Leafs Postgame – Thunderstruck


The Toronto Maple Leafs really needed a better game tonight, after a deflating loss against the Detroit Red Wings 24 hours prior. They needed more from their top line, and they ended up playing pretty well. They needed James Reimer to play at least OK, and outside of the first minute, I think he accomplished that. Lastly, they needed the defence to not make the lapses in judgement it made the night before, but that part just didn’t happen. They let Steven Stamkos run rampant, and that was enough to deliver a 5-3 loss at the Air Canada Centre.

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The Rundown

Tampa Bay was first to strike, and boy, did they work fast. Just fifty nine seconds in, Radko Gudas threw a wrister from the point on net immediately after a faceoff, and thanks to a mix of traffic and James Reimer’s ill preparation, found it’s way to the back of the net. The Bolts’ lead didn’t last very long, though. Phil Kessel scored his 35th of the year after a near perfect pump fake by Carl Gunnarsson turned into a one timer setup in front of the net. Shortly after, a cycle instigated by David Clarkson (!!) lead to a Tim Gleason slap-pass, that Nikolai Kulemin tipped through Ben Bishop’s five hole to give the Leafs the lead.

And then, Steven Stamkos happened. After Clarkson took an interference penalty, the Leafs chased the puck a lot on the penalty kill, leaving the best sniper in the National Hockey league wide open for a one timer. Two minutes later, the Leafs left Stamkos on his own again, directly in front of the net.

The second period was an opportunity to recollect and not make this mistake again, but as we all know, things aren’t so simple, as Stamkos completed his hat trick six minutes into the period. Clarkson tried to shake things up a few minutes later, dropping BJ Crombeen early into a fight, while also taking a holding call in the process.Tampa continued to pour it on, but James Reimer kept the Bolts grounded for the remainder of the period.

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Toronto showed flashes of brilliance late in the third period. Jake Gardiner scored his fifth goal in seven games, on an individual effort that saw him lap around the Tampa Bay net and fire a wrist shot past Ben Bishop. Peter Holland almost tied the game almost immediately afterwards, but was met on the right side by Bishop to keep the Leafs trailing.

The Lightning widened the gap on a controversial powerplay goal. Seconds after getting away with interference on Tim Gleason, Tyler Johnson headed to the front of the net and tapped in his 22nd goal of the season. Toronto poured it on in the final minutes, but couldn’t get any closer and the game was slowly crawling to an end, but not before a fan ran onto the ice:


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Anyway. The clock hit eventually zero and everybody went home.

Why The Leafs Lost


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Steven Stamkos is really good at hockey. You should probably try to stop him from scoring goals. The Leafs did not do that, at all, and unsurprisingly, Stamkos scored on his first three shots. Next time, they should probably try to to defend the most prolific scorer of the past half decade.

Blue Warrior

I think it’s only fair that this one goes to Paul Ranger tonight. Alex Killhorn hit him pretty badly at the end of the first period, and he had to be taken off on a stretcher. The good news is that he’s stable and alert, and we’re all hoping for the best in his recovery.

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  • Derian Hatcher

    Hey Carlyle – make sure you toss this loss on Reimer, cause it had nothing to do with the soft d zone coverage or your captain’s butter soft play on covering 91. Like watching the oilers play in their own zone – how can nhl players be so clueless in their own zone ? has panic set in yet?

  • Cam Thornton

    I disagree here. Reimer is playing solid in net again and even that first goal was not his fault. I dislike all you guys piling on Reimer, Clarkson, Bozak etc. But I think your analysis is biased and way off. Reimer should have gotten the blue warrior accolade.

    Also Reimer’s SV% is deceiving and what it really shows is that the leaf team are unable to play defence eve when they give up a league average number of shots. My objective analysis shows that Reimer is a better goalie then Bernier.

    Also I’m starting to feel sorry for Carlyle trying to coach these ninnies but the leafs and their inability to play defence are destroying Reimer’s confidence and trade value.

    • TGT23

      Your “objective analysis” is that of two goalies playing behind the same weak defensive team the one with the worse stats in every catagory is actually the better of the two?


      I understand some fans feeling the need to back up Reimer. We’ve been pulling for him to be an elite goalie since he broke into the league. He’s home grown. He had a great season last year and helped us to the playoffs. Whether or not his flaws ultimately cost them the series is another matter.

      But, if we’re really being honest here, Bernier is the better goalie. Especially this season.

      That said, this particular loss is not his fault. The first goal, yes. But, not the loss.

    • Bertly83

      I agree with you totally, when the team plays at their best which isn’t alot latly and actually take up the slack and play in front of reimer as they use too, they all click and great things happen…but for awhile now they and the RC included have turn away from Reimer and are slowly destroying a pefectly wonderful person and the heart and soul of this team…Reimer loves this sport, his team mates his love of Toronto the fans everything…and in return he gets thrown to the wolfs and left to destruct. to beome untradeable at least for any real money….this is how we treat him…

      Reimer when at his best and when he has the faith and support of his team, coach and fans, he great….for anyone to perform at all out there with such a lost of support(although he never mentions it, he still stands with his team no matter what, can’t say the same for them)and tries to win for and with his team, a team that has forsakeen for Bernier, so be it but at least give Reimer respect if nothing else and don’t drag him dowm to where who worthless..again shame on you…..

