Game Recap: Game #44, Islanders 5 at Leafs 3

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TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 7: Tim Gleason #8 and Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs battle with John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders during NHL game action January 7, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

This was the first loss of the season that can be definitively attributed to poor Maple Leafs‘ goaltending. Not that the Leafs were totally convincing otherwise, but they carried the shots advantage and play for the first 40, as well as a 4-0 advantage in powerplay opportunities, and came out of it tied at 2s. No excusing three of the four goals on Jonathan Bernier tonight, and yet he remained in the net through 59 minutes.

Randy Carlyle called the goaltending situation a “1A/1B” situation just two days ago, but you know what a coach with a real 1A/1B situation in net doesn’t do? Start the same goalie who got pulled after 5 goals against in less than two periods, and then leave him when he lets in three softies the next game. Carlyle could turn a good situation into a controversy here by playing favorites. Reimer will play versus Carolina, but playing Bernier tonight in the first place and leaving him in was clear evidence of a double standard.

For the team’s part, just four shots in the third period was feeble. With just two regulation wins in their last 23 games, it’s hard to envision how this isn’t leading to a major trade shakeup or a firing. This was the second straight loss to non playoff Eastern team while rested versus tired opponents.

In terms of positives:

– Tim Gleason’s first game as a Leaf wasn’t without encouraging signs. He’s no saviour, but he had a couple of good shifts. Around the 12 minute mark of the first, he made a strong poke behind the net to free up puck followed by pass up the ice, before joining the rush and getting a good shot off. He was safe with his first pass throughout the game. In the second period, he recovered well vs. Tavares after a misplay at the offensive blueline. He wears his former number, but Gleason doesn’t appear to be Komisarek-slow.

Gleason played 15:55 as Carlyle moved Gardiner next to Phaneuf when the Leafs fell behind.

– Tyler Bozak extended his points streak to 8 games, with 11 points over the span. Impressive tip from distance in the slot to open the scoring in this game and he could’ve added to his account twice more; once led to a powerplay after beating Carkner for a breakaway opportunity and another was off a feed in front that he backhanded just wide.

– Nazem Kadri was back on the scoresheet with two assists, looking dangerous throughout and drawing the powerplay the Leafs scored on. He had as strong of a night in the faceoff dot as I can remember, finishing at 79%. The 2nd line in general came to life, with Raymond scoring his second in 16 games and Lupul scoring for the second consecutive game.

On the outrageous side, Peter Holland played 4:30 because his linemates were Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr. Goes without saying Carlyle is not maximizing the scoring capacity of this lineup. It finally produced tonight, but I’m not sure about that 2nd line staying together going forward. The composition (McClement, Kulemin, D’Amigo) and role of the shutdown line (15 minutes, mostly against Tavares’ line) ensures it’s going to play quite a bit but isn’t going to contribute much in the way of secondary offense. That’s OK, but combine it with a written-off 4th line and it handicaps the team’s chances night in, night out.

Toronto Maple Leafs / New York Islanders Shot Location Data
Toronto Maple Leafs / New York Islanders Shot Location Data

  • TylerBozakMoney

    MapleLeafsHS nice recap

  • whalz

    great write up,,,,,,,,,i have to say this team sucks and needs to make a coaching change…RC playing ORR and FML more than Holland and benching GArds is a joke,,,,,im fed up with the excuses game after game,….

  • http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ DylanJ

    This team is starting to scare me

    Hopefully Bolland is the cog that helps this team roll

  • Cloud09

    Good recap Alec. Double standards, overusing average players, and poor roster management. Time for the ACC to beat the drum. It’s worked once before, now is the time for the fans to use their voices.

  • juliesucks

    Benn Getzlaf Perry…that would be fun to watch…Fuck the leafs

  • juliesucks

    TheCanucksnaphook  take a fucking number

  • djamon

    These 2 home losses scream to me that the team has quit on Carlyle. If he continues to utilize Holland in this fashion that alone is a fireable offense, IMO. 
    Bernier is playing like a guy who wants to be a backup again. He’s been up and down for 6 weeks….mostly down. I think it’s safe to say we have a goaltending controversy on our hands…and not the good kind.
    I have to say, I’m really starting to dislike this team. I sense no leadership, no fight and very little personality.

  • juliesucks

    TheCanucksnaphook-Keon- 2nd line was hungry tonight

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    TheCanucksnaphook Time to put the toll booths back up.

  • mr_hanie

    McClement brings no offense 5 on 5 so, automatically his line is always hemmed in. Leafs therefore only have 2 lines other coaches worry about. Carlyle is easy to coach against…..

  • RememberSalming

    God write up, Alec.

