As we all know, Randy Carlyle is no longer the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. This means that the team has been fixed, right?
Well, not so fast. The Washington Capitals strolled into down, and ran away with a 6-2 victory.
Toronto’s problems started early into the game. Just five minutes in, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Troy Brouwer broke in on a group of four defending Leafs, but still managed to find a way to open up enough space for Marcus Johansson to burst in and fire home his eleventh of the season.
Toronto found a way to tie the game early in the second period, with Daniel Winnik tipping in a Cody Franson point shot, but the game only remained that close for about a minute and a half. Despite being on the powerplay, a poor line change by Morgan Rielly and nearly as poor backcheck by David Clarkson lead to Jay Beagle winning a foot race and setting up Eric Fehr. Fehr then went on to set up Brooks Laich off a faceoff two minutes later, further extending Washington’s lead.
Trevor Smith managed to score his first goal of the season in the closing minutes of the period, but Johansson responded with his second of the night just forty two seconds later. In the third period, Eric Fehr added his second and Alexander Ovechkin capped things off with an empty netter.
In a game where the team wasn’t very good at hockey, we’ll give the Blue Warrior to somebody who was a Don Cherry-esque Blue Warrior. Roman Polak took a puck to the face and found his way back onto the bench as soon as he possibly could, despite looking like the NHL’s latest mumps victim. He was also Toronto’s top possession defenceman tonight, sitting cool at 68% CF, and even picked up an assist on Trevor Smith’s goal.
A Single Departing Note
This game is a friendly reminder that a single personnel move won’t instantly make a team better. While the Leafs had moments where they looked in better control than they have throughout the season, they still disappointed with a loss. These games are going to happen, especially as the new-old-whatever coaching staff figure out how they’d like to approach this lineup for the remainder of the year. I know patience is something nobody wants requested of them at this point, but it may be a necessity for a little bit.