The first crisis of Randy Carlyle’s first full season in charge of the Maple Leafs should have been averted, maybe could have been averted.
It certainly seemed that way for most of Thursday night against the high-flying Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Leafs controlled the tempo, the board play, the special teams game, the middle of the ice, almost everything coach Carlyle wants them to control. But at the end of the evening, the scoreboard read Pittsburgh 3, Toronto 1. The Leafs had lost their fourth straight game, deserving better for their efforts. But that’s somewhat meaningless, yet inspiring this morning. And now, Saturday night’s match with the Winnipeg Jets is suddenly enormous.