The Leafs dropped their first December contest to extend the losing streak to five games, and six of the last seven. San Jose hurled 41 shots on the net and James Reimer was pretty good yet again, but it was another game where a poor first period meant that the Leafs were playing catchup all night.
What really stood out on Tuesday night was the pace and puck control an elite team like San Jose sustains throughout the majority of the 60 minutes. The Leafs have shown the capability of dominating stretches of play, but are a ways off of the consistency of the elite teams in the league like the Sharks; or the Kings, Blues and Blackhawks, each of whom the Leafs play in the next week and a half.
It was also another game with more injury fallout. Tyler Bozak left the game for a stretch in the second period and returned briefly, only to leave the game for good and miss the third period. Early indications suggest it’s an upper body injury this time, unrelated a to the hamstring issue that had him on IR in November. Just as Nazem Kadri returns, the Leafs are down another center.
The Leafs center situation is so bad that people are actually looking at Kadri-Smith-Holland-McClement and thinking “that’s not that bad.”
— Anthony Petrielli (@APetrielli) December 4, 2013
Don’t panic yet, but Phil Kessel also left practice early with what is rumoured to be an ailing wrist injury, although that is unconfirmed at this stage. Randy Carlyle didn’t seem to think it would impact his ability to play tonight. Jerred Smithson was waived by the Leafs yesterday and will report to the Toronto Marlies today if he is not claimed by noon, which he almost certainly will not be.
Next up is the Dallas Stars tonight as the tough December marches on.
Some Leafs links on this Wednesday morning:
- The NHL Plans to Grow HRR by $1 Billion in 3 Years (MLHS)
- If you missed Mirtle’s article from Monday about the Leafs’ luck I recommend checking it out (G&M)
- Siegel at TSN points out that the offence is still struggling (TSN)
- Seguin skates Wednesday, Stars will wait until Thursday to make a decision on whether he returns to play (Dallas News)
- Toronto Maple Leafs could still loan Morgan Rielly to Canadian world junior team, GM says (NP)
- Leafs’ fighter fixation hurts them again (G&M)
- Where do the Leafs turn now? (VLM)
- Possessed (Hope in the Big Smoke)
- Face it, the Maple Leafs need to trade a goalie. But Reimer or Bernier? Your idiotic post for the day goes to Metro News.
- Need to know: Can Maple Leafs’ defenseman Dion Phanuef slow Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel’s roll? (Dallas News)