Digging A Hole: Maple Leafs Loss To Montreal Unacceptable

January 22nd, 2012 2 Comments

Heading into Saturday nights tilt against the Montreal Canadiens the Toronto Maple Leafs had lost three of their past four games, including two losses at Home. The Maple Leafs continued their downward trend, losing 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens and losing valuable points in their pursuit of a playoff spot.

In season’s past a 3-1 loss to the Habs might have been acceptable, but not this season, not when the Habs are struggling, not with the Maple Leafs talking playoffs.

When you look back at Saturday night’s game you’ll be hard pressed to find excuses for the Blue and White. Even though Toronto got off to a decent start, they failed to skate for much of the first and second period’s, were guilty of taking the Canadiens (who had played the night before) too lightly and they failed to develop any physical game against one of the smallest teams in the NHL.

With nine of twelve games at Home in December, the Maple Leafs were supposed to be able to bank points, instead, the Maple Leafs failed to earn any points saturday, while Winnipeg and Florida (who faced each other last night) each gained points in a well fought 3-3 shootout match that was full of hits, pretty goals and—get this—EFFORT.

As a result, the Maple Leafs sit ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, while Winnipeg now sits one point back of the Buds, while Florida increased their lead to three points on the Leafs, bumping the Panthers from eighth to third in the East.

Sure, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price played well, making 32 of 33 saves, but he was hardly dominating. Truth be told, many of Toronto’s shots came from the perimeter, which allowed Price to make a number of easy saves.

Don’t get me wrong, the Maple Leafs made Price make some big saves, especially early on in the contest, but Toronto lacked a sense of urgency against the Habs, which allowed Montreal to enter the third period tied 1-1 against Toronto on the merits of Rene Bourque, who notched his first goal as a Hab since being traded from the Calgary Flames.

Simply put, Toronto allowed a desperate team to hang around too long. So, with the Habs and Buds tied 1-1 heading into the third, the Habs took it to Toronto when Raphael Diaz scored the eventual winning goal at 3:29 of the third period, beating Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson with a screen shot from the half boards.

Montreal forward Lars Eller would put the final nail in the Maple Leafs’ coffin when he notched his tenth goal of the season at 11:25 of the third period, giving the Habs a 3-1 lead, which is how the game would finish.

On the positive side, the Maple Leafs killed off three penalties last night, keeping them flawless on the Penalty Kill in January. Phil Kessel fired seven shots on goal, while Matthew Lombardi’s play looks to be rounding out.
The Maple Leafs will have Sunday off before heading to New York to take on the Islanders in back-to-back matches Monday and Tuesday.

The Islanders, 19-21-6 on the season, have been hot of late going 6-4-0 in their past ten, including three straight wins over the Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively.

OF NOTE: 19 of the Maple Leafs next 35 games will be played on the Road…

Until next time,

Peace!

2 Comments

  1. trade luke schenn hes your problem and not near aggressive enough in front of torontos goal tender he still plays like a minor DUMP HIM BEFORE ITS TO LATE .

  2. Jake says:

    No surprise the word is out on Kessel if you check him early he dissappears , the Grabovski line just isn’t scoring and the team just plain lacks toughness . They were out played physically by a team that is far from a physical team .

    Price looked great but that is normal for any goalie playing against the Leafs since they take way too many low percentage shots . That is mostly because holding the puck to make a play has a price to pay physically and the Leafs forwards are not getting the job done again no surprise but on a lot of plays you’ll see the bigger D men down low in the offensive zone to compensate for the forwards lack of size . This leaves the team at risk defensively .
    Burke has to make changes NOW and he can start with Kessel the weakest link defensively and physically .Talk is that Burke will more likely get jason Blake back to play with Kessel then between the two of them they would have a pair , if you get what I mean .

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