  • mattobv

    Carlyle needs to fkin wake up, it’s like he’s stuck in 1995. We have 3 lines who can play, a starting goalie who gets crowned with the worse record and continues to be put in situations to succeed yet keeps failing. Terrible strategy adjustments, or lack thereof and has shown to be downright incompetent at motivating this team.

  • RememberSalming

    mr_hanie so right.  Rival coaches have his number.  They just have to forecheck and stand up at their blue line…and voila

  • djamon

    TheCanucksnaphook Not sure. We know Phil will never fill that role (or Fill will never phil that role?).

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    RememberSalming mr_hanie Dress one meathead and Carlyle will counter with two.

  • RememberSalming

    The double standard point is very well taken.  Let’s see some real meritocracy.

  • djamon

    Excellent write up Alec. Nailed my mood perfectly.

  • MaxwellHowe

    mattobv Keeps failing? Dude, Bernier stole at least two games in the last 2 weeks.

  • gilmourhalloffame

    Bernier to a reporter after the game when a reporter asks a stupid question…”why would I get pulled?” – good on him for sticking up for himself.

  • PEIleafnation

    im sure nonis will blockbuster a 6th for a 7th

  • mattobv

    what’s his record again?????

  • RememberSalming

    MaxwellHowe mattobv correct.  The issue is more consistency in decision-making about 1A 1 B.  Reimer is not getting a fair shake.

  • MaxwellHowe

    TheCanucksnaphook-Keon- The metaphor is wonderful though

  • Burtonboy

    PEIleafnation Best trade we could make is getting rid of that coach . Fuckin dinosaur

  • RememberSalming

    Burtonboy PEIleafnation no trades please until we sort out the coaching situation!  Liles has been great for Carolina.  No knock on Gleason, but we need to have a working strategy before plugging holes.

  • MaxwellHowe

    gilmourhalloffame Not sure he wants to hear the answer tho

  • Leafbites

    Fucking Randy, reinventing the reinvention of the wheel.

  • wiski

    Burtonboy PEIleafnation Look what it did for the ducks 😉

  • DJBrianBurke

    DylanJI really like what Bolland brings (seems to bring) to this team, but if the Leafs are still playing like this when he comes back it’s over. That’s weeks away.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    so lets say we fire Carlyle tomorrow….whos his replacement? can’t bring spott, the guy was coaching junior like a year ago, Laviolette? Martin? both shitty options

  • RememberSalming

    Dangle_My_Berries no laviolette!  I watched him coach for the Islanders and Philly (living in NJ now).  He’s a dunce.

  • MaxwellHowe

    mattobv I’d say, given the play of his teammates this season, his record is remarkable

  • djamon

    mattobv Maybe Carlyel has quit on the team…as opposed to them quitting on him. He devises strategies which seem to indicate he has no faith in them.

  • gilmourhalloffame

    MaxwellHowe haha. 2 bad goals, 2 no chance goals

  • RememberSalming

    TheCanucksnaphook Dangle_My_Berries I agree we go with Spott and develop a real strategy.  This year may be a write off by Olympics anyway.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Dangle_My_Berries I had thought Brent Sutter.  Then I watched the WJCs.  Now I’m sure Brent Sutter will be the next coach of the Leafs

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Just in from the game.
    I am not impressed!!  Bernier was off his game (they keep trying to force Bernier into the starting role but imo Reimer should have started tonight)….and Holland was not given any ice time.  I love my Leafs…..but we are not making the playoffs this season.

  • mattobv

    Its stubbornness, he continues to do the same stupid shit. He doesn’t learn, he’s stuck in the fkin past.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Too down to stick around and talk about it, but thanks for the kind words.

  • RememberSalming

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan did you get a sense of fan outrage?

  • whalz

    Dangle_My_Berries iron MIKE
    in all seriousness, get Lavy…….

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    MaxwellHowe Dangle_My_Berries can sutter motivate the Leafs if he can’t get the juniors to medal?

  • RememberSalming

    Alec Brownscombe good write up, man.  thanks.

  • gilmourhalloffame

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan did you throw a waffle after the game?

  • MaxwellHowe

    Dangle_My_BerriesMaxwellHowe /s

  • mattobv

    Easily the most upset I’ve been after watching a game in a long time, so fed up with the Carlyle brand of hockey.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    RememberSalming Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Outrage??  No, my good man.  This is Canada….much too passive.

  • rockydundas

    Dangle_My_Berries I’m going to get flamed here, but I’ve always liked Guy Carbonneau.
    Yeah, he’s a Hab but his record is awesome. (Go look it up…you’ll be
    surprised.) But he’s been out of coaching for a bit now so I think it
    would be a dangerous move. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone else.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Alec Brownscombe I think its awful you had to assess that game.  No one deserves that

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    rockydundas Dangle_My_Berries guy boucher? scarface?