January 26 2013 08:46PM
Not often when you go into a road building against one of the conference's elite teams do you have a chance to win. Seldom do you even hold a one-goal lead into the third period.
Whether it was fatigue from playing their third game in four nights, or simply by being a group with several glaring holes in the lineup, the Maple Leafs had another third period to forget, and walk out of Madison Square Garden with a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, falling to 2-3-0 on the season.
Toronto got out-shot, badly. They got out-chanced, badly, and after the final buzzer, they got out-scored, badly. The lone positive in this one may have been the play of one James Reimer, the 24-year old goaltender who has looked every bit an NHL starter in his appearances this season.
-Some scoring chance numbers… New York had the bulk of the scoring chances, 22-10 through three periods and doubled the Leafs up 18-9 at even strength. In score close situations, it was 14-7 for New York. Just an ugly performance by the Leafs skaters.
-I thought the game got off to a good start in the first couple of minutes. Some decent chances and rushes either way, but then the sideshow began, with fights between Mike Brown and Arron Asham as well as Colton Orr with Mike Rupp. After that the pace of the game slowed to a crawl, which benefit the Leafs for a while since they're not a team that can skate with the first two lines of the New York Rangers, as it turns out.
-How good is the Rangers' top line? Well, as noted several times on the CBC broadcast, it's basically a five-man unit with Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards, Michael del Zotto and Marc Staal. The five combined for 12 scoring chances, and three goals. Neither of Gaborik's goals were registered as chances, as one was a tipped point shot and one was an empty net goal.
-That line played against all three of the Leafs lines at some point, and they all failed to match up effectively. By eye-balling the play-by-play sheet, it looks as if it was Dion Phaneuf and Mike Kostka the defensive pairing that was frequently burned by them. I'll double-check by own chance numbers tomorrow, but it was not a good game for the Leafs' top pairing. Any game where a player plays 31:33 in his fifth NHL game isn't going to end the right way.
-Toronto didn't have a consistent offensive threat, with their own shots and chances scattered throughout the lineup. Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk each had four shots, but their linemates didn't match the offensive performance. Tyler Bozak had another high-minute game, at 19:27. Eventually, those minutes are going to hurt, and again, the Leafs having Orr (3:29) and Brown (3:37) on the fourth line is going to really kill them. Depth is an issue, and after Clarke MacArthur went down, Randy Carlyle really had to scatter his lines.
-Ryan Callahan had a good game for New York, particularly in the latter half. Four shots on goal, and gave the Maple Leafs a tough matchup option since they couldn't stack their pairings against the top unit. New York's depth is an issue, but they apparently signed Jason Arnott today, that will make them a bit scarier. Jeff Halpern played just 4:16, Mike Rupp 2:08 and Arron Asham 1:57. The Rangers have been able to get away with that because they've had consistent goaltending and good top pairing defencemen for the better part of seven years.
-Phil Kessel's shot distances have been better than CBC would love to have you believe. He wasn't particularly good in this one, however.
-Mikhail Grabovski's goal was a thing of beauty. Him and Nik Kulemin have had to play some tough, tough minutes so far this season so it's nice to see Grabovski get some offensive numbers that could help people's perception of him. If the team continues to lose games like this though, I can see a few articles popping up where people are suggesting he be bought out. That would be the wrong move.
-Today you saw how over his head Nazem Kadri and his line are defensively at this level against top competition. They got absolutely worked over on Brian Boyle's clinching goal.
-Not much more we want to learn about this game, not without working with some better numbers. Hopefully once timeonice.com is up and running, we'll have a better picture of what went on away from the puck in these games.
Here's Toronto's individual chances:
|Chances Taken||Set Up||Total|
|James van Riemsdyk||2||2|
And New York's:
|Chances Taken||Set Up||Total|
|Michael del Zotto||2||2||4|
|TOR (EV)||3 (2)||4 (4)||3 (3)||10 (9)|
|NYR (EV)||6 (5)||9 (6)||7 (7)||22 (18)|
- Rick Nash
- Marian Gaborik
- James Reimer