Leafs Unable to Weather Hurricanes
After coming up with a lacklustre offensive effort
against the Bruins, the Leafs came out firing, launching 18 shots on Cam Ward, but only scoring one. At 5:44, Matt Frattin scored his 5th goal in 6 games with this one coming off a juicy rebound from a Nazem Kadri shot. The Kadri line (Komarov, Frattin) were dangerous the entire period and it still confounds me how they don’t form the first powerplay unit, as they are the most dangerous offensive unit the Buds have had to offer. Kessel, once again was flying all over the ice, hit the post, but was unable to score. Maybe adding Frattin and Kadri on the powerplay unit will create a goal for Kessel. The first also featured Frazer McLaren’s first fight as a Leaf as he pummelled Kyle Westgarth. Shots after 1 were Leafs 18, and Canes 12.
While the Leafs dominated the first, it was the Canes who dominated the second. After what must have been a pretty interesting first intermission speech by coach Kirk Muller, the Canes stormed out of the gate, outshooting the Leafs 9-0 in the first 5 minutes. They tied the game, courtesy of Jordan Staal’s first goal as a Cane at 1:21 of the period. After Skinner beat Liles to an icing call, the puck was fed in front to a wide open Jordan Staal who made no mistake. Exactly 9 minutes later, at 10:21, while on their first powerplay, the Canes made the Leafs pay, this time it was the other Staal brother, Eric, giving them a 2-1 lead. The Leafs were outshot 20-5 in the period, and were thoroughly beat in every facet of the game; however, the Leafs appeared to have tied the game late in the second as Bozak tipped in a Mike Kostka shot. Unfortunately, the refs said Bozak kicked the puck in. That, to me, was an absolutely terrible call and that’s now the 2nd time in the Leafs last 5 periods that they have had a goal waved off.
The Leafs third period started off attempting to kill a 5-on-3 and suffice to say the only thing it killed was their chance of a victory as Justin Faulk scored 43 seconds into the period to give the Canes a 3-1 lead. Then, at the 9:58 mark, Patrick Dwyer scored the Canes 4th goal, officially putting the game out of reach. It was by far the worst game the Leafs have played and despite putting up a season high 42 shots, they did not really dominate the game. Kessel once again went scoreless, making it 9 straight games without a goal. Last season the longest he went without a goal was 5 games.
James Reimer turned in another solid performance making 35 saves, and despite giving up 4, was the reason the Leafs had a chance to win this game for most of the game. Cam Ward; however, was the Cam Ward of old, making 41 saves and thwarting numerous Leaf chances.
Contain the Staal’s:
Mission failed. The Leafs failed to contain the Staal brother’s and it cost them as they scored 2 goals and changed the tide of the game. The Leafs were unable to do much defensively this game and it cost them.
Shoot the Puck:
Well the Leafs shot the puck, but unfortunately they just kept shooting it low. So while Joe Bowen kept remarking the Leafs being robbed by Ward, we didn’t make it hard on him by shooting it low into his body every time. Shots are one thing, good quality shots are another. This was especially obvious on the powerplay where the Leafs once again failed to muster any offensive zone chances.
- Not sure how long it will take Carlyle to realize the trio of Bozak, JvR, Kessel isn’t getting it done on the pp, and decides to give Kadri and company a well deserved shot.
- The Leafs defense featured 3 players who were AHL regulars last year.
- Leafs are 2nd in the league with giveaways with 81(coincidence that Kessel wears same number?).
- Look for Scrivens to make the start against Washington tomorrow
I leave you with this: