After allowing 10 goals in their past two games, the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to reverse that trend Saturday night against the visiting Detroit Red Wings.
The Maple Leafs have lost the first two games of a three-game homestand — 6-5 in a shootout to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday and 5-1 to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
Toronto has allowed three or more goals in five of the past six games. It has been a team issue more than a problem with goaltenders Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov.
“You have a game like St. Louis, you want to respond, talk about things you can do better,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “Then when you go out and don’t exactly execute those, that’s definitely reason for concern.
“Generally speaking, we know we have better, and that adds to the frustrations as well. It’s about getting those things fixed.”
Toronto will catch Detroit on the second half of a back-to-back set. Detroit lost 3-2 to the visiting Florida Panthers on Friday night and has dropped two straight.
Murray, who played on Thursday, has allowed 11 goals in his past three starts. Samsonov, who started Tuesday, has yielded 17 goals in his past four starts.
Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe acknowledged that he considered replacing Murray on Thursday.
“Yeah, thought about mixing it up,” Keefe said, “but Matt has played really well for us and he deserved the opportunity to stay in there for us.”
After a goalless first period, Seattle outscored Toronto 4-1 in the second.
“We needed to get a big save, but if you look at their first goal, it goes in off (defenseman Mark Giordano’s) shin pad, and then there was the breakaway (goal by Jared McCann),” Keefe said. “I thought we had as good a first period as we’ve had all season long, but we didn’t score and take control of the game.”
Toronto’s Mitchell Marner, who recorded his 499th career point with an assist on Thursday, said there is no reason to worry.
“Just relax, we know we’re a great team,” he said. “Losing two in your building, you don’t want to give up as many goals as we have. We all have to help out more, support each other more.”
In Detroit, the Red Wings scored first and last. Jonatan Berggren scored at 1:04 of the first period, his sixth goal of the season. Robby Fabbri, playing his second game since returning from knee surgery that had sidelined him all season, scored his first goal at 16:17 of the third period.
Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves, many of them sensational.
“I give Bobrovsky a lot of credit, he stole the game,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde said. “He was the first, second and third star and obviously he made the unbelievable saves on the grade A’s, the breakaways, the backdoor tap-ins, one-timers. But on the easy offense, we were way too easy on him. Shots from the point, we didn’t take his eyes away, didn’t take any rebound shots.”
Florida scored power-play goals on both of its attempts and killed all five Detroit power plays.
“Five-on-five we’re a pretty good team right now, I’d say,” said Detroit defenseman Ben Chiarot, who had an assist. “We carried the play for the most part five-on-five, and then we gave up on the penalty kill and we’re on our heels most of the game after that.”
–Field Level Media