Could It Get Any Worse?
To say the least, it was a disappointing weekend in Leaf land. A decent effort Saturday versus the Canucks was spoiled, Kadriâ€™s season debut will mostly be remembered for losing the puck on a 3-on-1, and ex-Leaf Viktor Stalberg scored his 6th goal of the season for the Blackhawks…in overtime…with Brian Burke in attendance.
The Maple Leafsâ€™ losing streak ballooned to 8 games after falling to the Canucks on a weak goal on J.S. Giguere in the third period Saturday. Giguere made some big saves throughout the game, but couldnâ€™t make an easy one in the end. Perhaps Brett Lebda should have gotten his stick out of the way, but itâ€™s still one that Giguereâ€™s got to have. I still think Jonas Gustavsson should be getting more games in goal.
As for Nazem Kadri, losing the puck on that 3-on-1 with the game tied in the third, shows that he was a little jittery with the game on the line. I also thought that he got knocked over way too easily on a couple of occasions. Oh, and he lost the puck on a shootout attempt in the Leafs skill competition on Sunday as well.
Last but not least, Viktor Stalberg scored the overtime winner as the Blackhawks beat the Ducks on Sunday, with Brian Burke looking on no less. Stalberg played on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, and looked really good. I donâ€™t want to start the whole Stalberg versus Versteeg comparison, as Stalberg has a lot more talented players around him. However, itâ€™s kind of disheartening to see him blossoming with 6 goals despite getting a lot less ice time than Versteeg, who has 2.
However, there are some positives coming out of the weekend:
Kadri set up a couple of great chances in the third period on Saturday. He showed his creativity and will only get more comfortable as he gets more NHL games under his belt.
Mikhail Grabovski has 3 goals in his last 4 games, 7 points in the last 6 games and continues to lead the team with a +7 rating, a pretty remarkable stat on a team that has lost 11 of 16 games this season.
Phil Kessel broke his 7-game pointless drought with a goal on the power play, in which the Leafs had not scored on in their previous 3 games.
As for Kris Versteeg, I still think heâ€™s one of, if not the best, all-around player on the Leafs. Heâ€™s a smart player with a ton of talent, heâ€™s just had a tough time finishing. He seemingly gets a breakaway every other game, so at least heâ€™s still getting his chances. Also, Versteeg has 5 points in the last 6 games, and Iâ€™m pretty sure that Stalberg canâ€™t do this:
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