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NHL Insiders slam defensive play of two key Maple Leafs


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Mark Parsons
April 21, 2024  (12:54)
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Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate a goal
Photo credit: Sportsnet

Game 1 of the series proved to be a challenging outing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who faced a decisive defeat by the Boston Bruins. The Bruins controlled the game from the onset, leaving the Maple Leafs to deal with a substantial fallout.

Two Leafs players, Pontus Holmberg and Simon Benoit, found themselves particularly criticized for their performance during the game. Their defensive plays in the second period were scrutinized by two respected former NHL players, Paul Bissonnette and Kevin Bieksa, who were providing analysis on different broadcasts.

Holmberg and Benoit criticized by NHL Insiders on multiple broadcasts

Bissonnette, speaking on the TNT broadcast, criticized Holmberg for giving the opponent too much room, allowing them to maneuver freely and execute plays that should have been contained. Similarly, he pointed out Benoit's inability to block crucial shots from the far side, which resulted in a goal that put the Leafs at a further disadvantage.
Bieksa, offering his insights on CBC, mirrored Bissonnette's observations. He highlighted defensive errors, particularly Benoit's miscalculation in anticipating a pass rather than a direct shot, which led to a goal. According to Bieksa, Benoit and Holmberg's poor defensive coordination allowed the Bruins' player DeBrusk to take a more advantageous shooting position, exacerbating the Leafs' defensive woes.
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Both commentators emphasized the need for better defensive coverage and decision-making, pointing out that these were not just individual errors but also indicative of larger team defensive issues. Jake Allen, also part of the CBC broadcast, agreed with their assessments, noting that the general defensive strategy should have been better executed. This collective critique highlights significant areas of improvement for the Maple Leafs as they prepare for Game 2, with both Holmberg and Benoit under particular pressure to enhance their defensive plays.
Source - HockeyFeed:
Bieksa, Bissonnette call out 2 Maple Leafs after a brutal Game 1.
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NHL Insiders slam defensive play of two key Maple Leafs

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