October 21 2011 10:39AM
It's like a freakin' country-bear jamboroo around here- Jonas Gustavsson
The Leafs first loss of the regular season was a spectacular one.
The Leafs had been riding a high shooting percentage and some solid goaltending from James Reimer. Neither of those elements were present last night in Boston. I’m not going to exclusively blame the Monster because the team in front of him was atrocious. A couple of things were at work here. First Phil Kessel saw a whole lot of Zdeno Chara last night. This was exacerbated by the fact that this was the first road game for the Leafs and they were unable to take advantage of having the last change. Unfavourable matchups, plus a tired team, plus a backup goalie playing the defending Stanley Cup champions equals a blowout, it’s math.
What can the shift chart tell us?
- Zdeno Chara and Phil Kessel probably did not see that much ice time together when they were teammates. Chara was on the ice for either all or a majority of each one but two of Kessel’s shifts. Even with Chara in the box Kessel did not get an entire shift in. As a result Kessel failed to record a point for the first time this season.
- Phaneuf and Gunnarsson had their worst outing of the season last night. Wilson tried to match them up with the line of Horton-Bergeron-Marchand, easily their toughest competition to date. Without the benefit of the last change this was a more difficult task.
- I mentioned this last night but Orr and Rosehill are waste of a roster spot at this point. I understand that the Leafs were more or less forced into this by injuries etc but they really have no business being a part of this hockey team. Orr played 5 minutes last night and only took 5 shifts in the second and third period combined. He probably wouldn’t have seen another shift after the ten minute mark of the second period but the game was out of control by the time he saw the ice again. I would be comfortable with sending him to the Marlies for the rest of his contract. Just go away.
- Surprisingly enough Kessel was the first Leaf to finish up his night. He came off the ice for good with about three minutes left in the third. The game was over so both Rosehill and Orr saw a few shifts to teach someone a lesson. the only lesson learned was that this team sucks when they are on the ice.
- David Steckel played 19 minutes last night in all situations. He has probably been the biggest surprise this season. While he suffered in the faceoff dot relative to his usual performance he did open the scoring.
- Boy did Cody Franson ever have a rough night.
Time to fire up the Excuse-o-matic. The Leafs were coming off a big come from behind win, they had a rough flight in with no game day skate. They were playing their first game on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champions. It was their first regulation loss of the season and they had their backup goalie who hadn’t played an NHL game in half a year in net.
There, I just used up about a month’s worth of excuses for one game. Better win the next one fellas.
The Leafs are 4-1-1 with 9 out of a possible 11 points to start the season. Can’t really complain about that. Just beat the Habs and all will be forgiven.
Go Leafs Go.