Game Review: Game #58, Panthers 4 vs. Leafs 1

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Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

One might look at a 1-0 scoreline after 40 minutes in this game and think it’s not as bad as being down four or five to Dallas a few weeks ago. And yes, there is a difference: The Leafs played better in the first period in Dallas, only they couldn’t get a save. The only reason the Leafs had a chance in the final 10 minutes in the third in this 4-1 loss to Florida was because of Jonathan Bernier, who stopped 44 of 47 shots (hey, he had an easy night against Ottawa, right? It’s the least he could do).

The concept was similar nonetheless. The Leafs were winning lately at home, took off for a southern road trip, and simply laid an egg. On one hand it is awesome that Leafs Nation is so omnipresent it can bronx cheer the team for its first shot coming 8 minutes into the game, on the other it was a testament to how bad this game was. It doesn’t matter what your system is, the only way to get outshot 19-4 by the Florida Panthers in one period is by looking at the start of this trip as a chance to take it easy. Lazy changes,  easy entries for the Panthers, second to pucks in the defensive zone, inability to get pucks deep and/or establish a forecheck… it all went into the shots total of 37-12 through the first 40.

If we’re being honest this game is right there with the Columbus, New York, Dallas, St. Louis and Carolina blowouts. This team seems to have this type of game more than most, where the bad habits they often win in spite of come home to roost. They seem to need the wake up call. Great goaltending and plenty of goal scoring skill wins this team games; when you rely on that to begin with and then put in a half-effort, it leads to games where it’s just plain embarrassing.

The other factor is that the Leafs rely on a great powerplay for a sizable chunk of their offense and sometimes to get them going in a game; they got zero powerplay opportunities in this game. It takes the minimum requirement of effort to draw penalties, though. There may have been one trip on Clarkson that could’ve been called, but other than that there wasn’t much to complain about.

The positive takeaway is David Clarkson scoring in his first game back from injury. It was his first point in 10 games and first goal in 11. Maybe that’s just what he needed to essentially start anew after some games spent on the sideline. Maybe. Nazem Kadri  extended his points streak to seven after making a nice play at the blueline to pick the pocket and set up Clarkson in the slot.

Another positive was Phil Kessel, one of few to show jump from the start. There were a couple of times he orchestrated the only successful Leaf breakout in forever by coming back deep to pick up a pass and just rushing it through the neutral zone.

These games certainly feel a hell of lot worse than a hard-fought 2-1 or 3-2 game, but it’s one out of 82 and in the standings it counts the same. We’ll see how they respond on Thursday in Tampa Bay. A wider concern over and above this one really bad game is the Leafs’ record on the road, which falls to 10-12-5 after tonight.

Leafs-Panthers

 

fenwick-panthers-leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers Game Sheet

FLORIDA STATISTICS            
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Tim Thomas (15-16-3)W21200.95260:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Aleksander Barkov0019:031305100111
Sean Bergenheim0018:29030005000
Nick Bjugstad0014:19030681010
Brad Boyes0017:48120320010
Brian Campbell1124:13040000010
Tomas Fleischmann0115:25040000010
Tom Gilbert1021:39030002300
Marcel Goc1013:490301050000
Scott Gomez0112:49120451001
Erik Gudbranson0014:59120004120
Jonathan Huberdeau0114:06035001000
Ed Jovanovski0015:54110001301
Tomas Kopecky0114:26020000130
Dmitry Kulikov0022:55150000100
Shawn Matthias1012:20210001010
Scottie Upshall0014:18030011100
Mike Weaver0120:20110002300
Jesse Winchester0013:08130201000
TORONTO STATISTICS
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Jonathan Bernier (20-16-5)L47440.93659:48:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Troy Bodie006:30000002100
Tyler Bozak0018:51-20012102100
David Clarkson1016:30012007020
Cody Franson0019:50-120002110
Jake Gardiner0017:34005000001
Tim Gleason0021:45-120006210
Carl Gunnarsson0021:05-110002100
Nazem Kadri0116:221101192010
Phil Kessel0018:23-130000000
Nikolai Kulemin0016:58-110001000
Joffrey Lupul0017:27-110001300
Jay McClement0018:49-1107101000
Colton Orr007:27000002010
Dion Phaneuf0018:26022002100
Mason Raymond0017:19-210100000
Morgan Rielly0021:28-120001110
Jerred Smithson005:52010012000
James van Riemsdyk0016:52020004000
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Forwards
30 %
Defence
30 %
Special Teams
30 %
Goaltending
90 %
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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]
  • Burtonboy

    Knock em down of that high. Getting too cocky anyway lol

  • Leafbites

    Burtonboy  If this team is going to lose, I’d just as soon it be a stinker. It’s likely a better chance they show up next game.

  • lieffan

    Well summarized. Good shout out to Kessel, he brought it when no one else did. Clarkson on the board could mean he’s gonna finish better than he started, but I’ll believe it when I see it

  • Burtonboy

    Leafbites Burtonboy  could be worse . St Louis just lost in a shoot after being up 3-1 in the 3rd

  • ConnorCrisp

    Aaaaand turds and habs win. Good job boys.

  • Leafbites

    Burtonboy Leafbites  Canucks lose again, too. Folks are panicing out this way.

  • Burtonboy

    Leafbites Burtonboy  PHX could knock them out of a playoff spot tonight but the’re losing to Dallas right now 2-1 in the 3rd

  • Leafbites

    Burtonboy Leafbites  Dallas are knocking on the door, too. Offensively, Van is dead in the water.

  • Burtonboy

    Leafbites Burtonboy  I don’t think they will make the playoffs myself . Gonna be a war if Van if they don’t lol

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    someone screwing with the clock in LA….

  • Burtonboy

    Dangle_My_Berries  Again ?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Burtonboy Dangle_My_Berries  it happened in last nights game according to TSN and its the second time its happened.

  • Uncle Otis

    Alec Brownscombe
    Nope…
    you forgot the D

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe  Not by a wide margin though . Not a hell of a lot of good performances overall.

  • Uncle Otis

    Burtonboy Alec Brownscombe
    Exactly…better to speak of who was good
    Bernie,Gleason…that’s it for me

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Uncle Otis Burtonboy Alec Brownscombe  Thought Kessel was there from the start, but had no assistance.

  • Burtonboy

    Uncle Otis Burtonboy Alec Brownscombe  Yeah I’d agree with that

  • Uncle Otis

    Alec Brownscombe Uncle OtisBurtonboy
    In spurts..but then switched into glide

  • vinoa

    I only caught the 3rd. Just when the Leafs started showing life and it was a 1 goal game with minutes to play. Franson gave the puck away making it 3-1. That 1 play by Franson took out the crowd, momentum, and shot at a come back. I didn’t watch the rest of the game and from the summary I take it wasn’t a good one. But I think Franson may have robbed Bernier of a win.

  • Uncle Otis

    Alec Brownscombe Uncle OtisBurtonboy
    …and for the little he played,I’d throw Bodie in there
    Good energy guy…Randy should have moved him up tonight

  • Burtonboy

    Night folks . Next game will be better and there’s a long way to go yet .

  • PAR

    Alec Brownscombe  
    Sorry, but nope

  • hometeem

    missed the game tonight, prob a good thing by the sounds of it.  Is Bolland travelling w the team now?

  • hometeem

    Are my comments being deleted?

  • Hmmm

    When we pulled Bernier for the extra attacker, we had some pressure but turned the puck over.  JvR did well to get the puck back with two greedy Panthers falling over each other in the neutral zone trying to streak for our empty net.

    However, Gardiner then tried to get fancy at the blue line with two Panthers on top of him.  The safer play would have been to bounce it off the boards where JvR could have retrieved the puck for a 4-on-3 in their zone.

    Instead he got stripped and the puck went into our net.  This is the kind of decision making that causes turnovers even when we have the man advantage whether that be 5-on-4 or 6-on-5.  Gardiner is guilty of that as are others.  Hopefully, they all learn that sometimes the simple play is better.

  • hometeem

    ty mlhs for your game summs.  much appreciated when i miss the games

  • Alec Brownscombe

    hometeem  Not at all.. based on the conversation stopping I think LiveFyre has been swallowing comments temporarily and spitting them back out later.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    hometeem  Cheers.

  • hometeem

    tsn has gards 5 min for fighting wtf?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    hometeem  He was in a brief “fight” with Huberdeau. Not much of a scrap, no real punches thrown, more of a grapple to the ice.

  • Black_Hawk

    kinda expected a post super bowl party let down

  • ProfessorRance

    hometeem  He had a little tilly with Huberdeau

  • Hmmm

    vinoa  We’ve seen him turn the puck over often in plays just like that.  It seems that sometimes when he tries to make a pass with an opposing player near him, he might be telegraphing his intention or he misjudges the angle.  Hard for us to see for sure from that video angle.
    The staff should have a close look at it.  In practice, have someone apply pressure on Franson to see what his tendencies are then help him fix it.  We won’t go far in the playoffs if that’s not fixed.

  • hometeem

    Alec Brownscombe hometeem  ya ty, it came back up…

  • Black_Hawk

    nice to see clarky score, hopefully gets him going

  • loomx

    After tonight, it might be nicer to reflect on January: 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMluxtGSVDo&list=UUQJyZe70i6hxIPqxzVXo0tw&feature=c4-overview

  • Hmmm

    vinoa Watched the replay again and noticed these things:
    1) Franson made himself an easy intercept target by pivoting and standing still.

    2) Franson is slow making the pass so was easy for the other player to read his thoughts.
    3) His peripheral vision did not pick up that the player had read him and was already reaching to intercept.

    What can Franson do to fix it?  Up to coaching staff but here are suggestions:
    1) Make the pass more quickly or feint then pass etc.
    2) Be more aware and anticipate the intercept
    3) Make extra options for himself by keeping his feet moving, exactly what RC preached.  For example, back peddle with puck or grab puck without pivoting and look over shoulder before passing.

    Here’s another example where his pass was intercepted.
    In the last Buffalo game, the forwards were all too far up ice.  He carried the puck up ice slowly which also telegraphed his intention to pass because they know he isn’t going to carry it into the offensive zone himself nor shoot the puck in.  Buffalo read it and sent forwards to move in between him and our forwards.  His pass was picked off resulting in Buffalo’s 2nd goal.

  • Great Dane

    Domination: 1. a. Control or power over another or others.b. The exercise of such control or power.
    What an ugly game for the Leafs. The only dad who could be really proud was Berniers. Without him and his 93.6% sv% this would have been really ugly.
    Carlyles line-up is awful and he can’t offer any solution to any problems that this team faces. That he as coach can’t get the shoots against down to acceptable levels just shows that he should be gone as soon as possible.

  • Hmmm

    @Hmmm vinoa  You can see here where two of our forwards are standing still or too far up ice.
    http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?id=2013020707-X-h&startTime=127

    With Rielly or Gardiner, we might be able to get away with it but with Franson, we need our forwards to keep moving so that Buffalo could not guess where the pass will go.  Even better would be to have one or two forwards curl back to make the passes quick and short with no Buffalo players in between.

  • Hmmm

    Great Dane  They seem to do better when the 3rd and 4th lines can contribute with a cycle and energy game.  It sets up the 1st and 2nd lines.  Obviously the cycle works better when all lines are doing it.  Holland can hold onto the puck or effectively do quick short give-and-go passes, they miss him.

  • Great Dane

    @Hmmm The Leafs are winning when they can roll 4 lines of proper hockey players.
    Carlyle can’t or won’t accept that  therefore he should be replaced right away. I haven’t changed my stand on this issues despite the the last 10 games were very successful.
    Carlyles bacon is saved by excellent goaltending and a Kessel playing to his full potential. So what is RC contributing? IMHO not a lot.

  • Mark

    @Hmmm Great Dane  It’s exactly what was written here coming to fruition. http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2014/02/03/decisions-face-carlyle-in-the-leafs-bottom-six/

  • Savo43

    Leafs suck on the road this year :S . Bottom 5 in the league. Top 6 at home.

  • Savo43

    Great Dane  Carlyle is a huge reason Kessel is the player he is today. Huge changes in his game since his arrival. Went from a rush player, to a player who is just as successful when set up in the oppositions zone. Sure Carlyle isn’t perfect no, but he is a huge reason for the recent success of the Leafs. He also hasn’t received the same effort from our 4th line as last season, thus the decreased ice time. If McClement was half the player he was last year, that 4th line would get ALOT more icetime.

  • Burtonboy

    I can fully understand why Carlyle said it’s bewildering. I can see a player,a line or even a couple of lines and d pairs having a flat game but for the full team to come out flat is hard to fathom. You would think there would be a couple of players having some sort of jump or compete level. Zero ,zilch, nada from everyone except Bernier. Bewildering is a understatement.

  • MaxwellHowe

    The Leafs played an awful hockey game.  Its just one game, but weird they manage to play so horribly at least once every two weeks.  And its always a team effort.  Quite simply, every now and then the Leafs decide to not engage the opponent.  Let them have the puck, the blue line, refuse to challenge, let alone win, possession of the puck. 
    We should put it aside and resume arguing over potentially trading Kulimen (or Bolland, if Dreger is to be believed) and the make-up of the 3rd and 4th line, which obviously should be  McClement – Bolland – Clarkson and then Ashton – Holland – Bodie.  I’ve already traded Raymond.

  • GreekGod

    @Hmmm vinoa  
    problem with franson is that he naturally likes to slow plays down. Meaning that’s his game. That’s how he plays… Don’t know if it is because he just needs more time to see the ice and think or what but it can be annoying at times for sure. Don’t see this being something that changes IMO. This is his style

  • Burtonboy

    hoolihan  That trip is part of the CBA I do believe and has to be done

  • GreekGod

    Burtonboy Leafbites  
    Especially because they can’t draft worth shit… Gillis and his staff are all idiots. Glad to see Torts making fun of that stupid team.

  • Burtonboy

    hoolihan  Pittsburg