The two biggest questions for the Toronto Maple Leafs going into their first round matchup against the Montreal Canadiens are (1) how will Jack Campbell perform as their playoff starter?, and (2) can the Leafs sort out their struggling special teams? We’ve touched the first question already, so let’s focus on the latter.
You may be surprised to learn the Leafs ended their season with the league’s 16th-ranked powerplay and 23rd-ranked penalty kill, which would place them 11th and 13th among 16 playoff teams in these two measures of special teams proficiency. This feels at odds with the offensive talent the Leafs have and the defensive strides the team has made this season, so let’s dive into the numbers to see what may be causing the recent issues.
The 2020-21 season was very much a tale of two halves for the Maple Leafs’ powerplay. The team clicked at a scorching 31.3% through the first 28 games of the season which left them with the 2nd-best powerplay in the league on March 12th. In the final 28 games of the season, the Leafs powerplay went a dismal 6.9%, resulting in the league’s 2nd-worst powerplay from March 13th onwards. It was a stunning 180 …
Author: Mark Norman / The Leafs Nation