Leafs postgame: Jokinen returns to Toronto

With just 17 games left until golf season, the Leafs hosted the Blues tonight at the ACC, playing against Jokinen for the first time since he was traded. Zach Sill threw a couple of good punches, but in the end it was Toronto that took home the bruises, losing 6-1. Let’s all say it together now: there’s always next year.

THE RUNDOWN

There was no shooting from the Leafs until the 11-minute mark in the first. Compare that to the nine shots taken by the Blues in the first half of the opening period and you can see where this really set the tone for the game. While Toronto ended up taking 24 total shots on Elliot, with a return of just one, the Blues understood the relationship between shooting and scoring, kept the puck moving, and came away with a game total of 44 shots.

The gloves came off as Sill got into his first fight wearing a Leafs’ jersey at 11 minutes into the game, hitting Ott in the face. Both did time for fighting, making it four-on-four and leaving the Leafs vulnerable to a team with both great penalty killing and power play skills. Although they technically weren’t short-handed, it must have felt like it as the first goal of the night slipped past Bernier at 14:49. The goal was the 22 of the season for Blues’ forward Jaden Schwartz. Two more goals, at 16:30 and 19:45, rounded out the period 3-0 for St. Louis.

Horachek started the second by switching out Bernier for Reimer, but it didn’t have the effect he was looking for and period two became a replay of the first with no scoring action, and very little shooting from the Leafs, until 11:07 into the period when the Blues put one past him. The Blues’ fifth goal came with just over six minutes left, and they started the third 5-0. 

I can be kind of hard on Reimer. This season hasn’t been his best and I’m not his biggest fan, but tonight he made 24 saves, with what seemed like very little help. While the Leafs have been scrappy lately, they aren’t playing a good defensive game, and on nights like tonight it feels like they have lead in their skates. They just aren’t passing the way they should, and unfortunately for Toronto fans, it showed.

Booth made the only Leafs’ play worth noting to open the third, scoring at 2:59. It was never going to be enough to hold off the Blues, but deserves an A for effort. Backes scored the last goal of the evening at 10:36, sealing the deal at 6-1 for the Blues.

BLUE WARRIOR

I could give it to Reimer for holding down the fort as best he could, or Booth for scoring the only Leafs’ goal of the game, but no, this one’s gotta’ go to Zach Sill. He popped his fighting cherry with the Leafs and did a really good job of it too. Nice uppercut there Zach; at least we know that if you ever leave hockey, you can become a boxer.

SEE YOU ON MONDAY

The Leafs are playing the Islanders at home on Monday night. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. This will be their 16th game until G-day.

  • BRstreetlaw

    Not to be a nerd about grammar, but why is every appearance of the word “Leafs” followed by an apostrophe in this article? I think that’s only the correct usage if you mean to deploy the possessive form.

  • Elizabeth Bate

    BRstreetlaw, you’re totally right about the apostrophe denoting the possessive. I definitely use the possessive when I’m talking about things that belong to them, for instance, the Leafs’ goals. It was their goal, so it requires an apostrophe. However, if you look at the beginning, when I say “the Leafs hosted”, etc., there’s no apostrophe.
    I did catch an errant apostrophe and corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out. I blame the long work week and my sheer disappointment in the Leafs performance. LOL

  • STAN

    Zach Sill didn’t get much ice time, but when he did he had lotsa jump and spunk. The actual “talent” took the night off. AGAIN.

    Had it ever been this pathetic?

  • MacTwoTimes

    I was at the game tonight, tough one to watch. The Sill fight was definitely the highlight of the night, he absolutely dropped Ott. I wouldn’t mind keeping him around for awhile.

  • Sparadino

    By far and away the ugliest most hated useless Leaf team in the history of the club. I hate this team more than I could ever articulate. They suck and are brutal. Puck every single one of the losers on this team. Puck them all in the ear and mouth. I hate them all. Losers! If you can’t name 50 active NHL players that you would rather have on your team than Dion or Phil you should never watch another hockey game in your life

    • TGT23

      I think perhaps the dumbest idea anyone has had is that by subtracting Dion and Phil and adding in any two other players this team will magically get better.

      Those two players will still have the same problem Phil and Dion have.

      The overall lack of supporting talent.

      Kessel doesn’t have a top like quality C or LW, JVR should be on Line 2 with Kadri. Bozy on Line 3 with Komorov and maybe Lupul.

      Dion… Come on. Has he ever had a legit #2 to play with?

      It isn’t the top players that are the problem. Not always. They weren’t the problem last season and two seasons ago they made the playoffs.

      The talent AROUND them needs to be better.

