The Toronto Maple Leafs experienced a “mini-slump” of sorts after losing back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues. A 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday seemingly quelled any concerns, though.
However, ex-Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke wasn’t buying that storyline.
“This happens to teams and the more young players you have, the more frequently it happens,” Burke explained Thursday on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. “You know it’s not coaching. They’ve got a good coach, they’ve got good assistant coaches, the goaltending was okay, so it’s just a funk.”
Burke also pointed out that Toronto’s speed, which had been absent in its previous two games, was a key factor in Wednesday’s victory.
“I liked them a lot last night,” Burke said. “They had control of the puck, they didn’t give up a lot of high-quality scoring chances, and they got their speed back. The last couple of games, they looked like they forfeited a lot of their speed.”
As for the Jets, their three-game winning streak ended after that loss. However, even at 6-3-1, Burke believes Winnipeg still hasn’t hit its top gear.
“I don’t think they’ve played 60 good minutes yet this year,” said Burke. “I don’t think they’ve got it clicking yet. In this league, they’re not losing ground because their record is respectable enough. They’re not falling out of it. You can fall out of the race by enough points in October or November, then you use up so much gasoline getting back into the race that there’s nothing left in the tank at the end. I really like their team … But there’s something wrong here. They’re not clicking on all eight cylinders. They’re not meshing.”
You can listen to the full interview below (starts at 45:10)