The Leafs first win of the season was followed with a lot of excitement, because not only did we beat our rivals the Habs, but fans started joking around about how we were undefeated. With our second consecutive win, the laughs turned into excitement as we took down another rival (the Sens) and we were 2-0. Three straight wins and it was time to make room for the bandwagoners. The fourth game went into overtime, but we prevailed and came out on top. At this point we were 4-0. Then are streak ended when we lost 3 in a row and our trip to the playoffs didn’t seem as easy as it did before, but don’t get me wrong—the Leafs are still hanging on.
Let’s be honest—no one was overly excited MacArthur starting this year, but man oh man did he surprise us all. So far in 20 games, MacArthur has made 7 goals and 11 assists. 2 of these goals have been game-winning ones.
Kris Versteeg. Few players have gotten as much grief as him. Coming into the Leafs he had a lot of expectations as he helped the Hawks win the Stanley Cup last year. At the beginning of the season, Versteeg’s speed helped him get great opportunities to shoot, but scoring was a problem. Lately though, things have picked up for him and he’s one of the hottest Leafs players on the ice.
The “N” word, that’s right…Nazem Kadri! Don’t get me wrong—I don’t think he’s the magical solution that can single-handedly take the Leafs to the playoffs, but he is a great asset to the team. Although he was initially considered an aggressive offensive player, he is proving himself as a great playmaker as well as he’s always aware of where players are on the ice and taking advantage of this.
Although Keith Aulie’s start in the Leafs was greatly overshadowed by Kadri as they came at the same time, he has proven himself as a great defenseman.
We have Giguere who has proven himself as a great goalie over the past years. In 2003, although his team didn’t win the Stanley Cup he was named the most valuable player in the playoffs—an honour given to only 4 other players. He also led the Ducks to a Stanley Cup in 2007. Not only is he a great goalie, he’s also a great leader for the Leafs. When the Leafs screw things up, Giguere is quick to call them out on it.
With Giguere out with a strain, Gustavsson has really proved himself. It’s going to be hard to forget when he was thrown into the Nashville game with only 10 minutes left in the game. The Leafs had a 5-4 lead, and let’s not forget that if there’s one thing the Leafs need to work on, it’s maintaining their lead. The monster blocked all shots and helped the Leafs secure a win. Even in the games the Leafs lose, Gus is still one of the players on the ice. He was 2nd star in our last game against the Habs even though they won.
Although they haven’t had the chance to show their skills in the NHL, Reimer and Rynnas have really proven themselves in the AHL.
Brett Lebda’s luck—self-explanatory.
My problem with standings is that they never show how well a team plays. Even in our losses, more often than not we’ve played great. For instance there was that game against the Capitals were we lost 5-4 in overtime. The Caps are currently one of the best teams in the league, yet we played a strong game, especially our defensemen who managed to hold off one of the most aggressive players in the NHL—Ovechkin.
Our 8 consecutive losses.
Especially that nasty loss to the Sabres. What started as a 2-0 lead for the Leafs turned into a 3-2 loss. We were one point ahead of the Sabres until there were literally 14 seconds left in the game, when they tied it to go into overtime, where they won. I was practically celebrating and that game-tying goal brought me down. One of the problems the Leafs still have to work on is maintaining a lead.
CAN WE MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?
According to the stats, we only have a 22% chance, but if you ask me our team has proven that it is more than capable of getting there. I’m going to pull a Pierre McGuire and say that we just need to start winning.