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

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

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

771 comments
mikeintokyo
mikeintokyo

i like Carlyle....remember him coming into the league as a rookie and playing on that 1978 leafs team that upset the islanders and then his subsequent trade to the penguins for dave burrows ( what a lousy trade as Carlyle went on to be a Norris trophy winner and burrows  just never seemed to get comfortable as a leaf). still...it appears that the players have tuned him out...just witness all the f-bombs directed their way on the hbo series...shit I would tune that out in a hurry....there is supposed to be a system in place and he always emphasizes that after a win during the hbo series....but the only reason they won wasn't the system but the great goalkeeping and the players know that and you can tell from the hbo series that they are left  in quizzical looks...system???........anyhow...... as I said I like Carlyle but it doesn't seem like theplayers are tuning his f...ing this f...ing that out....a new voice? remember after a 6 and 1 start they are 15  17 and 5...not good enough for the playoffs

maritimernluvinit
maritimernluvinit

I see two main problems:

1) We over-achieved last year. It was a strike-shortened season, had it been a normal season I'm sure we would not have made it.

2) Carlyle has favorites and is two-faced. Bernier did not deserve to start after that Saturday night debacle (much less some of the players as well). He definitely should have been pulled last night. Reimer sure would have been. I hope Carlyle gets fired soon!!!

Marleafs
Marleafs

Can't wait for Bolland to come back from his injury.

Lescott
Lescott

We played alright last night.  Some shitty bounces at both ends of the ice, and some uncharacteristicly poor goaltending meant that we lost.  Last night's game was just one of those that goes with the ebb and flow of a season.  Bridge jumpers and chicken littles can go do their thing.

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

I wonder if Carlyle was coaching Team Canada, would there be free point shots, by opponents, and players being hemmed in and constantly outshot due to the "collapse defensive system against say Russia ???

Wharf Rat
Wharf Rat

Saw Lupul having lunch at my local watering hole on Monday and he did not look at anyone in the eye. Kinda looked bitter or bothered (I can probably guess why). Anyway, he ate his food, lingered for a while taking in the scene, sent a text or two and left. I wanted to chat with him but his body language wasn't allowing me or anyone to approach. Looked like he was in deep thought (all he needed was a mirror a la Jack Handy). 

deedrag
deedrag

Hopefully someone reads these comments and tells MLSE or the Management, all the anger that fans are feeling from these results of late. There is a positive to all this.

Great Dane
Great Dane

What is really really bizarre this season is the following:

For years we Leaf fans have been screaming for just average goal tending and this year are finally getting not only average but first class goal tending.


But the rest of the team is completely out of sync.


That is truly bizarre

deedrag
deedrag

I just thought of something? How come no one is sticking up for the goalies when they are getting run?

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Marleafs 

I wonder how much better this team would be playing right now if he never got injured?

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

The Islanders suck.  3rd game in 4 nights.  Hence and therefore the Leafs suck.  How much proof do you need?  5 reg wins in last 30 games!!!

Lescott
Lescott

Holy shit.  Gleason played well.  Fuck off Kyp, go find some fists to eat.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Wow Kreskan.  Next you'll tell us it will get dark later today, but brighten up again around 7am tomorrow morning

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Maybe that is why his name doesn't come up in Olympic conversations

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Wharf Rat 

damn Leafs eating when they aren't winning games. Should have been in the gym

Great Dane
Great Dane

@DeclanKThat is actaully very worrying - they don't have a clue about what is happening.

Bruffins
Bruffins

@deedrag 

if management listened to fans we would have the worst team in the league

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

@deedragDo you mean when the fans run our goalies or when the media runs our goalies?

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Raymond is a turnover machine.  Guy avoids physical contact like i avoid habs fans

wendelsfist
wendelsfist

@Yaknowwhat Trade Raymond and move up HOlland or Clarkson.  He is not going to be resigned and roadblocking other players.  

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Yaknowwhat 

everyone is tradable except Rielly in my opinion, Raymond is just a realistic trade that should happen

Lescott
Lescott

@MaxwellHowe Proof of what?  That we've played a lot of shitty games?  We have.  Last night wasn't that bad.

deedrag
deedrag

@wendelsfist@deedrag I love our goalies and think it's the Leafs best asset period. Anyone can be used for a block buster trade, or can do the job in net for us as a No.1.

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Yaknowwhat @deedrag I don't get it......they had a pack mentality last year  and if Orr and McLaren are having a tough time finding dance partners......they better get that pack mentality back.

Lescott
Lescott

@Jmessih Yeah, that sucks.  But we got 3 wins and points in 5 straight, and then we got bombed, and then last night we deserved to win.  Lies, damned lies and stats...

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Well i woulda thought after a 7 -1 thumping we might see more than "wasn't that bad" or "alright"

Lescott
Lescott

@-Keon-  I predict that predictions are stupid and can go fuck themselves.