Despite losses in two of three, the Leafs looked to be fighting their way out of a slump with some good efforts against some good competition in San Jose, Los Angeles and Chicago. A 50/50 game to the Pittsburgh Penguins was kind of a writeoff defeat. A loss as sloppy as this one to the Florida Panthers, though, suggests the tailspin is still very much in progress.
1 – Three minutes into the game, Dion Phaneuf lost a gamble in an attempt to provide the drop pass option to Kadri, only for Kadri to force a pass into the middle and lose the puck. Phaneuf was caught and Gunnarsson was a step behind Tomas Fleischmann, who beat Reimer from the right circle on a shot that could have been stopped.
2 – Messy defensive coverage in the first 10 minutes. To be clear, no one was without fault, but the reinsertion of Mark Fraser doesn’t help matters. He creates issues when he’s on the ice with his inability to move the puck quickly enough; bobbles, flat footedness, losing it in his feet, you name it. Liles really didn’t deserve to sit.
3 – The Leafs woke up a little in the second half of the period, but Scott Clemmensen was up to the task on point blank chances for Kadri and a redirect off a Franson point shot, in particular. The Leafs were still pretty disjointed for the remainder of the period.
4 – The first line provided a good first 40 seconds to the 2nd period, only for a joke of a second shift to cripple any momentum. The Leafs played hot potato with the puck in their own zone until Reimer took a holding penalty.
5 – Six minutes into the 2nd period, Kessel got knocked over without the puck on what should have been an interference call. Not sure he was getting to the puck anyway given the angle Franson had chipped it off the glass, but it’s still interference. The initial point shot got gloved down and jammed in by Sean Bergenheim.
6 – Last time this team played in a back to back scenario against St. Louis, Randy Carlyle described his team’s play as braindead. That may be the best description of the team’s second period, in particular, tonight. For example(s), all of this came within the span of a few minutes:
- A good chance opened up for Holland and Clarkson on a 2 on 1. Holland went wide as though expecting Clarkson to crash the back post, instead Clarkson followed Holland across the slot and was easily picked up by the defenceman in front.
- Picking up a loose pick to the side of the net, Raymond, instead of getting a puck to the net with bodies in front, turned away from the net and forced a pass that led to a 3 on 1 the other way which, fortunately, Rielly had the wheels to cover back on.
- Kessel tried a rinky dink move instead of getting a puck to the net with traffic in front, leading to a turnover.
- There was frustrating non call on a Raymond trip moments earlier, but that didn’t explain the decision by Raymond to drop the puck to Phaneuf with a forechecker in his face and no available out. Phaneuf should have just hammered it down the ice or something instead of trying to beat the forechecker, but alas he got caught trying to deke and a few seconds later Brad Boyes scored.
There was a total of one good chance in the 2nd period for the Leafs, when Rielly fed Kadri in the slot. The Leafs didn’t have their best effort tonight, but this type of poor decision making and inappropriate fancy play made it that much harder on themselves.
7 – Gardiner sat for a good chunk of the 2nd and much of the first half of the third with Leafs trailing and in need of offence. Inexplicable. Picking one dumb defensive play on the 2nd goal out of the pile of slop in this game is nonsense. Gardiner only played 16 minutes tonight.
8 – Here’s the really concerning part about Clarkson: He hasn’t just been a nonfactor. He might now be hurting the team. The suspension doesn’t seem to have give him much of a reset. His contribution in the first period amount to a penalty, the result of his constant use of the free arm, and falling over during board battles. In the 2nd period came that bizarre play on the 2 on 1. Clarkson opened one decent chance for himself in the third, but the concern is that his play is so off right now he’s a detriment to whatever line he’s on.
9 – Here are the results from the second game in the last four back to backs:
- 4-2 loss to Montreal
- 5-2 loss to Boston
- 6-3 loss to St. Louis
- 3-1 loss to Florida
If legs aren’t all there, this team hasn’t had much to offer. In a midseason back to back against a team like Florida, they just don’t seem to have the ability to grind out wins by winning battles in the trenches.
10 – Not a lot going right for the Leafs at the moment. Even Phaneuf seems to be forcing some things trying to get his team going. The top line had its chances tonight, but has been unable to break through in the past three games except for the 7th goal against Chicago. It’s at the point where we, as fans, and seemingly the players, are expecting bad things to happen when one thing goes against them.
What now? Beats me.
|21||J. van Riemsdyk||L||0||0||0||-2||0||3||2||0||0||0||0%||2:09:00||1:13:00||21:33:00|
|NO.||PLAYER||SAVES - SHOTS||SV%||PIM||TOI|
|34||J. Reimer||20 - 23||0.87||2||57:51:00|
Hey everyone! There's a new thread and it's getting a little lonely over there. So move on.
Wednesday Mashup: Ghosts of the Southeast Division http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/12/18/morning-mashup-ghosts-of-the-southeast-division/ … via @CTOCallaghan >> second attempt to get this going
We lose against teams we should beat because we get too fancy. We compete against teams that are better than us, because we play a simplified game. Imagine if we just always played a simplified game.... Things'd be good.
Largusmeans.......good point....imho while it has as much to do with what Bolland brings on the ice...it has alot to do with what a player like Bolland brings in the dressing room, at practise, in general, off the ice. I think being on a cup team has shown him u have to bring it EVERY game....something i dont think is apart of that room right now....even when the team falls behind, a guy like Bolland settles the team down and says we can still win this one....Carlyle has said on many occasion...."Bolland's work ethic is 2nd to none!!" It seems without him the guys get out to an early lead like in the Chicago game and they roll(confidence high)....but if the other team scores, like last nite, players go missing?
this is the guy who should be coaching the leafs. not FN Randy Carlyel http://t.co/pJX1iywc8N
Leafs with Bolland 10-4.
Leafs without Bolland 7-14.
Does that stat truly mean as much as it looks like it does?
@Axle_Goalie I agree simplicity really fits Phaneuf's game particularly well (ohh the double entendre)
@rustynail Good, I thought I was losing it.
@rustynail some type of anti phaneuf rant. I wonder if anti-carlyle or anti-clarkson rant would get the same reaction. any one care to try?
@rustynail Something about a pylon ?
@rustynail I thought I did too. Happy with removal.
@LargusMeans That stat is important and relevant if it supports your narrative. And is not relevant if it does not support your narrative. That is the whole trick with advanced stats - simply pick some data that supports your position to make your position sound even stronger.
@LargusMeans A 3rd line C shouldn't impact the way the whole team plays. It was rotten to the core even when Bolland here. Only difference is they found ways to win. Now they're not.
@LargusMeans Bolland kept our top 6 facing weaker competition. Need him back ASAP because we can't replace his role internally.
@LargusMeans Some, its more of losing both your top centers, but yes Bolland was a big help
@LargusMeans yeah i think so. OR that stat is indicator how much we need our top centers
@sniperstar ugh. why not?
@sniperstar I would give Carrick a shot
@Greg Fenton@Jon5200GregF....i TOTALLY agree 100%.....i just think Bolland, being on a cup team, 2X, knows 'what it takes'.....i think Kessel/Phaneuf/Lupul are talented but need that something that Bolland can bring....i'm not nescessarily hung up on Bolland but the leadership intangible he brings....like a John Madden for example...not an elite player but on cup teams and knew/knows 'what it takes to win and win consistantly....imho thats why he play on different teams after his time with the Devils until he was 40!!
@Burtonboy True. I've heard some good things about the kid thus far. He could be an interesting call up.
@wendelsway1 I'm going to pull this trigger if Smithson's called up.
I really mean it this time!!!