This is may be the darkest night in Leafland since May 13, 2003. It was a crucial loss to the Montreal Canadiens that took the Maple Leafs from in the mix for the third divisional playoff spot to no longer in control of their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs in a wildcard position. The Leafs have now lost their third “four-point game” in the span of a week. Crushing stuff.
The reality is that the Leafs, with their current flaws, are among the large group of middling teams in the East who aren’t separated by all that much. Unless you’re among the elite teams who have already built a big cushion by this point, the first 60 or 65 games are all about putting yourself in a position to make the playoffs when the dust settles.
Among that group jousting for playoff spots down the stretch, who is getting good goaltending vs. average goaltending is going to be the major difference maker. With this team’s defensive deficiencies, average goaltending won’t cut it for the Leafs and they’ll sink right out of the spot they’re tenuously holding onto. Few live and die by their goaltending as much as the Leafs; it was their biggest differentiator and had them situated to take over 2nd in the Division a little over a week ago. Now, they’re on the verge of falling out of the playoffs with 10 games to go. There was very little between the Habs and Leafs tonight, much as there was little between the Leafs and Wings on Tuesday. The margins are so thin in these games. James Reimer has to step up and stop two of those goals he let in tonight. Simple as that.
The other disappointing part is the poor PK from the Leafs on the only penalty it had to kill half way through the third. Playoff teams get that kill. Instead — with no pressure on the points, poor clearing attempts by McClement and a foul up by Phaneuf, who tried to be too patient on the play — the Leafs didn’t and it cost them at least one vital point.
It’s hard to find the positives in a night like this, but the Leafs played a pretty good game overall. Lupul and Kadri scored a couple of nice goals. Jake Gardiner had himself a hell of a game. There was something to like about Bolland’s return, too. You could tell he set out to make sure he engaged in the game with some physical play, and while he looks like he’s still down half a step, much of his game is rooted in savvy play. He should be able to help this team in the final 10, hopefully by giving them three contributing forward lines. He missed nearly 60 games and yet he seemed ready to go from the first shift onward. Granted, Carlyle eased him in with 9:01 TOI tonight.
It might be worth putting Bolland with, say, Bodie and Kulemin on a line to start the game so the Leafs can set the tone better than they have been off the puck drop.
Not a tonne of anaylsis tonight, for it was a downer and one all of us fans are going to need to sleep on to fully digest and put behind us. 12 out of 20 points isn’t a yeoman’s feat if the Leafs get their act together soon, soon as in 18 hours from now, but it’s no longer fully in the Leafs’ control. Jonathan Bernier is reportedly not going to make the trip to Jersey.
Toronto Maple Leafs_vs_Montreal Canadiens Boxscore
|James Reimer (11-12-1)||L||36||32||0.889||58:40:00|
|James van Riemsdyk||0||0||21:46||-1||5||2||1||0||2||0||2||0|
|Carey Price (29-18-5)||W||36||33||0.917||60:00:00|
It's also paradoxically disappointing that our two youngsters on the blue line have likely been our best players down this stretch drive. Don't see any vets stepping up, once again.
The Leafs will almost certainly make the playoffs, but if they it would be so typical if they didn't - keep pending UFAS for a playoff drive that never happens. And get the 14th pick overall.
I find it funny that some people want to constantly blame the turnovers when clearly goaltending let us down. Are you trying to say that the really good teams don't get good goaltending since they don't have turnovers. We're all just overly critical of our teams mistakes because, well it's our team. We watch them day in and day out. But all of the other teams have turnovers and other issues as well. The goaltending they get is what bails them out so in some peoples words "we can overlook this stuff"
Watching this team get outplayed 90% of the season has taken the sting out of all of this, for me– at least there's a good chance we're not gonna have to suffer through another season of retina-paralyzing Carlyle hockey.
This team is not built for the playoffs. I'm trying to recall when was the last time a team went far/won the Cup with a potent offense and average (at best) defense and goaltending. Also, I believe last year was a fluke. The Leafs overachieved and were able to take advantage of a strike-shortened season. Leuwike (sp?) especially, and Nonis, should have realized where their team really was in terms of performance and growth heading into the draft and free agency. Instead, they must have assumed they were on the verge of being Stanley Cup contenders and went out and signed Clarkson to that ridiculous contract. What had Clarkson done up to that point to earn his contract??? From what I have heard (no, I didn't look at his past accomplishments) he had one pretty good year which was due in large part to the linemates he was playing with.
As for Carlyle, why do some players get their asses stapled to the bench when they make a mistake (Kadri), and others never miss a shift (Lupul, Kessel)???
In my opinion, management missed the boat entirely by assuming the Leafs were on the verge of being regular contenders based on what happened last season!!!
