The Leafs and lost leads

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Toronto Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk (21) shoots the puck past New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30), of Sweden, to score during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

While the Leafs did well to battle back and take a 4-3 lead in their eventual shootout loss to Detroit on Saturday, once again they failed to shut down a game when they needed to.

I went back and counted up the number of times the Leafs have forfeited a third period lead. Here’s the list:

GameDescriptionPlayers on Ice
CarolinaLeading 2-0 going into third, lost 3-2 in regulation.4, 12, 19, 43, 44, 45; 3, 12, 36, 42, 45, 81; 3, 12, 36, 45, 63 (PK)
New JerseyLeading 1-0, coughed up lead with 4:45 to go. Won shootout.3, 11, 21, 36, 45 (PK)
MinnesotaLeading 1-0, coughed up lead with 4:17 to go. Lost shootout.12, 15, 21, 44, 45, 81
WashingtonLeading 1-0, coughed up lead with 4:10 to go. Won shootout.3, 11, 21, 34, 36, 41
PittsburghLeading 5-3 entering third period. Coughed up lead by 13:19. Lost in shootout. 3, 36, 42, 45 (PK); 12, 15, 36, 41, 43, 45
DallasLeading 2-1, coughed up lead with 2:46 remaining. Won in OT. 2, 3, 12, 23, 45 (PK)
OttawaLeading 3-1 going into third, coughed up lead by 9:30 of the 3rd period. Won in Shootout.
4, 12, 23, 34, 41, 51; 2, 4, 23, 29, 34 (PK)
PhoenixLeading 1-0, coughed up lead with 4:52 to go. Won in Shootout.3, 11, 34, 36, 41, 71
DetroitLeading 4-3, coughed up lead with 6:16 to go. Lost in shootout.21, 26, 43, 44, 45, 81

Those are some valuable points the Leafs won’t get back. The only reason the Leafs aren’t out of a playoff position right now is because they’re competent in the shootout, but the lack of ROW could hurt them down the road, too, in terms of tie breakers.

Only one of those third period collapses came with Bozak and Bolland in the lineup (the Carolina loss). Bozak had played parts of the Pittsburgh game but left for the third period. With Bozak and Bolland hurt, the result is often that Jay McClement plays a lot when Carlyle looks to protect a lead. The pecking order in terms of Carlyle’s trust in his centers late in games seems to go, in order: Bolland, Bozak, McClement, Kadri, Holland.

Whatever the reason – the missing personnel at center, system, psychological scarring from May 13 – the Leafs are “receiving” too much late in games, and it’s costing them points and ROWs that could come back to haunt them in April.

Christmas Eve Eve in New York

Tonight, the Leafs look to enter the brief Christmas break on the right note with a win in New York. The Rangers are the one of the opponents on the outside of the playoff picture but within strikable distance of the Leafs as we approach the half way point of the season.

After scoring just a goal a game in three straight, the Leafs had an offensive outburst vs. Detroit, and yet the Leafs’ top line remained absent outside of an assist for JvR and Kessel on the powerplay. The trio of Kadri, Kessel and JvR needs to be better tonight. Those two powerplay assists are the trio’s only two points in the last four games and they’re a combined -14 over that span.

Jonathan Bernier is expected to start and Colton Orr is expected to return to the 4th line.

The Rangers, playing in a back to back scenario, will start Cam Talbot in net. That’s not necessarily a good thing for the Leafs; Talbot’s 7-2 with two shutouts and a .936 save percentage.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Wake n’ vape….cottage style.
    http://imgur.com/Ef4lNe6

  • lieffan

    So they aren’t prepared half the time for the start, they give up leads too often in the third, but have moments of brilliance mixed in there too.
    Seems like a coaching issue to me

  • Dreamsof67

    @lieffan In Carlyle’s defence these are the situations you bring a guy like Bolland in for

  • MLHS_Luke

    This is pretty cool

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEBoOr12BrI

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Flirting_With_DisasterBon Scott was a Leaf fan
    Lesson learned…when driving in Quebec during winter…make sure you have snow tires.
    Live & learn.

  • Zep2

    Inexperience up the middle is killing us more than the reputed lack of talent. Smarts and the ability to win key face-offs doesn’t exist beyond McL right no

  • Mcost61

    Interestingly….No matter how many years without a cup, how bad the product, coaching, players, owners. The Leafs are still the most valuable franchise in hockey. Suck it Habs ,Bruins, Canucks. Oh, and Islanders. Wake up you fell off the radar for a few years, boohoo.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Any updates on Bolland these last few days??  Any speculations as to when he may attempt a return??  Are we thinking before the Olympic break….or after??

  • 17Forever

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan after I hear

  • Leafs rule

    The Rangers, playing in a back to back scenario   = a win imho ,Clarkson is ready

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590https://twitter.com/DavidAlter590/status/415227265887531008
    To make room for Colton Orr. Troy Bodie has been sent down to the Marlies. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash

  • dlb eh

    @lieffan
    same evidence points to a personnel issue to me.
    character players get up for games.  winners get focused on the right things.  details.  not how their stride looks or their hair in the warmup.
    closing out games comes to skill and determination.  the system is known to the players, it’s not a secret what has to be done.
    execution is all on the players.  the coach can be blamed when he has better options on the bench or not dressed perhaps, but this group seems easier to assess in hindsight than before a lineup is submitted.  some games player is sharp, next game the same guy is a mess.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Mcost61Was there ever any doubt? Have you seen the price of parking and beer at the ACC? lol

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    17ForeverBon Scott was a Leaf fan
    That’s what I’ve figured all along.  People report he’s up walking around or in the water chamber or what not…..truth is he likely won’t be back until after the Olympics.  I just hope we are still in a playoff position by then (though, in saying that, if we were to miss the playoffs this season it won’t be the end of the world….it be better than making a dumb move in hops of making it in…..and giving up future…..that must be avoided at all costs, imo).

