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This has to count as the worst stretch of the season so far for the Leafs. Losers of 3 of the past 4, their power play is off, their penalty kill isn’t clicking, timely saves have been tough to find and things just seem to be off at the wrong time.

They played well against the Tampa Bay Lightning but ran into a hot goalie, spurring questions about their ability to compete with the NHLs elite. They’ve openly admitted that the 4-4-1 record they’ve posted against their Atlantic Division rivals isn’t good enough, and I agree. It’s very likely that they meet one of those teams in the 1st round this year. Further, it’s likely that they run into a lot of different challenges such as hot goalies and much more physically imposing teams. They need to find a way to win some of these games and doing that now would make many fans more confident come playoff time.

With all of this said, calling a stretch like this their worst of the season should be encouraging.

The Florida Panthers have lost 4 straight games, and 5 of their last 6. They can score goals but at the moment the problem is keeping them out of their own net. They’ve allowed at least 4 goals in each loss over that same 6 game period and carry a 3.57 GA/GP rating into tonights game, good for 5th worst in the NHL.

On paper this is another game the Buds should win, but bad stretches where nothing seems to go their way can be tough to climb out. The Leafs needs to start quick and refuse to let up all game long, and having Andersen, your expected starter, play like we all know he can, would go a long way to posting a big “W” tonight.

This post first appeared on Leafs Hub, please read the originial post: here

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