Source: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
The Toronto Maple Leafs had the whole hockey world laughing and amused after losing to the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to the help of emergency goalie (and zamboni driver) Dave Ayers. The Leafs were laughing stock for a better part of 48 hours, memes and videos circulating on the internet displayed the Leafs embarrassing loss to Carolina in full force all while Ayers became a celebrity and went on late-night talk shows.
The Leafs have had a lot of lows this season and many might have already written them off by now. The criticisms have piled in; not much effort, zero work ethic, even Dubas said "We were in a no-win situation" after their loss against Carolina. Even if Toronto did beat Carolina Dubas felt that the Leafs beating their own employee wouldn't be a good look for the franchise. Either way, Toronto was in a tough spot.
Just a few days later Kyle Dubas was relatively quiet on deadline day while other teams contending for the playoffs made some big splashes. Dubas re-acquired Calle Rosen who was traded for the struggling Michael Hutchison. With many fans in the Leafs nation upset with the lack of urgency from their young GM Toronto had a big week coming up, with every game feeling like a must-win feel.
With back-to-back games against Atlantic teams and facing a tough Canucks team, the Leafs had a tough schedule ahead of them all while fans thought the sky was falling in Leaf land. Toronto decided to give it their all against the Lightning beating them 4-3. Toronto put up a good effort against one of the best teams in the league, the complete opposite of their last outing.
The Leafs had another crucial game coming up against the team they were battling for the third spot in the Atlantic division. The Florida Panthers. Just like Toronto, Florida has mostly been up and down this season with minimal consistency. The Leafs could have put up a stinker, and it sure looked like they were early but with the help of Nylander’s late goal and Andersen standing tall, the Leafs bent but did not break.
Taking advantage of the warm weather in Florida the Leafs had the Canucks at home on Saturday, trying to add to their 2 game winning streak. The third period had been unkind to Toronto this season, but they changed the narrative with a good effort in this one fending off the young Canucks. A week after the "sky was falling", fans are now on the up and up after three straight wins. With a 5 point lead over the Panthers, the Leafs can sit somewhat comfortable for now.
The Leafs now head to California and will be looking to sweep the West Coast for the first time in over two decades.
It's been another rollercoaster of a season for the Leafs, but they are looking to rewrite the script. After an embarrassing loss, the Leafs could have fallen flat but they came back looking like bats out of hell. With 3 wins in a row, they have some breathing room and have reassured Leafs nation all at the same time.