As Bob Dylan might warble, the Maple Leafs are knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door.
With an NHL-best 34.7 shots a game, including seven in a row with more than 30 and a club record-tying 61 on Monday, Toronto shouldn’t be hovering around 2.5 goals a game and worst of all, 30th in a 30-team league.
“It is frustrating, but you can’t stop what you’re doing and say we’re doing it wrong.” coach Ron Wilson said Tuesday at the MasterCard Centre. “We’re averaging 35 shots, so we have to stick with it and score. I know we will.”
The Leafs took exactly 100 shots their past two games, taking three of four points in the process. But they make just enough execution errors, coupled with mistakes in their own end, to undo most of the good work. Hence, a record of 4-11-7.
“It’s kind of like that Dutch boy, running around putting my fingers in holes as you spring leaks,” Wilson said.
The Leafs still were shaking their heads 24 hours after the Islanders old man Dwayne Roloson made 58 saves and a breakout bungle cost the Leafs the overtime goal.
“It’s good we’re shooting a lot, but at the same time, we have to do a better job of screening the goalie,” Alexei Ponikarovsky said. “We have to work on that every day.”
Toronto’s next chance comes tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the first of two games in Florida, where the Leafs used to count on some easy points. But both the Bolts and Panthers are almost 10 points ahead of them.
“It sucks to keep saying it, but we just have to find a way,” centre Matt Stajan said. “(Monday) I can’t explain, maybe you’ll never see that again.
“But our effort was there. We just have to bear down.”
The Leafs are getting the most out of new winger Phil Kessel, who had 12 shots against Roloson and scored on one, his sixth in 10 games.
“We just have to find a way to get one extra goal here and there and get a couple of more wins,” Kessel said.
“We slip off for a bit and (Monday night), in about five minutes, they got (three) goals.”