After a poor effort in the first period, the Maple Leafs left two big points on the table. Dallas struck early in all three periods on route to a 3-2 victory in Toronto. The Maple Leafs are still currently in a playoff spot, but the room for error is getting smaller.

Freddy Returns 

Fredrick Andersen made his return to this ice. Andersen had been out since February 3rd, when a Panthers forward collided with him. This game however is one Andersen will look to forget quickly. He let in 3 goals on 19 shots. Being the most worked goalie in the league you would expect better from Andersen with such a low number of shots.

The bigger problem was that the Stars scored on their first shot in each of the periods. Andersen has been rock solid all season but it was an off night against the Stars. I understand that Keefe trusts when Andersen said he was ready but I feel his return could of been delayed. The old saying is “stick with the hot hand” and Campbell had been doing very well in relief. It would have been a better idea to let Campbell play in this game and then let Andersen return against Ottawa on Saturday night.

Keefe’s Strategy

Unlike Babcock, Sheldon Keefe is always open to changes that can help spark the team. He’s not afraid to try new things and I respect him for that. With all the talent on the team there is no reason not to try out different strategies. What I respect even more about him is that he knows quickly when something isn’t working. For the past two games Keefe has been running a line of Nylander, Matthews and Marner.

On paper that line should be lighting up every team with a boatload of goals. Sadly they just couldn’t click and Keefe realized fast enough to switch it up once again. Oddly enough, after the switch all three recorded a point. Matthews in particular scored his league leading 41st goal of the season, setting  a new career high for him with 24 games remaining in the season.

Trade Talk

With the NHL trade deadline only 10 days away it is clear more than ever Dubas needs to make something happen. The price for a quality defenseman goes up every day and time’s running out. I believe that a move has to be done before Monday. Or else the price will be too high after that.

With the injury to Johnsson last night, this does create more room for Dubas to work with. There is no need to add depth on offence because Mikheyev is nearing a return and he will be a big boost to the team. It now comes down to whether Rielly can return and make a positive comeback. Personally I feel that Rielly should take the time to recover and Dubas should make a trade. Rielly is an amazing player but to come off an injury at such a crucial time in the season may not work out very well for the Maple Leafs.

The Maple Leafs will now head on a three game road trip, starting Saturday night in Ottawa.