Colby Armstrong might have said it best after the Leafs’ first regulation loss, a frustrating contest that saw the New York Rangers block 30 shots over the course of the night. “I think that’s the first time we didn’t play the way we really wanted to play. I think we’re a pretty fast team, and at times we were looking a step behind or not winning our battles. … We had our spurts here and there, the last 10 minutes of the third I thought we came on pretty hard, but it was just a little too late.”
Toronto wasn’t able to get off to a quick start like they have in the past few games, and a couple of quick first-period goals from Artem Anisimov and Ruslan Fedotenko turned out to be all the offense Marty Biron needed to win his first start in a Ranger uniform. While the first goal probably should have been avoided, Jonas Gustavsson turned in another solid effort in his second start, turning aside 30 shots over the course of the night, and keeping a lackluster Leafs team in the game til the very end.
Armstrong got his first goal of the year by crashing the net and slapping home a rebound off Clarke MacArthur’s try. That goal finally put some spark into the Buds’ bench, and the last ten minutes looked alot more like the Leafs we’ve seen earlier in the young season. Still, the Leafs managed just 6 shots on net in the final frame, as the Rangers seemed to always get a stick or a leg in the path of every attempted drive. Michael Del Zotto led the way with 7 blocked shots, playing in front of his friends and family, while Dan Girardi (6 blocks) and Michael Roszival (5 blocs) were close behind.
The most troubling part of the loss was the fact that the Leafs were held to a single goal for the second straight game, while players like Kris Versteeg, who failed to convert his 2nd breakaway in as many games, remained snake-bitten. Tyler Bozak got some pine time in the 3rd, as Ron Wilson juggled the lines in an attempt to get some life, and finished the period with just 2:09 played, and finished the game with less total ice time than Tim Brent. Should be interesting to see whether or not Wilson makes any changes heading into tomorrow night’s game at the Wachovia Center in Philly.
Props to Colton Orr, who hadn’t fought since getting dropped by Deryk Engelland in Pittsburgh. There’s not many fights where Orr gives up inches and pounds to an opponent like he did last night to 6’8, 257-pound Derek Boogaard. Orr was smart to get his gloves off quicker and jump into the fight before Boogaard could square up, and managed to wrestle the Boogie Man down before having his skull caved in with one of those massive rights.
Topics: Artem Anisimov, Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Colton Orr, Dan Girardi, Derek Boogard, Jonas Gustavsson, Kris Versteeg, Martin Biron, Michael Del Zotto, Michael Roszival, New York Rangers, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tim Brent, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Bozak