You know what? I’m just going to get straight to the point with this one – this loss, in my eyes, is worse than the 9-2 loss that the Predators laid on this team earlier in the season. At least that game was a known lost cause from basically the beginning. This one? It had a glimmer of hope, and a plot twist which, though everyone knew it was coming, was one that logic would typically imply to be impossible. But here we are. Ten straight. How can you even be mad? This team is the greatest non-Shakespeare tragic comedy in the history of humanity. That’s barely even hyperbole.
The Leafs give up the first one this game while on the powerplay. Nazem Kadri makes a questionable play in an effort to gain the offensive zone, which leads to Seth Jones grabbing a loose puck and taking off. He makes no mistake on Jonathan Bernier and gives Nashville the 1-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Leafs take a penalty of their own (Phil Kessel, to be precise) and try to get their own shorthanded goal. Shea Weber doesn’t like this idea, and blasts a point shot to make it 2-0 Nashville, a lead they kept throughout the first.
Daniel Winnik closed the gap for the Leafs midway through the second period, blasting a one timer teed up to him by Mike Santorelli. Despite the closer game, things took a turn for the worse late in the third period when Jonathan Bernier skated off the ice with a cut on his leg.
But not so fast! James Reimer came in and started stopping pucks, and the Leafs didn’t give up. Nazem Kadri cleaned up David Booth’s garbage on a play instigated by an amazingly instinctive pass by Cody Franson. Seconds later, Mike Santorelli found the back of the net and gave the Leafs the lead. Things were finally looking good!
Shortly after, Jonathan Berneir returned to the bench. Fans were happy to see that he wasn’t incredibly injured, but left confused seconds later when Reimer was yanked back out to return Bernier to the crease. In overly typical fashion, the wheels came off from here. Mike Fisher cut through the Leafs defence to grab a puck and shelf it past Bernier to tie the game just minutes later, and returned to poke a puck out of his leg for Colin Smith to score to restore Nashville’s lead. The Leafs eventually put out an extra attacker, but to no avail.
James Reimer. I know, but run with me. The goalie who has produced poorer results than you of late gets hurt, giving you a rare opportunity to play. You don’t want it to happen this way, but you take any break you can get. You hop in the net, cold, and you stop a couple of pucks. Your team rallies around you. You start the next period as well, and you might just be able to end the losing streak.
But then, your team decides that they’d rather put the other guy back in. Despite him not being particularly stellar earlier in the game, and now, he’s coming in after getting stitched up. You don’t get your break, and he ends up allowing two more to keep the losing streak alive.
Not to fault Bernier for this loss, but if James Reimer isn’t demanding to be traded as soon as possible as we speak, he’s a stronger man than I’ll ever be.
- The Leafs kept the shots pretty close in this one, only being outshot 32-28. Their second period was probably their best, and it showed with the 13-9 shot advantage.
- Capitalizing on the powerplay would have probably been useful. Instead, they gave up a shortie and went 66% on their own kill.
- Nazem Kadri really made up for that bad play at the blueline with that goal, but also did so by being the team’s top possession player tonight; Toronto had 73% of the shot attempts go in their favour when he was on the ice.
- The same can’t be said for Korbinian Holzer and Stephane Robidas, who were both in the low-20’s in that regard. Tough nights for both.
- Toronto’s ten game losing streak is now tied for the longest in team history. Look for them to break that record on Friday against New Jersey.