Well, that wasn’t the best game to watch. Leafs lose 4-2 to the Washington Capitals. Let’s be honest, this is all on the penalty kill. There is no way around it. They allowed 4 goals, not only was that the final score, but 4 powerplay goals given up is bad in general. Something NEEDS to change with the PK. Whichever one of Scott Gordon or Greg Cronin or Rob Zettler controls the PK, sit them (along with the players) in a room, tie them to a chair and force them to watch good penalty killing teams/formations until they realize how to actually coach. Or, as one of my friends (who doesn’t watch hockey at all) suggests “Score one goal, then stack players in the net. It’s fool proof!” Then again, he may have been a little “under the influence” but any suggestions are welcome!
Anyways, let’s get into the “meat and potatoes” of the article:
- I feel like I need to just create a generic The Good for Jake Gardiner. He’s just been so good this year, and tonight was no different. He’s been good defensively all year. He’s been a good puck-mover. He’s made smart choices on the powerplay. It was another Gardiner game tonight for the rookie blueliner.
- I really feel for Nikolai Kulemin. He came into this year with such high expectations. Not only from the media, but from the team and himself. Tonight, he had a very good game and almost tipped in Cody Franson’s goal. He just needs ONE goal to get it going, I think. He’s been good elsewhere on the ice during his prolonged slump, so it’s not like he’s been completely useless.
- The “MacGrabomin” line got reunited tonight, and Mikhail Grabovski couldn’t be happier. He just seemed out of place without MacArthur and Kulemin. Tonight he looked like he was back to his old self even though he didn’t record a point.
- Other than Armstrong, the Leafs got Clarke MacArthur back tonight. He hasn’t had a great year this year, he does have 9 goals but as Paul Hendrick would say “he only has 3 apples”. He, like Grabovski, greatly benefited from being back with his line mates from last year. Let’s hope these 3 can get it going again.
- Dion Phaneuf has really turned into an all-around defenseman. He used to be known for goals and big hits. He was never really great defensively despite his big hits. Tonight, he showed off his improved defensive ability by virtually shutting down Alex Ovechkin. Dion was all over Ovechkin all night long. It reminded me of how Chara shuts down Kessel.
- Hey, Phil Kessel scored again. That’s always good.
- This is the most obvious one of the season, the Penalty Kill is THE reason the Leafs lost tonight. Yes, there were some sketchy calls but you cannot, under any circumstances, give up 4 powerplay goals. 3 of them to the same guy. Who also happens to be a defenseman. Greaaaaat.
- He’s back on here for the second game in a row, James Reimer. He just doesn’t look the same out there. He made some nice saves, and almost stopped one of the powerplay goals but he also should have stopped a couple of the goals. If the Leafs want to make the playoffs this year, Reimer needs to get back on track.
- I’m usually one of Joey Crabb’s biggest supporters, but that penalty in the final couple minutes was a killer. I know it was accidental, but he didn’t have a great game all night. This is why the Honey Badger is needed.
- Just because it was so bad, the Penalty Kill gets another one. I’m sorry for this but it was just SO bad. I still can’t wrap my head around 4 POWERPLAY GOALS. 3 to a defenseman. Gahhhh!
This better not be a reoccurring theme. I don’t mean the 4 powerplay goals allowed. Just the overall bad penalty killing. If they want to make the playoffs, this CAN NOT continue. At all. The nest game is Tuesday at home vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. They need to right the ship and get back on track with a much needed win.