Leafs Postgame: Lack of Action

The Carolina Hurricanes have quietly been one of the best teams in the National Hockey League this year. Yes, I’m aware that I said that about a 23rd place team, but they’ve struggled with some cold struggled with some cold sticks and absolutely dreadful goaltending. Cam Ward hasn’t been good in half a decade, and Eddie Lack has been about as reliable a poorly assembled Ikea table that shares his name.

You wouldn’t know it based on tonight, though, as he shut out the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 1-0 overtime snoozefest.

corsicanes

To be honest, there’s not a lot to talk about in this game. The Leafs controlled much of the play throughout the first two periods, but there weren’t any definitively threatening moments on either side. The Canes poured it on in the third, seemingly finding every hole possible to get the puck towards James Reimer while getting in front of nearly every Toronto opportunity, turning a (still mildly worrisome) 2:1 shot attempt ratio into a 5:1 on-net ratio for Carolina in the closing twenty.

The game headed to overtime, where the double-shutout was finally snapped by Jordan Staal with two minutes to go in the extra frame.

As much as I believe that Tyler Bozak has ben a much-improved player this year, he’s the most obviously “off’ player on this shift. He misses his attempted man three times in mere seconds; too late on his hit on Staal, too late to get into Faulk’s lane (inward or outward), and too late to stop Staal’s rebound. At the same time it’s not one man’s job to shut down three; Morgan Rielly was also slow to react on the last shot.

Since there’s less to talk about tonight, we’re not going to use the traditional headers. However, I don’t think there are any guesses needed as to who tonight’s Blue Warrior is. James Reimer had a fantastic night, even as the Canes turned it on in the third period. Stopping 40 of 41 is no small feat, and he’s the absolute last person you can point at for the loss.


Toronto’s next game comes on Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens. To be honest, I’m not sure what the best case scenario for the Leafs is there. Nobody should want the Habs to tank hard enough to get a blue chip prospect in a few months, so it would be nice if they hurried up with the firing of Michel Therrien and began to rebound. At the same time, seeing the Habs win, keeping his job temporarily safe, followed by more losses, a fire sale, and Carey Price carrying a corpse of a team through March and April to avoid the bottom would be hilarious.

I don’t know. All I know is the last time that Therrien’s job was on the line and he lost to the Leafs, he was fired the next morning and his former Penguins went on to win the Stanley Cup. Decisions, decisions.. puck drop for that game comes at 7 PM.

  • STAN

    The Leafs had, at least, half a dozen great opportunities and couldn’t finish. The Leafs poor shooting made Lack look better than he was.

    Reimer was solid again and easily played well enough to get a win, but the Buds can’t find the net. Also, you gotta be worried that as the season drags on the Leafs shots against is getting alarmingly high.

  • Gary Empey

    as babs said, are we surprised the team is struggling to score? look who the players are. bozak is just as defensively-challenged as always. he’s been a floater defensively his whole career and that will never change. he always covers the wrong man and pretends to look busy but in reality, he doesn’t do anything defensively. a pity we got a loser point but at least we didn’t get 2 even though james reimer deserved this win and deserved a much needed shut out. the leafs have now scored 7 goals in his last 9 games in net and he has allowed 3 or less in the last 16 games. he’s having a vezina-worthy year. if only he were healthy the whole year.

  • Gary Empey

    A insomia curing game tonight with Reimer as usual standing on his head. Leaf management should play the heck out of him the rest of the way and see if he can keep it up all year. Obviously they will have to eat 4 million of Bernier’s contract. I don’t know if Reimer is the answer but with even a little more goal scoring this team would be in a playoff position.

    But that isn’t the goal this year as there are just too many good high draft pick hanging from the N.H.L. tree waiting to be picked around June 20th.

    It is indeed hilarious to see the once 9 and 0 Habs who were also 19 and 4 at one point only to become the worst team in the league over the past seven weeks. It looks real good on P.K. and his comrades.

    A lot of Hab fans now can’t remember the last time the Habs won a cup. They are almost like leaf fans now.

  • STAN

    Yesterday was my birthday so I decided to fork over the cash and actually go to probably the one game I will go to this season. Wow. I couldn’t have picked a less exciting game. Reimer was great, but neither team really did much of anything interesting the whole game.

  • Gary Empey

    What another great performance from Reims last night, shame how it turned out in the end but another great game for him…

    As usual his cheerful happy self after the game with not a bad word to sad….always so up beat….

    He looks really on game and focused…..I never doubted that he had it in him and that he now shows a more aggressive side…good for him..

    God willing he can hang on without any other clichés as in injuries and make it to the home stretch unscathed…