Posted 12:52 PM ET | Comments 1
After the first two games of the season here are a few thoughts
The Leafs started the season with two games against the defending Eastern Conference champions and started 0-1-1. When you look at the record it's not really that impressive in fact it's kind of ugly. With that being said all I have to say is don't worry fellow Leaf fans it could be a lot worse. The Leafs for the most part have been very tough to play and I would think the Sens and Sens fans a like would have to agree with the fact that they were hard fought games that took maximum effort to win. Both games were winable for the Leafs, both being one goal losses and one of those in overtime.
Nik Antropov scored twice in the opener on the Sundin and Blake line and Stajen has scored twice so far helping to make up for the loss of Wellwood. These are two very encouraging signs as it's looking like there is going to be some secondary scoring on this team.
As the title of the post says this is about the goaltending. This was the major question mark coming into the season.....who was going to be the number 1? Both goalies showed that they are very capable goalies which is encouraging. Toskala gave up 3 in the seond game of the year and Raycroft gave up 4 in an overtime loss in game one. In that first game I was taken back to last year where third period leads were taken and given away with regularity. When Heatley scored the tying goal with about five minutes to go all I could think was here we go again, and sure enough back came Heatley in overtime for the game winner. I am convinced that if the game was only two periods long or if the Leafs were going into the third period every night with a three goal lead there would be no problems. The reality of it is, this just doesn't happen. Raycroft just doesn't seem to have what it takes in presure situations, and this needs to improve or it's going to be another long season with no playoff action. Here are my solutions/suggestions.....Either Toskala becomes the number one goalie or the Leafs will have to do something that just doesn't happen in hockey. In baseball you have a closing pitcher that pitches that last inning or two to close out a close game. Well maybe Toronto should take a look at this in net. I know you are saying I'm insane and that just doesn't happen in hockey, well you are right but sometimes you have to go away for the norm. If Raycroft could have played as well in the third as he did in the second and the first they would have been 1-1 which for Toronto against Ottawa would be considered a great start. One has to think, if you take the preasure situation away from Raycroft and give Toskala the third period leads to preserve, how many of those loses all of a sudden would turn into 1 or 2 points for the team? In the NHL especially in the east every point matters, so all of a sudden if there is something that could be tried that could maybe save a point or two wouldn't it be worth looking at?
With the Leafs looking like a better team and some of the other teams getting weaker there is a good chance this team can make the playoffs this year, but it's going to be a fight to the end. Using the closing goalie (for lack of better title) could definetly help with saving a few points which would be huge in the battle for the playoffs.