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Maple Leafs Haven’t Proven They’re Any Different Yet

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This season was supposed to be different for the Toronto Maple Leafs, right? This was supposed to be the year they’d finally conquer their first-round demons and settle in for a long playoff run, right?

At least so far in 2022-23, as good of a season as the Maple Leafs have had to this point, they haven’t proven they’re any different than the last couple of years. At least not yet.

Saturday night’s game in Montreal proved that the Maple Leafs are still dealing with the same issues they’ve struggled with in the core-four era. Saturday was supposed to be different. But it was just the same old song and dance.

Maple Leafs Continue to Play Down to Competition

The Canadiens are not only in clear Connor Bedard tank mode, they were without their best offensive weapon in Cole Caufield. It was announced Saturday that he would miss the rest of the season due to a lingering shoulder injury.

If there was any time that the Maple Leafs should have their way with the Canadiens, it was Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Everything pointed to the Maple Leafs having a good night. The game even started that way too.

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Just 53 seconds into the game, Mark Giordano made it 1-0. Then Calle Jarnkrok made it 2-0 with 2:30 left in the first. When the dust settled on the first period, the shots were 15-4 Maple Leafs. They dominated as they should against a team they should beat given their current situations.

But then for the remaining 40 minutes, reality struck the Maple Leafs.

Maple Leafs’ killer Josh Anderson gets the Canadiens on the board less than two minutes into the second. But then Rafael Harvey-Pinard tied the game at 13:35. Michael Pezzetta and Alex Belzile, who were playing essentially on the fourth line in an 11-7 setup, setup the goal. Shots in the second were 18-8 Canadiens.

NHL teams will push back no matter who we’re talking about. But how does this keep happening to the Maple Leafs over and over and over again?

It’s simple really. They’re no different than before.

Sheldon Keefe Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs have not proved they’re any different yet from previous seasons. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The third period saw no goals scored. But then in overtime, Rem Pitlick scored the winner. The Maple Leafs got a point, which put them to third place in the NHL standings. However they shouldn’t lose to this version of the Canadiens. They keep playing down to their competition for some confounding reason.

Our Peter Baracchini did a nice job of outlining the Maple Leafs’ struggles…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Hockey Writers…