Every time I hear the announcers say that the Leafs have the best powerplay in the league, I want to burst out into laughter and tears at the same time. Why?
Because ever since the Leafs have lost Marner, which has been since the Ottawa game last week, we have drawn 12 penalties and have capitalized on 2. that is a 17%. No way near their league leading 22.8%.
If you watch any of their recent games, you can see the contrast in the way they carry the puck in their own zone and the neutral zone. They do these drop back passes that are either useless or get intercepted, and when they’re in their own zone and an attacker is coming at them, they panic and give the puck away. It is probably the most annoying thing to watch.
Mitch Marner used to be the one who carried the puck into the offensive zone with his speed but now we can see how difficult it is to get into the zone without him. Auston Matthews tries to replace Marner, but he doesn’t have the agility that Marner has. Matthews is fast, but he isn’t Marner. His strength comes from his physicality, not his speed like Marner.
Now that may not concern a lot of you, they’re are still scoring, but look at how the Leafs got to this playoff spot in the first place. Their specialty teams were on fire. And if you want to do well in the regular season and the playoffs, you have to capitalize on every opportunity you get.