The Maple Leafs’ progress on home ice is going to have to come in fits and starts.
With a trouncing of the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on Monday night still fresh, the Leafs play just three of their remaining nine games in February at the ACC.
But that’s not a bad thing, considering the Leafs’ 6-1-0 road record, the best in the Eastern Conference.
Still, despite being outshot 46-24 by the Flyers — the most shots the Leafs have allowed in a game this season — there were plenty of positives for the Leafs, who won for only the second time on home ice in six games.
They didn’t wilt after Wayne Simmonds scored in the opening minute. There was no deflation after James Reimer suffered a left leg injury in the second period. The Leafs remained hungry in the third, even though they went into the period with a three-goal lead.
The power play still is in a funk. The Leafs failed to score on five advantages. They’ve scored just nine power-play goals in 65 opportunities, a 13.8% success rate that is 26th in the National Hockey League.
However, in the bigger picture, the Leafs have been getting the goaltending any team needs to be successful. In beating the Flyers, Toronto improved to 6-2 in games they have been outshot.
Ben Scrivens had no rust in relief of Reimer, whose condition will be updated later on Tuesday. Until he was injured, Reimer had been outstanding, nudging his way into the top 10 in save percentage.
The Leafs play the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens at the ACC before the end of February. All are games that are winnable.
Coach Randy Carlyle has to hope that the triumph over Philly will prove to be a solid jumping-off point.