Last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-2. It was the team’s third straight loss; and, perhaps even worse, their third straight blown lead. Does this mean that Maple Leafs fans should be concerned?

Whether they should be or not, concerns are growing among the Maple Leafs faithful. In the aftermath of the Maple Leafs’ third-straight blown lead, the fanbase is growing restless. In the video below, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox and Shawn McKenzie discussed the team’s loss against the Red Wings. Also, during their discussion, they also highlighted key aspects such as Ilya Samsonov’s return to the lineup and the lingering worries after another lead slipped away.

Samsonov Didn’t Look Bad Last Night Against the Red Wings

While it would be a stretch to say that Ilya Samsonov looked great in the net, the truth is that he didn’t look rotten. Even in the face of the loss, there was a silver lining in that Samsonov’s performance was positive. That fact likely surprised a large number of fans.

Despite not picking up a win in his first start back, he showed confidence and composure between the pipes. Fans saw glimpses of the Samsonov they’ve been missing. He didn’t look lost on the ice and he made some crucial saves. For example, one was a standout stop on Alex DeBrincat.

Ilya Samsonov, Maple Leafs starting goalie

Even the fans got into it. They chanted “Sammy” at Scotiabank Arena. It was a positive thing to hear and showed that they were both rooting for him and also that they appreciated his positive efforts. Although it’s been five weeks without a win for Samsonov, last night’s game was a much-needed confidence boost for him, but also for the fanbase of Leafs Nation.

Related: 5 Reasons Maple Leafs’ Fans Have a Bad On for Mitch Marner?

Still, There’s The Issue of Blown Leads

On the flip side, the Maple Leafs are facing the negative trend of failing to hold leads. It’s becoming a significant cause for concern. After the game, Sheldon Keefe attempted to downplay the issue. That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that there have been three straight games where the Maple Leafs couldn’t close out a game when they had a lead.

The latest loss against the Red Wings, especially on home ice, adds to the unease. Keefe understood that one goal was the result of a defensive lapse by Timothy Liljegren. Another goal was attributed to Morgan Reilly’s broken stick. While that’s true, the broader problem requires attention. The team simply didn’t score when it needed to, and the Red Wings caught up and then eventually past the Maple Leafs.

The team – especially Auston Matthews and William Nylander – just didn’t find a way to put their opponents away. First, they didn’t score enough goals. Second, they didn’t stop the other team from scoring. Either way would have worked to help them win games; yet, the team could pull off neither strategy.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Jarnkrok Is a Perfect Fit with Matthews & Marner

The Regular Season Is Halfway Over, Yet the Issue Persists

For Leafs fans, the frustration of losing when the team was ahead is growing tiresome. That feeling is palpable as the team searches for consistency at the halfway point of the season. The team just doesn’t have it.

How do they find it? There are discussions about how to build better defensive strategies; or, about the need for a more assertive approach. Of course, there’s also the looming question of whether the current coaching staff can help the team work through these challenges.

As the season progresses, the Maple Leafs will continue to find stability. However, for now, the concerns are growing louder. Can the team address the recurring issue of blown leads? If this pattern continues, the team will fall out of a playoff spot. That would simply be unthinkable with the talent that’s on this team.

Related: Five Reasons William Villeneuve is a Solid Defensive Prospect

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