      GO REIMER GO…..your time is ending my frind the favorite is returning soon….hopefully this nightmare for you will be over soon…my prayers are with you….a true Reimerfan

    • Nate

      To be honest with you, I think Bernier is better in terms of outright skill, but Reimer plays his heart out every game. Carlyle treats him like garbage and the team doesn’t ever play 60 minutes when he’s in net. I would love it if he signs with the leafs again in the offseason. I hate to say it, but even as a huge fan of Reimer I’m thinking he won’t be a leaf next season. 🙁

      • Bertly83

        I agree with you on your statement regarding RC with regards to his mistreatment and down right degrading attitude towards Reimer…
        Reimer has been the only player in any game he’s played put everything he has into it, no matter what he never gives up…sure he’s not perfect no goalie is and he has flaws all goalies do, but I have never seen another goalie be abused so much not by just RC and Nonis but by his own team and the fans… Here is a guy who although not perfect plays if aloud a full game, he doesn’t get any rest in-between periods he doesn’t get away with playing a few minutes than replace him with another goalie and back and fourth till the game is over (ALL GOALIES ARE EXPECTED TO PUT IN 20 MINS x 3 periods every game night) Goal tenders are the heart and soul of the team, and when there’s a break down with the team, fans, management and everything else, he is still expected to perform and be good at it no matter what….seems real unfair too me…

        Reimer is to nice a guy for his own good that is his down fall with this team….He needs to finally come out and stick it to his so called team mates that have dished him most of this season a team that instead of being there for him for a change (cries out we want Bernier and won’t play with anyone else)childness….

        Reimer I’m sure feels like an outsider now looking in and it must be awful to be thrown aside as he has been for another Goalie so easily….

        Instead of working with Reimer to improve his game and his shortfalls because there nothing that can’t be fixed if he had someone working with him to better these shortfalls and to where everyone can see that he has what it takes to lead this team, they felt it was better to spend another million dollars and a few key players to bring in another goalie similar to himself along with Clarkson etc

        I will be sad to see him go to another team…but I look at all the players before and during this season who are with different teams and everyone of them are doing much better than they ever done here. So I would rather see him go to a team that has seen what he has doe over his short career and sees what he can be and give him a chance that was stolen from him here, than to see him on a continuing spiral downwards here with such an unforgiving organization that eats its players alive than spits than out….

        LOL REIMER.. as your biggest fan I regret all that has falling your way, but it will get better just don’t give up. I know you love this sport, Toronto, this team the fans but they don’t deserve you and there’s a far better team out there that you can gel with as it should be and who will stand, compete fight and respect the hard work and dedication you will bring to their team because most teams value all their goalies not just the one…

  • Cam Thornton

    I can’t believe it took me this long into the season, but tonight, I literally yelled at my computer “DO SOMETHING USEFUL CLARKSON YOU BUM”. I liked to lie to myself and say that eventually he’d hit his stride, but Stamkos almost equalled Clarkson’s entire season goal output in 1 game.

    I though Reimer had a pretty good game, although the stats wouldn’t show so. But then again, I’ve always been very pro James Reimer

  • DeSpy

    In my opinion leafs did great. I didnt like the refs… i saw a guy from tampa pining down frazer (hope i spelled right or called the right person) to the wall 5 seconds or more after the puck got free from the wall battle , later leaf player (I keep forgetting players names ugh!) was trying to get his stick around (not full and not touching )a tampa player in order to reach and poke the puck away and gets a penalty for holding ??? then the gleason hit that happened when he didnt even had a possession of the puck … few short seconds later there was a goal (well every one saw the uncalled penalty and the unwaved off goal) there were many stuff i didnt like in this game :/

    Last thing to do is to hope leafs will win at least 6 of 12 games left

    sorry for my grammer about the way English is not my first language

  • Cam Thornton

    This one can’t be on Reimer. I think Phaneuf may be hurt. They must be tired as hell. We created some amazing chances but Bishop made some amazing saves. Gardiner is stepping up. So are Rilley and pretty much the entire offence. But there’s something wrong with Phaneuf.

    Of course the team needs a few games to adjust to the new goalie. Montreal game is going to be a blowout either way. If we lose people will go crazy and demand Carlyle’s head but Nonis will stay calm and we’ll make the playoffs.

    Carlyle’s teams are centered around a great scoring first two lines, a great checking third line and a great goalie. Without Bolland and Bernier the latter two are missing

    • DeSpy

      the problem with dianne phanuef is dianne phanuef, i have never seen an nhl captain with such little hockey iq. watching him against the bolts was amazing, atom defencemen make more intelligent reads.

      • DeSpy

        Yeah, whatever man, Dion’s been amazing at shutting down top lines throughout the season. He’s a plus player and he has been matched against the likes of Crosby and Kane and Tavares and E. Staal etc. and none of them did much in games against the Leafs. He’s hurt and tired. I hope he gets better.

  • STAN

    It’s as if this Leafs coaching staff either did absolutely no homework on Tampa Bay and Steve Stamkos, or they did and the players just ignored it.

    This entire gang has STUPID stamped all over it. Stupid penalties (usually caused by laziness and no will), stupid passes to nowhere, stupid and useless penalty kill (now 28-29th in the league) and just a stupid approach to almost every game.

    Phaneuf peaked 3 years ago. Thankfully, Leaf Nation will get to watch his hapless, deteriorating play for another seven seasons.

    The infamous 18 wheeler is losing control with one wheel on the edge of the cliff.

  • Reimer is a super-nice classy guy, I met him right after his Leafs run started. Seeing that ass-clown Carlyle treat him like crap makes me ashamed to be a Leafs fan! Yeah I went that far! I want to see JR sign somewhere in the summer, let’s say Winnipeg. They meet Toronto and get shut out to rub it in that bald face (assuming he has a job after the Leafs miss the playoffs)
    Bernier, despite being good is not the answer to the problem. The problem is defence. If Phaneuf is considered your best D and a captain? We’re in huge trouble. Hopefully Reilly will peak in 2-3 years and take over as #1 D man. Until then Gunnarson, Franson and even Dion himself need to be traded for better players. Man that 7 year extension….fml….sigh go leafs..