Interesting that a lack of practice time and a busy schedule were cited by Randy Carlyle prior to the Christmas break, as this was a disgraceful effort while carrying the rest advantage in a two-game week while the Rangers played the second game of a back to back.
Tim Gleason won’t have to wait long to draw into the lineup.
After one decent chance for JvR on the opening shift, the Rangers were unlucky, twice, not to score the shift after, as Nash just missed with a wide open cage.
Rick Nash was playing on the right wing (left-hand shot) and lining up against Gunnarsson, who was burned twice by him in this game before leaving with a shoulder injury. I’m sure Carlyle would like to have Dion Phaneuf playing against Nash on that wing, as Gunnarsson looked unable to deal with the size and speed.
The Peter Holland, Jerry D’Amigo and Colton Orr fourth line generated a few chances for the Leafs in the early going, before this game quickly devolved into a nightmare.
Hagelin scored a goal on a tip from the right point (Dan Girardi point), which was WIDE OPEN, as Toronto had collapsed well below the hashmarks and the forwards (Mason Raymond) had to take many strides to cover the points, as is tradition. Gardiner for his part gave it away behind the net and then didn’t box out Hagelin effectively, who tipped a goal home from the point shot.
Chris Kreider was buzzing and looked sure to score a few, making a mockery of the Leafs defense (Cody Franson a couple of times throughout the game) with speed on the outside.
Jake Gardiner was also struggling with speed off the rush and his basic defensive responsibilities. Another rush from Nash on the off wing (probably not the matchup that Carlyle wanted) saw Gardner burned around the outside off a poor pivot. Similar to a play involving Brian Boyle, not the fleetest of foot although he is an Underhill understudy, late on in the third period.
The Maple Leafs had a poor frame and showed a lack of effort and attention to detail in their game. Throughout the night they were losing most of their short races to the puck and most of their board battles.
Dominic Moore, of course, made it 2-0 on a low percentage shot from outside the home plate area on a sharp angle, alluding Jonathan Bernier. He’s been fantastic of late, but that’s another one to chalk up to a casual play with his stick.
David Clarkson left the game in the first after blocking a shot with his foot. In related news, Josh Leivo scored a hat trick for the Marlies today.
A better start to the second frame saw Joffrey Lupul go on a breakaway, which he was hooked on to start with followed by a good toe save by Rangers goalie Cam Talbot.
Dion Phaneuf also showed some jump in joining the rush and getting a chance in front.
With Gunnarsson out injured, Phaneuf saw some shifts with both Gardiner and Rielly. It will be interesting to see who he plays with if Gunnarsson is out for any period of time.
The period quickly descended into Toronto standing around and watching New York skate circles around them. Disgraceful effort.
Two quick goals saw Jonathan Bernier pulled. Bernier was peppered not even halfway through the game and deserves an apology from the team.
The ACC had gone completely quiet as Toronto come out flat, yet again. In the long list of bad games, this is one of the worst of the year for Toronto.
There are few — if any – things to count as a positive in this game. Perhaps some shifts of strong play from Morgan Riley, Dion Phaneuf, Joffrey Lupul and, in limited minutes, Jerry D’Amigo, but that’s about it. This is a team that can’t find any form of consistency and has way too many passengers aboard. I could make a long list of passengers on the evening, but you can do the math from the list above.
This is the 13th time this season the Leafs have allowed 40+ shots (30 per cent of their games).
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 5, 2014
Please insert trade proposals below. Have at it.