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Carlyle says 9-2 meltdown vs. Preds ‘changed’ the Leafs

Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 13: Morgan Rielly #44 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates a third period goal during NHL game action against the Detroit Red Wings December 13, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

It’s the sort of thing that usually gets edited out of a Hollywood script, but a disastrous loss may have just been the spark the Toronto Maple Leafs needed.

At least, that’s what head coach Randy Carlyle thinks about his Buds as Saturday’s 4-1 victory against the Detroit Red Wings pushes Toronto to 8-1-1 since a humiliating 9-2 home loss against the Nashville Predators. He said as much to TSN’s Jonas Siegel.

“That’s changed our group since then,” Carlyle said.

Siegel reports that Jonathan Bernier deemed it “one of our best games of the year.”

One of the best parts about this win - at least for the more skeptical members of the Maple Leafs’ fan base - is that it wasn’t merely about leaning heavily on Bernier or James Reimer to bail them out (as has often been the case). Toronto generated a 41-28 shot advantage and the puck possession follows that trend:


(Chart via Natural Stat Trick)

We’ve seen this Carlyle-powered Leafs team experience some dramatic highs and lows, yet if they can play like they did on Saturday more often than not, that 8-1-1 run may indeed be a sign of things to come.

Then again, the downright cynical Leafs fans might just spout the “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in ...” line from “The Godfather III.”

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins