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.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Florida Panthers Game Sheet
|Tim Thomas (15-16-3)||W||21||20||0.952||60:00:00|
|Jonathan Bernier (20-16-5)||L||47||44||0.936||59:48:00|
|James van Riemsdyk||0||0||16:52||0||2||0||0||0||4||0||0||0|
I seriously wonder how we utilize the trade deadline this year, if at all. We have a lot of enticing young assets, and a few expiring assets, that could be used to lure in some help, question is, do we need help, and if so, what is expendable, and is anybody outside of Dion and Phil safe? Whatever happens, i'm sure we have the depth to take some risks, i just hope it all works out for the best :).
Starting Sunday, Sportsnet 360 will be showing Marlies games. It's great for those of us who don't watch them often. I see they pulled out a win today in a shootout. Nice to see the kids succeeding as much as they are.
@Shift_Disturber1 Kulemin+Percy+1st. I'd consider it just to see our top 6 destroy teams. Then dump Raymond for a 2nd. Our defence would continually suck though..lolol.
@Shift_Disturber1 That is more then what they paid for Vanek.
@wiski They KGB is gonna kick these guys out of the country if they bad mouth mother russia
@wiski Fruit cup with extra protein?
Edit: Oh I see it's just really fresh honey, bee included
@wendelsfist Anyone's guess with the way they've been playing lately. Any word on Bolland? Looks like Stamkos will be out for a bit longer anyway.
@wiski ducks and hawks for me
@Komas Taberle A blast from the past! I didn't know he was an agent. Good for him. Maybe now he'll learn to pass the buck.
Wiski: can we change the caption to "you wouldn't bench Franson, so I saved the season and ate him!" and tweet to RC please?
And shat out spring!
@BBirde I'm not sure how we get Kane but getting Girardi at $5M and Bolland at $3.85M are highlt unlikely. Bolland will cost more than Bozak and Girardi will be closer to $6M.
It would have been funny if Matt told Boomer " When i bang your daughter I make her wear my jersey"
I wonder if he will mention the many times his wife had to come and drag him out of the rippers!
For Your Eyes Only VIP club was his favourite!
@Murph2417 Is it worth using up a free article?
@Gozo it sure doesnt help
@mike_84 Please no. This fan base would chew him up. Like Vancouver's is right now.
@TheCanucksnaphook Not trolling, sharing information found on this board with others. :)
Conrgats to Kadri!
@mike_84 He's been available for 2 years...there's a reason for that. I'm not sure he's even a #2 anyway. But he's paid like one.