Leafs not concerned despite Game 1 loss to Florida
The Toronto Maple Leafs were the better team for much of the opening game of their second-round series with the Florida Panthers.
OMAR: Was that weird to you? I mean, the Leafs lost, they lost game one, but I had this thought afterwards where I'm not really concerned, it's not really a big deal. And based off of, like, the comments and the mentions, it seems like many Leafs fans kind of feel the same where it was just like, yeah, it's just one game. They still played decent. They played pretty well overall.
But the loss itself isn't really too concerning. It's just like, yeah, they lost. These are the reasons why. Hopefully they bounce back.
And I don't know if it's because maybe we're not used to the Leafs being in the second round or if they did make the second round, we're not used to the fact that it's Florida. I mean, some people also mention the fact that it kind of felt like a regular season game just with like more open ice hits. There's Luke Schenn on Matthew Tkachuk, and Jake McCabe on Matthew Tkachuk, and Noel Acciari threw some big hits, Morgan Rielly completely dropped Eric Staal.
But overall, not really too concerned, which leads me to some of the takeaways. First being, and I think this might be one of the most important ones is that, the Leafs were the better team, like, point blank. They were able to, I guess, withstand some of the pushback from the Matthew-- from the Matthew Tkachuk line, but for the most part, they spent a lot of time in the offensive zone.
They're making plays. They're cycling the puck. They had a lot of strong pressure. There are moments where they can get the puck back, and even when they lost it, Timothy Liljegren, I think, had a lot of great, great plays there. But overall, they were the better team. They just didn't get the results.
Now the second thing, and this is a little more concerning. I talked about this in the preview. The power play wasn't a factor. And I knew the power play would be important because again, the Florida Panthers take a lot of penalties. And lo and behold, they took the first penalty in the first period via Sam Bennett elbowing David Kampf. And then they took another one, Gustav forcing on the tripping call.
But the Leafs were able to generate. They got a lot of chances, but they weren't able to score on it. And that is the concern because if you have a team like Florida that takes a lot of penalties, they have to hit, and they have to convert on those opportunities, especially when you consider what happened after that, but we'll get into that later on. But that's one thing that definitely needs to improve. The power play wasn't a factor and it needs to be.
Now the opportunistic aspect of it because yeah, the Panthers are an opportunistic team. Even though the Leafs were controlling play, when the Panthers got their-- got their opportunities, they scored. And those opportunities came from Leafs mistakes. Just flat out, turnovers, bad pinches, scoring-- scoring on the delay penalty call.
That's what this Florida Panthers team is. That's how they beat Boston in game seven. When Boston made a mistake, the Panthers made them pay for it. And when the Leafs made a mistake in this game, the Panthers made them pay for it.
So, again, they need to be a little more smart. Maybe it's just game one, we can kind of shake it off, whatever. Hopefully you kind of get going to game two being better, but you can't give the Panthers those opportunities to score because they'll make you pay for it.