The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators square off on Saturday night but will not be playing past this weekend. Much to the chagrin of fans of both Ontario based teams, their season is ending earlier than they had hoped or expected.
Both clubs had playoff expectations, and you could say they had mirrored seasons. Toronto’s downfall was an epic collapse late it the season, while the Senators did a slow burn pretty much from start to finish.
The similarities on the whole are pretty remarkable”
- Bench questions – Both Paul MacLean and Randy Carlyle will have a few sleepless nights after the season end. While Carlyle is more likely to get canned than MacLean, both have made decisions that can legitimately be questioned.
- Suspect goaltending – While Jonathan Bernier was good in stretches, when he went down with injury James Reimer couldn’t pull his weight in Toronto. Meanwhile, up the road the duo of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner were good at times, but overall the inconsistency between the pipes was a big reason they are done in mid-April.
- Attention to defense – Both the Leafs and the Senators struggled mightily in their own end. Goaltending aside, they allowed more shots on goal than any other franchise in the league. And I say “they” because the Senators were 29th and the Leafs 30th in shots allowed.
- Both teams scored enough and had top end talent offensively that they should have been able to make the playoffs. Ottawa and Toronto are 10th and 14th respectively in offensive production.
- Both teams have embattled captains that have had to face the music at different points in the season.
Two teams, one province, two bitter disappointments. In many cases, the same problems.
Toronto and Ottawa fans rarely agree on anything, but I think both sides will be in agreement that it will be painful to watch the Montreal Canadiens play on, even if it is only for one round.