Playoffs were already a stretch but in order to even have a shot at making the show, the Leafs needed a big win in DC. Here is how it went down.
1 — The Leafs are 30-31-8 — playoff hopes put to bed.
2 — A slow start might be acceptable given the back to back and an earlier start but you’d like to see boys fired up right from the puck drop given the meaning of tonight—s game. The Capitals played last night, too.
3 — The Leafs survived a Washington power play and then Brooks Laich scores a shorthanded goal to make it 1-0 Washington after some sloppy puck handling by Gardiner on his own blue line.
4 — The Caps kept generating a lot of opportunities, but Gustavsson was very solid in the crease, picking up right where he left off last night. The Monster kept us in it for most of this game.
5 — After Semin’s great pivot and shot, Mathieu Perreault puts yet another nail in the (Galchenyuk) coffin as he scores to make it 2-0 less than a full minute into the third period (Galchenyuk).
6 — It—s strange how fast our team can go from one end to the spectrum to the other. Of course Lupul is a big variable but not scoring for two games? Weird. It’s clear the team needs to learn how to score while being defensively responsible. Carlyle is getting his group to set up the zone more as opposed to relying on the rush offense, and clearly they’re still learning how to do that too. It’s going to be a process because this team wasn’t doing much of that under Wilson.
7 — I didn’t love the first three games by Carter Ashton but I think we—ve seen enough to like what he could potentially bring. Seems to understand his role and can play the system well. Does the little things right and is an asset on the forecheck, at least so far.
8 — No pretty way to say it, but the team got outplayed by a fair chunk of tonight—s game. It was yet another big game where our good effort (the boys tried to get going) just wasn—t good enough. The Caps (Johansson) missed the open net late in the game which I found funny. But not funny ha-ha, more like funny high-draft pick funny.
9 — What can I say? With Florida winning, with the Caps getting a regulation win tonight, the playoffs are pretty much a pipe dream right now. We can look forward to the draft, look forward to next season with this already improved squad of players but most of all we have to get some sleep, because it always sucks when you stop dreaming. On to next season.
10 — Tank Nation? Yes, I—m asking you. If anything, it’s good that the team – what will be left of it come September, 2012, anyways – is learning to play under Carlyle now rather than in next’s year’s training camp.