Coming off a 8-0 loss in Beantown the previous evening, I figured the Leafs would put Tank Nation in serious jeopardy on Tuesday night when the Islanders came to town. Not to worry, it’s still full steam ahead on this bullet train to the bottom of the standings.
I’m not sure how much can be taken from this game. The Leafs somehow managed to follow up a 13-shot "performance" in Boston with a 14-shot output on home ice. Absolutely dreadful.
In the opening frame Toronto came out looking good. They were lining up a lot of hits and finishing them. Eventually Kessel got on the scoresheet first with a bomb on a nice feed from Bozak, Leafs up 1-0. Seemed like a pretty standard game immediately afteward – not a whole lot happening, just two not-so-good teams playing hockey. Josh Bailey eventually chipped in a smooth pass from Tavares and notched things up, and then everything started to really go downhill.
Lombardi somehow managed to put the Leafs back up 2-1 early in the second, but the difference in the two clubs started becoming apparent. While both are awful hockey teams, the Islanders looked like an awful hockey team that wanted to become not-awful. The Leafs simply didn’t care, getting badly outshot 13-5 in the second and allowing the Isles to tie things up at 2.
The third was almost unwatchable, to the point where I was cleaning my room while trying to stay interested. The Leafs managed four shots on net in the final frame (yes, four, in the third period of a tied game on home ice against the New York Islanders) as they held on until a Matt Moulson powerplay tally gave the Isles the lead with six minutes remaining. P-A Parenteau followed up with insurance (not like it was needed) after some weird play where Phaneuf kind of just ran into the offensive zone and said "here, a breakaway for you sir" and left Reimer out to dry.
I’m often in the "what would this team be like with a real goaltender?" boat myself, but I’m not sure anyone can really apply that to this game. The Leafs allowed 33 shots on Reimer and did nothing the other way.
Moulson added an empty netter that helped pad some stats for himself, Parenteau and Tavares, while also nabbing me some major points in my fantasy pool. So I guess it wasn’t a total waste.
The Islanders moved to within a point of the Leafs and hold a game in hand. It’s worth noting that the Canadiens aren’t far off either, only three points back with an extra game as well. It could boil down to the last game of the season for who can suck the most and get the best pick. Now wouldn’t that be something.
Toronto goes on to face the Devils in Jersey on Friday before hosting the Rangers on CBC Saturday night. You should hope that you have something better to do.
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