The Corsi.or evil statistics about zone coverage and Reimer rebounds is not a fit for Carlyle's swarm defensive zone coverage.
The Leafs aren't as bad as some believe. They will upgrade in the summer if they make the playoffs or not. Tough to be optimistic today. But you never know what next week will hold.
The teams finds ways to lose.
Riemer shat the bed on 2 or 3 of the goals
At 3-3' JVR takes a goalie interference call. This is not the 1st time he's taken penalties at crucial times
I love his game, but his poor judgement has cost us points this season
The talent is there. Can it overcome the teams propensity for fucking up
In all honesty leafs missing playoffs might be best thing.Look at glaring weaknesses bad signings,Clarkson,coahing,defence.This team needs serious re-evaluation and making playoffs only masks these weaknesses that everybody seems to overlook when they make playoffs.
Since the LA game Reimer has been lettiing in some bad goals that he normally wouldn't. I fear he may have scrambled his brain again...if so we might be in trouble.
we deserved a better fate last night, montreal got a couple bounces and we got none. sky was fallimng on me last night. if we play like we did last night for the rest of the year i think we r in. more is expected of reims. he will pull out of this slump, i just hope its very soon.
@dlb eh He's phenomenal. I wouldn't trade him for most of the league.
@dlb eh He's been brutal on this losing streak. It has always been such a cliche how Bernier "has a calming influence" but man, is that ever true. It seems like Reimer's game is scrambling and battling every play and game but Bernier really plays a calm, cool and collected game and it really shows.
@dlb eh he has to learn how to look like he's avoiding the collision
@TheCanucksnaphook well we didn't wake up to temperatures above zero Phook
@BBirde its a bit from column A, a bit from column B. Too many high risk passes during "breakouts", inability to win puck battles, and now shaky goaltending.
@Leafbites The higher ups decided goaltending was an issue at the end of last season and they addressed it somewhat. They had better take a hard look at their defence, team defence and coaching this off season and address as much of it as they can.
@dlb eh lol they usually don't even play together . Mostly 2nd pp
@maritimernluvinit Agree. While it wasn't a go-for-it-at-all-costs approach, the free agent additions, trades and use of cap space was all about 'Win Now.' Leiweke has a big hand in this mess, imo, arriving and declaring the rebuild over. Now, we'll have some tough cap decisions this offseason. Good players will be gone, Clarkson will still be here. My biggest hope, personally? Randy is shown the door. He's had enough time to implement a decent defensive system. Plenty of teams do more with equal or lesser talent. Randy has not gotten it done. Plus, the double standards never help a locker room. Accountability needs to be shared equally. Randy must go. We need a new approach built around the personnel that remains after cap casualties, trades and the draft. The team needs a MAJOR reset.
@maritimernluvinit Clarkson hasn't been doing any of the things that made him successful in NJ. He made a career of parking himself in front of the net. I don't know if this is him trying to justify his contract or coaching staff is trying to get him to do too much but he needs to go back to what made him successful.
@maritimernluvinit Clarkson had 2 good back to back seasons. The good linemate thing was debunked. This team I feel can do pretty well in the playoffs they just have to get there. Goaltending has killed us over the last few games as much as the turnovers have. We just need a system alteration. I think the players are generally okay.
@ingy56 I watched the game ingy . Holtby was 1st star. He stood on his head
@ingy56 1 point hold boys. Clench your butts.
@dlb eh first goal kessel hands it right to Desharnais in the neutral zone and he takes in right back into the leafs zone, Bozak left Pacioretty wide open in the slot for a one-timer boom goal. But everyone freaks out on Reimer ignoring all the bad plays and coverage that led to it. Bourque's goal was stoppable but how the hell does Franson and Gardiner let Bourque get behind them like that for a breakaway
They played well enough to win last nite. They were the better team. They were undermined by an ordinary goaltending performance
If the goaltending gets better, we squeak in. If Riemer can't raise his game and Bernier can't come back, this is a re run of the 2012 nightmare
@Zep2 everyone knew refs were lookin for a call at that point
@B_Leaf If he does then he's stupid to be playing . The Leafs medical staff and management would be leaving them selves wide open to law suits or god knows what else in the future if this guy is playing concussed . If he is its because he's not telling the training staff he has issues.
@B_Leaf Good point never thought of that but he definetly sees off
As long as he is not concussed he will pull out of it.
As I wrote I like his game. He's a stud. But sometimes his exuberance is misplaced
My main point is that this team has a special talent for losing games they should win. They are best in the world at it
Lose season series to Buffalo
Lose big games to Florida
Don't start playing till the second period
Don't start playing till the 3rd period
Don't start playing till the last 5 minutes
Take penalties 200 feet from your net , JVR ,Raymond