There was plenty of blame to spread around the Leafs’ dressing room following Toronto’s 4-2 loss to Philadelphia at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.
Although the squad was more competitive than they were 48 hours ago in their defeat to Carolina, they lacked the ability to finish. Collectively the Leafs were outmuscled and outworked during their only two-man advantage of the game.
Which brings us to a glaring Achilles heel between the pipes.
Frederik Andersen is by no means solely to blame for the defeat. Yet his play of late has been eerily reminiscent of the October he posted, twelve months ago. And that’s not a good thing.
Andersen Oct vs Oct
2016 2017 (before tonite)
2-2-3 REC 6-3-0
3.67 GAA 3.54
.876 SV% .893
0 SO 1
— Kevin Gibson (@TSNResearch) October 29, 2017
“You just have to stay positive, all you can do is look forward,” Andersen said after his team lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
Often, Andersen was seen going down too early, leaving the 19,317 fans at ACC with flashbacks of James Reimer.
Credit goes to where it’s due. Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek was brilliant on the Flyers’ second goal, scoring on a breakaway and beating Andersen through the legs. In fact the play should have been whistled for a knee-on-knee hit that Philly’s Radko Gudas delivered on Leo Komarov.
However, Brandon Manning should not have been able to beat Andersen on the short side, as was the case with Philadelphia’s first tally.
Andersen appeared to find his rhythm on a Leafs’ penalty kill in the second period when he made a pair of point-blank saves to keep the Leafs trailing only 2-1 at the time. But as the penalty expired, Andersen gave away too much of an angle to Valtteri Filppula to allow the visitors to extend the lead.
Claude Giroux scored in simliar fashion to round out the Flyers’ scoring. In the Leafs’ final home game before Halloween, it was a nightmarish outing for Freddie (*groan*).
Nazem Kadri had both goals for the Leafs, converting a seeing-eye pass from Auston Matthews in the first period, and firing a shot that hit the net cam in the second frame.
“I think (Andersen) is fine,” Kadri said. “He’s making some tremendous saves for us, and he’s just got to continue to do that.”
Indeed Andersen’s teammates will outwardly be viewing the glass as half full.
Though the inconsistency in the Leafs’ net must be raising at least a few eyebrows.
In 2016, Rob wrote “Hockey’s Enforcers: A Dying Breed”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.