The Toronto Maple Leafs just can’t seem to do anything right. The Maple Leafs surrendered another lead in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Maple Leafs fell to 1-10 in games decided beyond regulation and more specifically, 0-8 in overtime.
Some surprisingly good special teams had the Leafs ahead 2-1 late in the third, but a couple of 4-on-3 power-plays stemming from bad penalties resulted in the tying and winning goals for the Lightning.
I’ll be the first to admit that the refereeing was terrible in this game. Alexei Ponikarovsky had good reason to be upset for his boarding penalty late in the third, as Martin St. Louis clearly turned his back on Ponikarovsky, who was already committed to the body check.
However, that was no excuse for Ponikarovsky to take the unsportsmanlike penalty after the tying goal by Ryan Malone. The Leafs got Ponikarovsky off the hook with a good penalty-kill, just as they got Mayers and Orr off the hook for their simultaneous penalties in the first period.
But in the end, another bad penalty, the too many men on the ice call in overtime, ended up costing the Maple Leafs another game. I hate to admit it, but it was the right call, even in overtime.
Some may blame the referees, some may blame a little bad luck, but the Maple Leafs shot themselves in the foot one too many times. They really should have won this game, and that’s the disheartening part. The mental errors and lack of discipline really cost them two points.
Some other thoughts from the game:
- Despite the fact that I like Niklas Hagman playing with Phil Kessel, I found the timing of Ron Wilson’s change a bit curious, as the Stajan-Ponikarovsky-Hagman line had been on fire. I always wondered why Wilson hadn’t tried playing the Leafs’ top two-goal scorers together, but why tonight all of a sudden?
- When did Phil Kessel become an assist machine? He set up Ian White’s power-play goal with a beautiful cross-ice feed, extending his point streak to 7 games (1 G, 7 A).
- Wayne Primeau had a tough time in his first game back from a knee injury. He took a couple of minor penalties and fanned on a clearing attempt in his own zone, leading to Steven Stamkos’ goal.
- Jonas Gustavsson played a really solid game, but was unable to come up with enough big saves late in the game. Couldn’t blame him on either of those late goals though.
The Maple Leafs have not scored a 4-on-4 goal this season. Surprising? Or not?
Follow me on twitter: @SantosDan