Leafs Postgame: Korpisalowned

We should have known that this night was going to be one for good intentions with poor results at this very moment. Just look at Josh Leivo. He works his tail off for months with the Marlies, plays well above expectations, puts on the jersey of the big club for the first time this season, and almost kills himself on the net before the game even starts.

Great omen, Josh. The Leafs lost this one 3-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, in a game where Toronto’s systems shined, but their skill level didn’t.

The Leafs, like many teams that spend a hundred years fostering hockey players, tend to host a lot of “famous first” moments in players careers. Tonight, the scoring was opened with Seth Jones’ first point since the blockbuster deal that sent him to Columbus in exchange for Ryan Johansen. The goal was an opportunistic one; Matt Hunwick wasn’t able to strip the puck off of Josh Anderson along the boards, Kerby Rychel managed to escape Roman Polak and Daniel Winnik, which lead to a pass, a blast by Jones, a deflection by Boone Jenner, and the game’s first goal. 

This was a period that, realistically, the Leafs should have been able to take advantage of; especially when you consider the fact that they had three powerplays scattered across, giving them every opportunity to gain momentum. Unfortunately, rookie goaltender Joonas Korpisalo came out to play in a big way tonight, and shut down every opportunity. This became even more evident as the game progressed, as the Leafs outshot Columbus 15-9 in the second, only to give up another goal courtesy of Alexander Wennberg, who grabbed an opportunistic rebound on a Justin Falk shot to beat a sprawling James Reimer.


As the shot count crept into the forties, Brad Boyes finally broke the shutout. With two and a half minutes to go, Boyes crept over to the right side of Koripsalo, waited for Leo Komarov to pick up Morgan Rielly’s rebound, and ripped it into the mostly-open net. It wasn’t enough, however; Brandon Dubinsky added an empty-netter in the game’s last second to add that extra grain of insurance.

Why The Leafs Lost

leafs

Well, it certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort. The Leafs attempted 94 shots on goal tonight and landed a little less than half of them; John Tortorella’s “let it all happen, but get in its way” tactics came out in spades tonight. I can’t imagine the legs of Columbus’ defenders are feeling too good right now…

This is a game that you can chalk up a bit to Korpisalo’s fantastic play, and the lack of pure skill in the Leafs’ present core. The last thing you want to throw at an agile goalie who is feeling himself is a straight up shot on net, which unfortunately was all the team had in its arsenal tonight.

Blue Warrior

Korpisalo for being the star of the night in front of 18,000 people who didn’t know his name, Nazem Kadri for putting up team-leading possession numbers and being a topic that almost caused Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean to fight each other on National Television, and yourself for staying tuned in. This wasn’t a fun night.

See You Next Time

We thought that there was no way that things could get worse after getting blown out by the Sharks. We were proven wrong tonight by this dreadful game against the league’s worst team, but hey; now things really can’t get worse!

Toronto’s next game is on Friday, against the Chicago Blackhawks.

*looks back at schedule*

Followed by a game the next night in Boston, against the Bruins.

*nervous twitch*

When is the All-Star Break, again?

  • Gary Empey

    Columbus got the best of that trade with Seth Jones.

    Edit-@ 7 trashes – Number one pairing, Jones played 25 minutes. No goals against. Stymied every leaf rush when he was on the ice. Assisted on the important 1st Bluejacket goal.

  • jimithy

    What a disgusting effort from the team, the fans and the TV intermission commentators. And it’s only the beginning of 2016! Reilly, Kadri, Holland, Lupul, Boyes, Winnick, Phaneuf and Gardiner are doing a great job keeping the Laff legend alive. One bright spot of the game was only having to listen to Andy Frost’s irritating phony whine only once.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Phaneuf truly looked horrific. Rielly and Gardiner covered him when Saad turned him into a human pylon with a double deke through his own legs as he stood still and on that empty netter as he was too slow to catch up to the guy speeding down the neutral zone. Rielly caught him and dove to stick check him even though he was way further away than him. Awful game by him. Winnik-Holland-Lupul had an excellent game. Lupul is so bad these days. Are we sure he’s 100% healthy? He has been invisible since he returned from injury and only has 1 goal in his las 13 games and counting. He looks awful but he looked great tonight. Everyone else was bad. Marincin looked good until Babs benched him for no reason. Boyes, Kadri looked great as well as Gardiner and Rielly. The Bozak line was awful. Absolutely no defensive help for the goalie tonight. Pitiful even though we severely outshot them, the defensive mistakes and lack of finish mixed with the horrible PP sunk them.

  • Jeremy Ian

    The most depressing aspect of this loss was that the Leafs outplayed an anemic team, still lost, and still won’t keep up with the Blue Jackets’ race to the cellar. It was sloppy all around without gaining ground on anything.

    The shining lights were the future core of the team: Kadri, Gardiner, Rielly, and Holland. But Jeff’s exactly right: there’s no one to finish the plays. With JVR out, goals are going to be scarce. May have to experiment with some combinations — like Lupul and Kadri. Sean Matthias was more visible on Bozak’s line. His energy helped. But there’s no finisher in that mix.

    One of Phaneuf’s worst games this year.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Not a great game for sure, this team loses when they should win and win when they should loose.. They needed to make a come back after that disgraceful lost to the sharks and it’s seem this team has gone back to their old ways and leaving their net-minders out to dry…

    So great to have Reims back, hope he can muster up a lot because if this keeps up both him and Bernier will be carrying the team on their backs and we know how that all works out….

    Good luck to both net-minders and the team this weekend, they will need it….

  • Jeremy Ian

    The game was hard to watch, but I don’t see this one as a brutal effort from the Leafs. They had Columbus hemmed in for most of the game and had some good chances. Definitely suffered from a goalie having a great night and a lack of finish. I have a hard time saying the effort wasn’t there. Lupul looked better than he has in a while and I thought Matthias did alright with more ice time, but the skill downgrade from JVR showed.

    I liked what Leivo brought as well. He made some dangerous looking passes in tight that just didn’t quite connect, but what can you expect from a guy who isn’t used to his line mates or the pace of the NHL? I was happy to see him around the net and I actually noticed his name a few times in favourable situations. I was afraid I wouldn’t.

    That said, I was hoping that there would be a lot more jump off the start after an abysmal Sharks route.