Leafs must avoid extracurriculars in Game 5
Two of three goals in Toronto's 2-1 in over Florida in Game 4 came on the power play so the Leafs must resist engaging the Panthers attempts to put players in the penalty box in another elimination game.
- This is both a key and a concern because there are a lot of extracurriculars in this game. Again, this is not too surprising. That's how Florida's been all playoffs against Boston and now against the Leafs. But as the game-- as it was becoming more obvious that the game was out of reach for them, the extracurriculars started to pile up.
So Radko Gudas was this huge hit on David Kampf. The whistle blows. There are some people saying, oh, he didn't hear the whistle. Or he's in the process of skating anyway. I don't know. I think it should have been something, charging, boarding, whatever, right. So that happens. Big hit on Kampf. He leaves the game. But there's, like, no response. Like, Gudas even turns around and says, like, expecting a fight. And there's nothing.
And then at the end of the game, like the final minute, Brandon Montour takes to run up-- run up Morgan Reilly. Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty go at him. There's a huge brawl. There's a huge fight. Matthew Tkachuk is, like, literally has his gloves in Mitch Marner's face. And Mitch Marner is looking at the ref like, can you please stop? I don't want to fight. There's nothing I can do here.
That was a message sent. Florida sent the message. You won the battle. But you didn't lose the war. And they're right because they're still up in the series. They're still 3, 1. All they need to do is win one game. And if these extracurriculars is-- I don't some, type of strategy or a mind game or whatever or just helps them feel better heading into game 5, at least and be careful about that.
Like, call a spade a spade. We don't have the same personnel that the Panthers do to, kind of, go toe to-- go toe to toe or go head to head in that. Right, but what the Leafs need to focus on is what they did well in this one. They were boring. They're responsible. They scored those stupid goals with deflections and with screens. And they didn't make those mistakes.
That's what they need to focus on. If they get caught up in their extracurriculars, and they start having a parade to the penalty box, then they're going to get in trouble. Florida had a power play. They scored on it. Shouldn't have been a penalty, whatever. I'm not going to have that conversation. But they got their-- they got their power play. They scored on it.
The Leafs got their power play. And they scored on it. So they need to keep the game at 5 on 5 as long as possible and avoid all of that extra stuff. Now obviously not defend yourself. You don't want to be thrown around or whatever. But that extra jab, that extra punch, that extra hit, be wary of that because that's what Florida is trying to get us into. And as we've seen in this one, we don't necessarily need to stoop to that level to win a game. And the Leafs need to win that game and the next one and the next one.