Leafs postgame – Leafs drunk, blow lead, lose shootout


The Leafs and the Penguins, two dominant QMJHL (apparently?) franchises, met up at Consol Energy Centre Wednesday night for the drunkest game of the season. Despite throwing everything at Jonathan Bernier in the second half of the game, the Pittsburgh Penguins could not skate away with a regulation victory. Despite scoring five goals on 24 shots, chasing the starting goaltender and scoring on the first shot the backup faced, the Maple Leafs couldn’t hang on in the end.

There’s some wonky strategy employed by Randy Carlyle in the way he defends leads. Again, Toronto didn’t get a shot in the final 25:04 of the game, yet skate out of Pittsburgh with a point, falling 6-5 in a shootout.


Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead after the Maple Leafs defence let Chris Connor get wide open in the slot, and they very nearly made it 2-0 as Sidney Crosby was stopped right in front by Jonathan Bernier. It looked like a repeat of the Columbus game, as the Leafs conceded eight shots before managing one, but then a series of hilarious mistakes helped the Leafs scored four unanswered goals over the next 15 minutes or so of game time. 

First, a dumb interference penalty by Simon Despres helped tie the game at one, as the Leafs converted quickly on the powerplay with another excellent tip by James van Riemsdyk in front. Then on a standard breakout, another rookie defenceman Olli Maatta for some reason forgot to come off the bench, giving the Leafs a 3-on-1 that Nazem Kadri converted on. At the start of the third period, Marc-Andre Fleury made his second giveaway of the game, failing to hook up with defenceman Kris Letang and instead having the puck stolen by James van Riemsdyk, who scored his second, and finally, Letang was easily bodied off the puck by Tyler Bozak, who set up Phil Kessel wide open in the slot to make it 4-1 before anybody had taken their seats for the start of the second.

A couple of powerplay goals by the Penguins made it 4-3 (Evgeni Malkin also had one waved off due to a high stick) but Tyler Bozak managed to tap one in as time expired in the third, thanks to a real thoughtless pass by an inebriated Brooks Orpik:

Refereeing got the worst of the Leafs in the third period. After a fairly weak call on Jerred Smithson for holding, van Riemsdyk took down Letang in the neutral zone and the Penguins went on a 5-on-3. Bozak lost his stick, and Evgeni Malkin deked around him before feeding it to James Neal for the 5-4 goal. Four minutes later, Malkin got the benefit of a call as he pushed Jonathan Bernier into the net before banging home a rebound.

The Leafs managed to go the entire third period and overtime without a shot on goal, and Jeff Zatkoff didn’t have to make a save until Tyler Bozak’s first attempt in the shootout. Bernier was deked out by a patient Sidney Crosby and looked pretty brutal on a pokecheck attempt, and after a David Clarkson miss, Malkin, of all friggin’ people, beat Bernier to seal a Penguins victory.


It’s not even worth parsing tonight. We’ll have more tomorrow.


Jonathan Bernier was tested 48 times. James Neal, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kristopher Letang combined for as many shots on goal as the Leafs did.

The Leafs are back it Friday night in Buffalo. They might get a shot on goal in that game.

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  • STAN

    leaferfan – It MUST be Carlyle. This style is his system, If it weren’t, why would they do out there night after night and defy him? Just because they can? And still get paid? I doubt it.

    I thought the Leafs were dysfunctional under Wilson. But this is nuts.

    And SOOOO frustrating. Because when they turn on the jets, fight for the puck and play smart, they can score and make other teams look silly.

    But even up a goal, they will tend to go in rope-a-dope, prevent defence that only worked for Muhammad Ali. Then they go into that back-skating, puck-watching shell and…boom.

    Paul Rangers adventures continued. He seems to think he’s far faster than he is. It’s embarrassing to watch him take the puck and calmly start to ‘out-skate’ an opposing forward, only to be caught and easily checked.


  • STAN

    Solid first two periods for the Leafs tonight but seemed to get derailed by weak penalty calls, and non-call on Malkin goal. It’s not an excuse for not generating a shot in third but refs didn’t do them any favors tonight. Great to see Bozak back though, he may have been the Leafs best fw, but he will most likely get 0 credit. Hopefully Gardiner comes learned a few things while sitting out and comes back the player we saw in the Boston series last year. Ranger should probably take a seat.

  • millzy09

    GO REIMER GO!!!!

    Well even though bernier sucked and couldn’t get the job done, he still get’s props…sad sad sad….

    I expect alot more out of a guy that gets paid 3 and half timesmfore than Ben did before traded off and over a million + than the real goalie (Reimer) When Randy said last year after the bruins game 7 lost ” IF YOU COULD GET THE BEST GOALTENDER OUT THERE WHAT WOULD YOU DO???? well first of all you have to get him..oh that’s right it must be Bernier..good one,,

    the leafs had a great team with Reimer and Ben Reimer has improved alot and will only get better…as is Ben off with the Kings instead of here…Leafs management has know idea how to put together a great team..alot of money out there for players way over paid…and can’t play for crap

    Oh Well…There’s always next game right?

    Sure sucks how when Reimer needed his team they couldn’t play for crap on Saturday and hung him out to dry, he works dam hard to do his job and gets paid less for it and all he gets in return is a team that can’t carry their load at least when he’s playing….and fans ripping him apart…

    GO REIMER GO!!!!

  • millzy09

    I catch every game and I won’t even bother watching on Friday, there is nothing there for me except disappointment. I expect a win and if it doesn’t happen it will just be more frustration. I can’t help but go into a game with Buffalo and expect a win.

    The Leafs just aren’t as good as their record indicates in my opinion. They could have pulled out the win tonight in OT or the shootout and it wouldn’t have changed anything for me. The damage had already been done, the game was a failure.

  • millzy09

    this is starting to become crazy you can not win games in the nhl getting out shot every game. if your winning you need to go out with a killer instint not the rope a dope. clearly they need big changes in there system or maybe a coaching change this cant continue being out shot or the loss will start to pile up. think of how the leafs capitilze on the few attempts they get well if the played in there offencive zone more they might have more goals. fix this mess out there.