I really liked John Tortorella’s choice to wear a sweater with his suit today. Made him look friendly. Like a professor trying to teach his students, rather than a screaming, yelling coach. It was a good look. A real good look.
A better look than the Toronto Maple Leafs brought for most of the night, by the way. They lost 5-2 in this one. That’s not a very good look.
This one starts off on the wrong foot pretty quickly. Josh Andersen opens the scoring for the Blue Jackets just four minutes in, on a play that was reviewed to see whether the puck crossed the line, which it did, but not for potential goaltender interference, which may have also been there but was never disputed. That’s a bad start, but those can be reversed in the right circumstances.
These weren’t those. Ten six minutes later, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson were allowed to wander towards the front of the net with relative ease, and after Zach Werenski fired the puck from the point, Jenner had tons of room given to him by the first pair to bang a rebound past Curtis McElhinney, who was facing the Blue Jackets for the first time since departing the team via waivers.
The second period didn’t start much better. Oliver Bjorkstrand was afforded an easy break after Leo Komarov abandoned his assignment to finish a check to give Columbus a 3-0 lead, and while the Jackets couldn’t capitalize on their first two powerplays, a slashing call given to Tyler Bozak gave them the extra advantage they needed to finally make the man advantage into a true advantage; Nick Foligno promptly deposited his 20th of the year into the back of the net.
The Leafs started to regain their composure from there, but most of them couldn’t turn that into goals. The exception was Nazem Kadri; he put the Leafs on the scoresheet with an effort in front of the net late in the second period and again with fourteen minutes to go. Alas, nobody else was able to pitch in, and with two minutes remaining, Matt Calvert deposited an empty-netter and put the game out of reach.
Also of concern in this was the loss of Mitch Marner. Marner hurt himself in the second period after running into a rushing Jenner and crashing himself into the boards, and while he started the third period, he was eventually convinced by the trainers to end his night. No update has been given yet, though it appears to be an issue with his arm that’s nagging him.
Why The Leafs Lost
I don’t really want to look too much into this one, to be honest. The first goal should have probably been challenged. The Leafs had their opportunities as the game progressed, and even if you account for score effects, they still closed out better than a typical team trailing against a great team should have. It was the second night of a back to back, after scoring goals, against a team that, while they’ve struggled, came in at fourth overall and left tied for third.
Again, could do without the regulation loss, but anything beyond that was going to be found money tonight.
Nazem Kadri puts the Leafs on the board, 4-1 pic.twitter.com/OvfwnbfRv9
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) February 16, 2017
Nazem Kadri scored both goals, so Nazem Kadri gets the Blue Warrior. Pretty straightforward. Also, he took a rough hit from Brandon Dubinsky early in this one and still kept his cool, which is nice, and had solid possession numbers (58% Corsi, 7th on the team).
See You Next Time
This is one to brush off, but the next one really, really won’t be. They’ll be taking on the Ottawa Senators at home; if they want to solidify a position in the Atlantic Division, they absolutely need to take every available point in this contest. Losing won’t ruin them, but boy, it won’t help. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM on Saturday night.