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Babcock goes back to Andersen, who ‘hasn’t been good enough’ lately

Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13: Frederik Andersen #31 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes the third period save on J.T. Miller #10 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2017 in New York City. The Maple Leafs defeated the Rangers 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Frederik Andersen has endured a nightmarish start to the month, allowing a whopping 16 goals in just three games for the Toronto Maple Leafs. And if we’re being honest, it’s actually been four rough outings in a row for the 27-year-old Dane; he got yanked in his last start of January.

This morning, head coach Mike Babcock stated the obvious, telling reporters that the goalie’s game “hasn’t been good enough” lately. Andersen will get the start tonight against the visitors from St. Louis, an opportunity to work through whatever issues he’s been having.

It hasn’t been all Andersen’s fault. After his last start, a 6-5 OT loss to the Islanders on Monday, it was the team’s defensive coverage that got the blame.

“For me, to give up free ones, just tap-ins by our net, is not good enough. We’ve got to get that fixed in a hurry,” said Babcock. “You can’t give up a 3-on-1 in overtime, you can’t be on the wrong side of people when they’re shooting on your net. We’ve got to do a better job.”

Toronto’s backup, Curtis McElhinney, started Tuesday against Dallas. He was excellent, stopping 39 of 40 shots in a 3-1 victory. But the Leafs were also “way harder around our net and in our zone,” according to Babcock.

Though some naturally wondered if McElhinney deserved a follow-up start, Andersen is still the No. 1. So tonight, he’ll get a chance to put his struggles behind him, while at the same time the Leafs will try to have a better game in front of him.