The Toronto Maple Leafs got away with blowing a big lead Sunday against Detroit. But last night in Washington, they paid the price with the loss of a valuable point.
The Leafs led the Capitals, 4-2, after two periods. They lost the game, 6-5 in overtime, on a goal by Alex Ovechkin.
Afterwards, Toronto coach Mike Babcock said he didn’t think his team collapsed. He thought it was a bad game from start to finish.
“I thought we were playing the same way the whole game: not good enough, not competitive enough, didn’t execute,” said Babcock. “They scored two goals in the third period on total D-zone breakdowns. All we’ve got to do is stop and talk to one another and execute. To me, that doesn’t have much to do with what time in the game it is, it has to do with doing your job. We weren’t good enough.”
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Leafs. It was also the sixth time this season that they’d lost a game in overtime after taking a lead into the third period. Their .650 winning percentage when leading after two periods is higher than only two teams, Detroit (.615) and Carolina (.588).
On the bright side, the Leafs still managed to move ahead of Tampa Bay into fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
“In lots of ways we got a point here tonight and getting a point on the road when you’re not very good doesn’t happen very often,” said Babcock.
Still, it was another disappointing loss after they’d put themselves into a position to win. Good teams know how to protect leads, and these young Leafs are still learning how.