This isn’t last year’s team, and one loss doesn’t spell doom for all Leafs fans this year.
One of only two teams going into Monday undefeated, the Leafs lost in overtime to the Islanders after making a late-game charge. Last year, the loss would have been expected, but the new season has brought new hope to Toronto, and this loss won’t get them down.
"We all know that we're not going to win them all," goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere said after the loss. "We're going to face some challenges and stuff like that. The good thing is I can feel guys are mad; they're irritated with the loss."
At this point last season, the Leafs had no wins and had lost their seven games by a combined 18 points. This season they’ve won four of their five games by a combined eight points, a drastic change of pace.
A summer of trades and new acquisitions brought a new look and talent level to the team and quieted the critics of the trade of the second pick at the draft. A trade for 2009 Stanley Cup winner Kris Versteeg headlined the summer season followed by the signing of free agent Colby Armstrong, among others.
The two higher-profile players haven’t stepped up to the plate points-wise but have brought experience and leadership to the young team whose ages range from 20 to 32 with the majority sitting in the young 20s. That extra experience has led to a dreamlike early season for the Leafs that can't be dampened by only one speed bump.
One loss for the Leafs isn't the end of the world and may possibly release some pressure from the talented team as the organization and city that supports them hope to see an end to the seven-year playoff drought.
In an 82-game season, it is nearly impossible to keep a perfect record, leaving the chance for multiple losses higher as the season progresses. The pressure that comes from keeping a perfect record can be crippling to a team in the late season and ruin their chance at a Championship.
So for those fans that are worried that one loss will send the Leafs spiraling down into the depths of last season, relax and enjoy the ride of being one of the top teams in the league while it lasts. There are still 78 games left for the Leafs during the regular season; more wins and losses are still to come.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!