Four straight games with under 30 shots against – something the Leafs never achieved under Randy Carlyle.

Two games in a row getting shutout – something they haven’t achieved since March of 2012, a few games after Carlyle was first hired.

The Leafs are undergoing a rewiring process amid the toughest part of their schedule hands down. The game isn’t coming as natural to them, and they’re struggling to find a way to generate offensive opportunity while playing a more responsible game. It’s going to be a process.

When breaking up their best offensive line in hopes of changing the dynamic and achieving balance, it doesn’t help to be missing three of your top-nine forwards, either. With the recent history between the two teams, the Ducks had to be happy to see JvR and Kessel split up for the majority of the game. The Leafs didn’t have a single line that looked threatening, besides two consecutive shifts in the first period where the Winnik, Bozak and Kessel line pressed with some offensive zone time and generated a few chances in the slot. Booth and Kessel had semi-breakaways in the first, both needed to at least test Frederik Andersen and didn’t; after the first, there wasn’t much to note, and in need of a big third period push the Leafs came up with almost nothing. Evan’s scoring chance chart will be an interesting view tomorrow, as there appeared to be very long spells in this game without a scoring chance for Toronto. Interesting enough, the shot location chart shows the home-plate shots as about even.

In games like this, with the team making some changes at even strength in terms of deployment and systems, it would’ve been a big help to get some kick out of their powerplay, but that wasn’t the case for the second straight game (0 for 3 again tonight). Even just to get some confidence back it would’ve been nice to see the Leafs generate something on the late powerplay, but three shots total in six minutes of PP time is a pretty miserable effort. Getting the powerplay on course again and some bigger efforts in net are going to be needed soon.

There are also a number of same-old issues that were never going to change just because Randy Carlyle is out of the picture. Horachek spoke about wanting to be able to roll lines regardless of matchups, but the Leafs still have no answers for the best lines in the league, and were ripped apart by the Anaheim top line (all three even strength goals against came off the stick of Corey Perry, so there’s your game).

The Leafs need to stick with this process, not that they have a choice. Playing this way and losing to teams that are better at it will yield more games like this down the stretch, but again, it’s how sustainably good teams play. As the playoffs seem more and more like a pipedream, getting a feel for which players are going to be a part of the solution, and further cementing which areas of the roster are most in need of addressing, during this attempt to play more of a possession game is going to be an important part of the evaluation process in the second half of the schedule.

David Booth Injury Update

Might we see Matt Frattin called up as the Leafs lose another body up front and search high and low for offense? He’s up to 10 goals in 22 games with the Marlies.

Shot Location Chart

2015-01-15_00-47-19

Possession Chart

chart (1)

Ducks 2 vs. Leafs 0 - January 14

PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PP TOISH TOITOI
D. PhaneufD000-2022101-3:371:2122:25
C. FransonD000-3022200-3:210:3520:57
S. RobidasD000-1011100-0:000:3515:29
R. PanikR000-3210201-1:260:0014:46
D. BoothL0000021001-0:000:008:07
J. van RiemsdykL0000010000-3:100:0019:43
T. SmithC000-223300055%0:000:0012:58
M. SantorelliC000-1000000-0:040:0018:22
D. WinnikC000-103200075%1:241:5618:32
T. BodieR0000011000-0:000:007:19
T. BozakC000000100048%4:300:0019:49
N. KadriC000003100077%3:300:0020:53
M. RiellyD0000000000-2:390:0019:40
R. PolakD0000031110-0:001:2121:10
J. GardinerD0000012100-2:230:0020:19
S. CarrickC000001100040%0:000:006:12
D. ClarksonR000-3001000-1:260:0012:49
P. KesselR0000040000-4:300:0019:29
GOALIE
PLAYEREVPPSHSAVES - SHOTSSV%PIMTOI
J. Bernier (16-11-3)17 - 193 - 41 - 121 - 240.875057:09:00
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Offence
30 %
Defence
65 %
Goaltending
65 %
Special Teams
25 %
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