Maple Leafs needed just this: 8-1 beatdown of Hurricanes

Getty
3 Comments

If you take a quick look at the Toronto Maple Leafs’ treacherous December schedule, Tuesday was the perfect opportunity to get a much-needed win.

Sometimes the obvious thing is still important, so the Maple Leafs have to be pleased to end a three-game losing streak in an emphatic way, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 8-1. They had just closed off a three-game road trip, and today’s game in Toronto marks their last home date until 2018 begins.

There were some notable goals, both from the perspective of franchise history:

And also closing off personal slumps, as Mitch Marner scored his first goal since Nov. 11:

Not a bad way for the Maple Leafs to celebrate their 100th anniversary, eh?

Again, the road ahead looks like it will be pretty bumpy, at least to end the calendar year:

Wed, Dec 20 @ Columbus
Sat, Dec 23 @ NY Rangers
Thu, Dec 28 @ Arizona
Fri, Dec 29 @ Colorado
Sun, Dec 31 @ Vegas

On the bright side, 2018 could start with a burst of positive energy, as the Maple Leafs will begin January with a six-game homestand.

So, getting a win like they managed today could be quite helpful. That’s especially true if this is a confidence-booster that they’ll carry into this upcoming road trip, rather than a palate cleanser at home between two stretches heavy on defeat.

As it stands, the Buds are in a solid spot, as they’re in a strong position to grab either the second or third seed in the flawed Atlantic Division. To some extent, this is all about building up a buffer in case the team hits a more serious lull, or gaining some experience in tough situations and, ideally, taking the next step as a rising team.

One win or loss is only so important during an 82-game season, but today’s victory against the Hurricanes was a notable one nonetheless.

Now, as a bonus: here’s a weird photo from the game, via Getty.

via Getty

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.