I don’t know what to tell you anymore. Some nights the Leafs look pretty good, and others they don’t. But it doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever they do, however they play, they always lose. The Leafs slipped further in the standings tonight, falling 1-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. In the Leafs last nine games, they have lost nine times.
All the talk is about how the Leafs just don’t have it right now, that they look lost, that Peter Horachek’s message isn’t getting through. That talk continued in the first period as Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, and Glenn Healy continually criticized the Leafs awful play.
I’d like to sit here and tell you that there is truth to that notion, but I just can’t. The Leafs are playing better hockey under Peter Horachek. They really are. And it looked that way again tonight.
Sure, Michael Del Zotto scored 5 minutes into the period. Sure the Leafs just keep on losing. But I refuse to sit here and tell you the team looks worse under Horachek then they did under Randy Carlyle. It’s just not true.
The Leafs played a pretty good opening period. They had some chances to score and they played a pretty tight game. Yes, they left the period down 1-0. But as has been the case a lot of nights recently, the play really wasn’t all that bad.
Alright, rant over.
Not too much happened in the second period, aside from a frantic Flyers powerplay in which Peter Holland get robbed on a partial break and Vinny Lecavelier hit the post. Still 1-0 Flyers after 2.
The Leafs poured it on in the third. They threw everything they could at Steve Mason. They hammered Philadelphia with shots and dominated the territorial play. They had a late powerplay. They had one last glorious chance from Phil Kessel with just seconds left.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Leafs outshot Philadelphia 30-18 and were all things considered the better team. But as has been routine of late, the Leafs got no rewards. They were shutout again. And they ended the month with a an exclamation mark: January 2015 is the lowest-scoring January in Leafs franchise history.
I really liked Peter Holland tonight. He was in on 3 or 4 really good scoring chances. It’s too bad he couldn’t get on the score sheet, but this was certainly his best game since returning from injury. He’s tonight’s Blue Warrior.
- The Leafs have outshot their opponents 7 times in the 11 games under Peter Horachek. Sorry anti-statsers but I gotta say it, winning 1 game out of 11 with that sort of production isn’t sustainable.
- Rumor roundup: according to Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie, Daniel Winnik is drawing a good amount of interest. Winnipeg has been scouting him, and the Pittsburgh Penguins had some interest before trading for Max Lapierre. McKenzie adds that Santorelli, Winnik, and Franson will probably all be dealt ahead of the March 2nd trade deadline. He also believes Dave Nonis isn’t likely to be back next year, but wouldn’t rule it out.
- Elliotte Friedman adds that the Leafs recently tried to get a long-term deal done with Franson that included an AAV in the $4.6 million range. Friedman also notes that while Brendan Shanahan’s preferred replacement to Dave Nonis may be Rob Blake, there is no chance Blake leaves his home in Southern California to come manage in Toronto.
SEE YOU TUESDAY
The Leafs are heading down south Tuesday to play the Nashville Predators. The game is at 8:00PM Eastern on TSN4.