The Toronto Maple Leafs finally managed a win, as the Edmonton Oilers showed that the Leafs still have a lot to learn about being a truly bad team.
Toronto dominated the chances in the opening period, but weren't rewarded. They did finally manage a break-through, midway through the second period, Panik getting a power-play goal. At that point, Toronto led the ES chances 9-4, and they kept up the pressure after that, Kessel and Rielly adding goals to give the Leafs a comfortable margin. Edmonton had the best of the chances in the third, but the game was out of...
It looks like James Reimer will play his second game in as many nights as Jonathan Bernier appears to be unavailable due to injury or illness.
In other injury news, Cody Franson is banged up and is considered a gametime decision, with Petter Granberg at the ready if he can't go. Hopefully this setback is nothing serious because the timing could not be worse with the deadline approaching.
There is an alarming lack of professional pride kicking in with this Leafs team at the moment; Reimer said they needed to man up after the loss in New Jersey last night and Peter Horachek called...
Toronto's struggles continued in New Jersey, as they stretched their losing streak to a new franchise record.
The Leafs had a poor first period, falling behind and getting out-chanced 9-5, and gave up the first two chances of the second as well, along with another goal. Toronto were better after that second goal, but couldn't score, and the Devils added a third going into the final period. The Leafs then earned a couple of power-plays, and were actually able to generate quite a few chances, but it wasn't enough, as they only scored one goal.
The Leafs were badly out-chanced while...
Peter Horachek is going with James Reimer in net as the Maple Leafs look to avoid sole ownership of the longest losing streak in the Leafs' near-100 year history.
What's really dejecting is that it's debatable where this latest tirefire stands on the spectrum of Leafs lowlights in the just the past four seasons. The Game 7 collapse was also record-setting, for largest lead forfeited in the third period of a game 7, but starting the year 19-9-3 through 31 games before setting a franchise record for consecutive losses might be the worst of the worse; even more accentuated and dramatic than the 2011-12 and 2013-14...
Previously sitting at the 50-contract maximum, the Maple Leafs have freed up two Standard Player Contract slots by moving Carter Ashton and David Broll for the closest thing to a bag of pucks in hockey trade terms.
Broll, a sixth rounder in 2011, was signed to a pro contract earlier than expected (just a month after getting drafted), and was tracking along fairly promisingly after finishing his junior career in Sault St Marie and having a pretty good rookie season with the Marlies, as well as coming up for a five-game stint with the big club to start the 2013-14 season. He has...
Rumour du jour:
Bob McKenzie's full segment with lots of Leafy bits can be found here.
Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts: What's Happening with Evander Kane and lots more (Sportsnet.ca)
While the McDavid/Eichel watch has everyone fixated on the bottom of the standings, there is another effect. Pittsburgh was unafraid to deal its first-rounder, because the Penguins know they will be in the playoffs. (The Blues, Islanders and Rangers already traded them last year.) But, teams who are uncertain of a post-season position are loathe to give up such a pick, knowing if they don’t make it, they’ve given up a lottery spot. And...
10 straight losses ties a franchise record, but last night's game worked out nicely for a number of rooting interests, current realities considered. The Leafs played the top team in the League tightly, scored some goals finally, their potential deadline trade chips all played well and produced (Santorelli, Winnik, Franson), and they ultimately lost their tenth straight to keep the tank alive (lottery odds can be tracked via the MLHS sidebar).
Onto the links.
Anthony Petrielli: Goal scoring problems under Horachek, Reimer, Bernier, Notes, 5 things I’d do & more (MLHS)
The other interesting thing is how the Leafs are playing, and how it...
The Leafs had a solid opening period at even strength, but were undone by special teams, as Nashville scored shorthanded and on the power-play to consign Toronto to another first period deficit.
Toronto were able to bounce back in the second period, dominating the chances, 9-3 at ES, and cutting down the lead. The Leafs stayed on that roll early in the third, and for once in this long slump, were rewarded, scoring twice in a minute. However, Nashville were back tied only four minutes later, and after the Predators went back ahead Toronto didn't have much of a response....
Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
Leo Komarov - Peter Holland - David Clarkson
David Booth - Mike Santorelli - Richard Panik
Morgan Rielly - Cody Franson
Korbinian Holzer - Stephane Robidas
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
Starter: Jonathan Bernier
Scratched: Josh Leivo, Trevor Smith, Petter Granberg
Injured: Dion Phaneuf (hand)
Nashville Predators Projected Lines
Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - James Neal
Matt Cullen - Calle Jarnkrok - Gabriel Bourque
Eric Nystrom - Paul Gaustad - Taylor Beck
Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Victor Bartley - Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm - Anton...
Jonas Siegel: The referendum on the Leafs' core is over -- and they know it (TSN.ca)
That was the first collapse. Nearly three years later, amid three more meltdowns of varying order, change isn’t likely to be so minimal for the heart of the Leafs' roster. And they know it.
JP Nikota: Mr. Shanahan, tear down this team (Pension Plan Puppets)
In short, the development has stalled because no elite players have been acquired via trade or free agency, and now the Leafs' core is getting old. We had a brief window where we were slightly hopeful for the future,...
Toronto will be thrilled to see January end, as they lost a 9th straight to close out the month and set a franchise record for fewest goals scored in a month.
I actually watched the last two periods of this game over again, because on my first viewing the chance numbers I had were incredibly low. The second view didn't increase them; the teams combined for only 20 chances, one of the lowest totals in games I've tracked. For a team that's struggling to score, to put it lightly, playing a close checking, low-chance game on the road isn't a...