hoping to replicate their recent success against the same opponent. Despite dominating large portions of the game, costly mistakes led to a disappointing 6-5 loss for the Maple Leafs.

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Related: Maple Leafs Will Likely Get Hometown Discount from John Tavares

The Maple Leafs Had the Bulk of the Play Against the Devils

In last night’s game, the Maple Leafs again showed dominance in generating high-danger scoring chances and controlling play. They held a significant advantage in high-danger chances throughout the game. Data from naturalstattrick.com clearly showed this. However, the team’s downfall stemmed from critical individual errors that directly led to goals for the Devils. The first two goals by New Jersey were unassisted, highlighting the impact of turnovers committed by the Maple Leafs within their defensive zone.

This kind of game comes when the team needs to be reminded of the importance of minimizing defensive lapses and maintaining composure under pressure, especially during critical moments. It can’t happen in the postseason if the team expects to win any playoff series.

While the Maple Leafs showed their strong offense and controlled much of the game, they couldn’t prevent costly turnovers. These mistakes, in total, contributed to the loss. Addressing these individual errors and maintaining defensive discipline will be crucial for the Maple Leafs as they prepare for the upcoming playoffs.

The Maple Leafs Special Teams Have Been Failing Them

The Maple Leafs’ special teams sputtered in this game. In fact, the team lost the battle both on the power play and the penalty kill. The Devils capitalized on their chances with three power-play goals, while the Maple Leafs failed to score on their man-advantage situations. Additionally, goaltender Ilya Samsonov had a tough game, giving up six goals on just 20 shots. There were at least two he would have wanted back.

Ilya Samsonov of the Maple Leafs

Specifically, the Devils’ first two goals came off turnovers by the Maple Leafs in their defensive zone. TJ Brodie’s turnover behind the net led directly to Erik Haula‘s goal, and Mark Giordano‘s risky pass resulted in a goal for Nolan Foote. Costly penalties, including a fight instigated by Max Domi and Auston Matthews‘ accidental trip, also contributed to the Devils’ power-play goals.

On the game-winning goal, Joel Edmundson‘s defensive gaff allowed Jesper Bratt to slip past him and create a scoring opportunity that closed out the game for the Devils.

Mistakes the Maple Leafs Need to Clean Up Before the Playoffs

These mistakes highlighted key breakdowns in the Maple Leafs’ defensive discipline and decision-making, ultimately contributing to their loss. While they played well on offense, the mistakes ruined an otherwise dominant performance.

Looking ahead, the Maple Leafs can’t change their standing with three games left in the regular season. They will likely open against the Florida Panthers in the playoffs. The team must focus on refining its game, addressing issues highlighted in this loss, and solidifying the goalie situation. The Maple Leafs are preparing for playoff hockey and aim to make a deep run toward the Stanley Cup. This is a game to forget on that quest.

Related: As Matthews Reaches for 70 Goals: He’s Not Alone

[I’d like to thank Stan Smith for his helpful analytical insights for this post.]

The post Mistakes Cost Maple Leafs a Win Over the Devils appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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