  • vinoa

    DJBrianBurkeMcost61It’s the tax break these corporate seat holders get. Get rid of that and we’ll get to a better price point for us regular folk.

  • vinoa

    DJBrianBurkeMcost61 It’s the tax break these corporate seat holders get. Get rid of that and we’ll get to a better price point for us regular folk.

  • darthNihilus

    Jmessih huge mistake. Can we get rid of this fucking guy already!

  • Ryan

    darthNihilus Jmessih 
    Bodie was great for awhile but nothing beats the sheriff

  • Black_Hawk

    anyone know if the second episode of HBO 24/7 will be on youtube?

  • dnksdad

    Yep it is . I found a link here just on a different thread

  • dnksdad

    And his 6 mins if he’s lucky per night

  • darthNihilus

    @Ryan darthNihilus Jmessih yes his contributions to this hockey club are immeasurable.

  • Black_Hawk

    TheCanucksnaphook Black_Hawk kk thxs i jus found it

  • Black_Hawk

    dnksdad yeah i jus found it on youttube

  • dnksdad

    It’s been what , 3 years he’s been here now . Or close to it. I love the guy for his scrapping but I just can’t agree with that. He’s a plug. He’s had many different people to play with over the last few years and I’ve never really seen him be effective other than smashing peoples faces

  • dnksdad

    Ok then 😉

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook
    hey Phook….how bad was Burlington hit??  I left Mississauga at 1pm Saturday….drove through the ice storm from around Coburg through to the 416 (past Kingston) and on up to Ottawa (though it cleared up once I hit Ottawa and over the border into Quebec.  What should have been a 6 hour drive turned into a 10 hour drive.  I was buried in yesterday at my cottage so first I heard any news was today.  I heard Toronto got hit bad….with many people losing power (folks saying it’s on par with the Quebec ice storm from 15 years ago….even made the news on CNN).  All ok on your end??

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook Played a hell of a game in Pitt

  • 4evrblue

    Gilbey93 you from the Carbone area? Only place I ever heard of Tibbs eve lol

  • 4evrblue

    TheCanucksnaphookdnksdad Orr is the fuckin man. Best damn face smasher in the league and hits everything that moves. Now that his skating has improved I feel comfortable seeing him on the ice…….. just not with McLaren. One face puncher is enough. Put Orr with McClement and D’Amigo and we have a solid 4th line.

  • darthNihilus

    TheCanucksnaphook darthNihilus Jmessih Yeah you wouldn’t want a guy who can actually play hockey AND fight

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Leafs rule  Last 10 for the Rangers:
    3-5-2

    3rd worst in the league over that stretch. Safe to say they aren’t hot at this stage.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Leafs rule  4-5-1 for the Leafs, 7th worst.

  • 4evrblue

    Leafs rule whats Clarkson ready for?

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    4evrblue Leafs rule Mindless penalties and crazy eyes with the refs.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Oakville was hit bad too….my street looks like an ice torando went through it…..lots of damaged trees

  • 4evrblue

    DeclanK4evrblueLeafs rule He’s been in the swing of things since preseason in that case :)

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphookBon Scott was a Leaf fan
    Wow!!  I wonder if Mississauga (Port Credit) lost power.  If so, my fish are toast.  Nothing I can do about it from here, I suppose.
    If I lived up here at my cottage (which I will retire at eventually)….first thing on my list would be a generator (after a 4WD SUV).

  • 4evrblue

    Gilbey93 ah cool, maybe I’ve just had my head in the sand all this time then. Im from St. Johns and never heard of Tibbs even before meeting my wife who is from the carbonear area

  • wiski

    I wonder if the boys take any heat (chirps) about their celi song. lol

  • Bring the Cup Home

    so does anyone have any ideas of how we can take our team to the next level and get a 1C in the blue and white.  all i can think of is joe thornton this offseason, but that’s very unlikely to happen.

  • .JVR.

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    Oh yea, he showed up for his 3:10 of icetime, haha

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan TheCanucksnaphook my bud lives in port credit and he said he never lost power, hes just south of the highway off mavis

  • Bring the Cup Home

    WTF?!?!?  After our best victory of the year against the cup champs and our boys are cranking miley fucking cyrus in the dressing room????  i am beyond embarassed.  what a bunch of pussies.

  • 4evrblue

    wiski they better!!! lol

  • Dreamsof67

    Bring the Cup Home Calm down, who cares

  • Bring the Cup Home

    i wonder if packaging a reimer, bozak and gardiner would get a huge 1C back in return?

  • wiski

    4evrblue wiski watch Boyde and Orr for smiles 😉

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Dangle_My_BerriesBon Scott was a Leaf fanTheCanucksnaphook
    Ahhh….many thx.  I’m down on Lakeshore around Hurontario.  Would suck if I came home after 2 weeks and found all my fish tits up.

  • Cameron19

    Bring the Cup Home Get a grip.