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Desperate Time In Toronto

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Overtime goals are rarely acts of beauty.

They are often shots of desperation, pucks banged at, not aimed, with bodies piled up around the net.

That kind of desperate play is why the Tampa Bay Lightning won Game 6 in overtime. It may be the real difference between the Maple Leafs and the Stanley Cup-champion Lightning through six games of a highly competitive back-and-forth first-round playoff series.

The Leafs may have dominated overtime up until the point of Brayden Point’s bang-bang winning goal.

Just as they dominated overtime in Game 6 a year ago against a lesser team from Montreal, then turned the puck over once and lost the game and, eventually, the series.

With all of their goal-scoring skill, what the Leafs can lack at big moments is the kind of desperation the Lightning has shown in this series and in the previous two playoff runs as champions of the National Hockey League. It may sound cliche, but it isn’t. It’s the difference between winning a series and losing it. There is nowhere to mark ‘desperation’ on the game sheet, but you can see it and coach Jon Cooper demands it from his players — pucks to the net, go to the net.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

TreKronor's avatar

Oh give me a break Steve. Just summarize this drivel with, “Toronto is skilled but doesn’t know how to play playoff hockey”. The rest of this is all just excuses as to how other teams magically luck their way past the Leafs each year.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/14/22 at 12:37 PM ET

Avatar

I’m not sure desperation is the right word.

Leaving it all it all out there and willingness to sacrifice, yes.

But desperation makes me think of someone clutching their stick too
tight and putting shots into the goalie’s chest protector and shanking rebounds.

What guys like Pavelski and Point and even Perry are is more like
supremely driven, but cold-blooded finishers when it matters most.

It’s determination but it’s also timing - not just knowing where to be, but when.
Some guys whack away at pucks and get nowhere.
The real playoff threats calmly appear where the puck is with room to roof it or make a slick goal mouth pass. There is just zero panic with Perry around the net. None of Toronto’s gritty net front players are really clutch finishers. Maybe Simmons was five or so seasons ago. This season, Toronto tried Simmons, Ritchie, and Clifford and, other than Simmons who still looks like a leader, none was really worth even the penalties they committed. Toronto really needs a semi-skilled, fast, and gritty identity line. It’s not about winning fights. And they need a Corey Perry type who agitates and scores big goals around the net. A better 1B goalie, too.

Posted by lefty.30 on 05/15/22 at 01:35 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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