LEAFS POSTGAME: Helping the Wild, Wild, West

I got a phone call at around ten to seven this evening. It was from my aunt, on behalf of an uncle who didn’t have my phone number. Up for grabs? A pair of Leafs tickets. The cost? Free. I said no; concluding that this team wasn’t worth picking up the tickets and heading down to the Air Canada Centre to watch. The fans seemed to feel the same way, with this being a rare non-sellout. To those who did go, they left with the same empty feeling the team has left for months, falling 2-1 to the Minnesota Wild.

The Rundown

So, the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t so much as held a lead in the past seven games. Forget winning, I’m talking even a few seconds of having more goals scored than there opponents. This trend continued tonight, as late in the first period, Charlie Coyle opened the scoring, taking advantage of a disastrous amount of stumbling and bad positioning after a faceoff. The Wild kept the momentum going from there, outshooting the Leafs (of course) until it was time to strike again.

In this case, Thomas Vanek partied like it was 2008 after scoring his 19th of the season. Vanek has been the opposite of the Leafs, slowly but surely building his production back up after a poor start to the year. In this case, he took advantage of the Leafs being slow to get back into the defensive zone, and Eric Brewer being too focused on finishing a check to cover the puck.

Jake Gardiner appeared to make a game out of this with six and a half minutes to go, rushing up with Joffrey Lupul and eventually picking up a rebound to bring the Leafs within one. However, that was the last goal of the game, as the two teams went into ceasefire mode from there.

Blue Warrior

Jonathan Bernier hasn’t had a lot of good games lately, so I think it’s worth giving credit where it’s due. His 30 saves on 32 shots delayed the inevitable, and was along the lines of what many expect out of him. I’m sure many would be happy with seeing more of those in the past few games as long as he doesn’t, you know, start stealing games.

Summing it Up

I’m starting to wonder if the Leafs will ever be ahead in a hockey game ever again. This was another flat performance for a team that has flatlined, and there seems to be no end in sight. I know it’s tough to say when you’re rooting for a tank scenario, but with eight games to go and the team being seven points ahead of Edmonton, you begin to almost hope they pull out one last hurrah before the season ends; something, anything to make you feel a little happy that you spent hours watching them.

The Leafs will take another crack at success on Thursday, when they face the Florida Panthers.

  • BarelyComments

    I just caught the third period so can’t say much about the entire game but the leafs definitely found their own near the end… For most of what I watched the leafs where pretty dominant (17-6 shots or something like that?)… Also liking what I’m seeing from the Rielly/Gards pairing (plus it means Brewer plays on the top paring… Tank nation!)… Hopefully whoever coaches next year won’t be scared to keep these two together as a potential top pairing…

  • STAN

    are you crazy? i will be pissed if they win a single game to close out the season. i hope the oilers get hot and start collecting some points. coyotes have also played better. even the sabres are getting points! i want the team not to win a single game for the rest of the year.

  • STAN

    THANK YOU PETER HORACHEK!

    Nothing helps the cause of grabbing that third draft spot by playing your most ineffective line. A LOT. Kessel, JvR and Bozak each played almost 23 minutes.

    Great job.

    Hanafin should be the newest Leaf come June. Build the D!

    • STAN

      not to mention 2nd line centre trevor smith, 3rd line winger zach sill and 1st pairing defencemen eric brewer! i wish to god that 10-1-1 streak never happened otherwise we would be worse than buffalo. we are currently on a 37 point pace for an entire season if we played this terribly from the start. damn shame we didn’t tank earlier.