Once again the Maple Leafs traveled into Pittsburgh and were taught a lesson. Crosby stole the show finishing the game as the first star after recording a four point night. This is the second consecutive loss for the Maple Leafs as they begin slip out of a playoff spot.

Andersen’s Struggles Continue

Since returning from injury, Andersen has lost all three of his starts. This one in Pittsburgh last night was his worst outing. Facing only 24 shots it should’ve been an easy outing for Andersen but once again he struggled. Especially in the second period, allowing three goals on only 4 shots. This ultimately sealed the game as the Penguins were up 5-0 with four minutes left in the period.

It is very weird to see Andersen struggle like this. All season he has been solid. Yes he had a three game skid in November, but something seems off here. After his game against Dallas, I mentioned I felt like he was rushed back. It could be that his injury was more serious than everyone thought. Losing the game against Dallas probably was a big hit to his confidence. It would have been better if Campbell played that game and Andersen played Ottawa. All Andersen needs now is a dominant performance to get his confidence back. However, the schedule to end February does not favour him and the Leafs.

Broken Record 

Last night was the 26th time that the Leafs allowed 3 or more goals in a period. Only the last place Detroit Red Wings have done it more. I’m impressed that the Leafs have been able to stay afloat for this long with such a horrible defensive core. At this point I’m afraid that if one of them had a nosebleed, they wouldn’t be able to stop it.

They do play amazing at times, take Ottawa on Saturday night for example. Ottawa is better than their record says and the Leafs played well. They controlled the game and when Ottawa was able to get some momentum they held them in check. It’s almost like they play one or two fantastic games then forget how to play. As a fan its stressful to watch because they can be very good.

This team can and should compete with the best in the league but in all honesty, this loss to Pittsburgh could mark th beginning of the end. To finish off February, they play Pittsburgh, Carolina and Vancouver at home and then have to play Tampa and Florida on the road. More than likely, come March 1st the Leafs playoffs hopes will be gone.

Something Positive 

Auston Matthews continued his chase for the Rocket Richard last night as he scored his 43rd of the season. He reclaimed the scoring lead with a beautiful one timer in the second period.

As bad as this season has been, Matthews has been a constant positive. Leading the league in goals and being in the top ten in points shows he is growing into on of the most dominate forwards in the NHL. Even his defensive play has gotten better. All around his play this season has earned him the right to be in the talks for MVP. Yes, the Leafs record does not help him but if McDavid can become MVP in a year where the Oilers missed the playoffs, then Matthews should be among the favourites come seasons’ end.

The Leafs will return to action on Thursday night as they will host the Pittsburgh Penguins.