      That isn’t to say they don’t have major flaws in their game. But when the team was better those flaws could be covered up.

      And they will both need to be traded for the rebuild to work. That doesn’t mean it is their fault we need to rebuild.

      Next season, when Dion is in Detroit and Phil is who knows where, and they have better talent around them, I wouldnt be surprised if a lot of you start saying “why weren’t they this good in Toronto?”

      They are. They need help though.

      • Jeremy Ian

        Totally agreed. It’s a team sport. Good players need a supporting cast. The team’s really disfigured now.

        I used to be a soft Bozak supporter; for the money, decent value. Not any more. I can’t stand watching him play.

  • TGT23

    no mention of a classic open ice dion phaneuf hit on oshie? he left him swimming in a bowl of oshie-o’s lol. anyway, it’s a catastrophe when zach sill is the best player on the ice besides phaneuf. only one that was in the plus category. I know we hate that “stat” but everyone else was on the ice for a a goal against except sill and lupul (0). everyone else was a -1 or -2. dion played a very good game again. everyone else was awful. lol at zach sill on the power play. I didn’t think it would get worse than clarkson/jokinen on the poweay together but I was wrong. surprisingly, he wasn’t as bad as clarkson though which is hilarious. anyway,bI felt so sorry for polak. I wouldn’t even go the games if I were paid to go. it’s so bad that the team was cheering when the blues scored and when the leafs finally got a shot on goal. there’s not even booing anymore. just sheer apathy. hopefully we keep tanking though!

  • TGT23

    What this team needs is to build around their Goalie as did the HABS!! go PRICE go!!!

    Both netminders here are wasted and their good years will be dust in the wind, because th team is taking them down with them….

    But hey Bernie will be signed for a big amount and nice exstention( not that he deserves it, because if this was reims playing the starter role and played this bad you all be whipping him) because in all fairness what goalie wants to come here and take the abuse….

    Thank God Reims isn;t the ship sinker again this year (not that he ever was…I hope he gets traded this summer…where he can get away from this circus and have a chance with a better team that competes every game…

  • MatsSundin#13

    Since we are discussing the supporting cast, I would like to ask whether or not anyone else saw Bozak glide all the way back from the red line (missing his man, TJ Oshie in the process) on the Leafs second goal against? Watching the replay also convinced me that Rielly turned around from guarding his man (I think it was Steen), looked at Bozie, and then looked skyward. Additionally, just want to add that the Leafs worst defensive line = #1 powerplay unit = most short handed goals given up in the league.

    Props to all defensemen, though, they looked great tonight. Phaneuf was physical, Gardiner looked charged up, Polak battled hard, and Brewer and Erixon were also sharp.

  • MatsSundin#13

    o.k. the comments PHIL KESSEL made this week he has to own some of this, yes they live in a fish bowl where their everymove is critizied, but when a team gives you a 8 year 8 million per year contract on the cap (THE DOLLAR PER DOLLAR IS MORE) you have to come to camp in the best shape possible and that is his problem this year its not up to the team to have a bodyguard with him to make sure that he works out . Its the fastest sport team sport in the world . When you are considered a “superstar” you have to make your team mates better they don’t make you better that’s why we see the drop off in JVR & BOZAK. KESSEL carried those two for a long while, but the decline in his play shows all the warts. The old argument of the CHL VS college is very evident with the LEAFS the college people play less games but practice more than the juniors, but if you look at BOZAK& GARDINER they are lost in the defensive zone their coverage is terrible, or is it their effort. Dion had one good hit against ST. LOUIS but he got challenged and he declined I know he has a bad hand, he fought a softy from OTTAWA and hurt his hand. Is this the goaltending tandem that is taking you forward it is going to be a long rebuild, hopefully this summer they GET SERIOUS about this, if they are it should only take 3 years and you are contending. Be diligent better scouting and drafting. the front office have to be really good at this time. BYE BYE NONIS GO BE WITH BURKE! YOU HAVE PUT US BEHIND THE 8 BALL. GO HARDCORE LEAFS GO!

  • MatsSundin#13

    Did I hear that Kadri considers himself in the player lineage as JOHN TAVERAS, I MUST HAVE BEEN IN A COMA IN 2014_2015 I WOULD RATHER SEE FRASER MCLAREN , COLTON ORR OR JAMIE DEVANE THAN KADRI flailing around the ice, he is not even in the BRAD MARCHAND player I would like to see. If the leafs bring up NYLANDER & LEISPIC hopefully they support them with FRAZZLE or ORR, at least the CBC ratings would go up in the last month. Bring in a freak lets get this party started.