A real gongshow in Florida tonight, as both teams looked very sloppy throughout. The Leafs caught a lot of bad breaks, and got a shaky, if unlucky, performance from James Reimer. A crazy 2nd period left the Leafs with a 2-goal hole to climb out of, and despite closing the gap to 1 in the 3rd, an untimely giveaway by Luke Schenn and yet another gross deflection put the game out of reach with Florida back up by 2. Sloppy play combined with some brutal puck luck left the Leafs pointless after this one.
- The Leafs outplayed the Panthers for most of the game, and finished with 32 shots on the night. Unfortunately, they also ran into a hot goalie in Jose Theodore, who bailed his club out on numerous occasions.
- Mikhail Grabovski had 2 goals and should have had a couple more if not for a few bad bounces.
- Nazem Kadri looks like he’s here to stay this time around – solid play all around, and you start to get that feeling like he could always do something special when he gets the puck. He’s obviously playing with a bit more caution, but once he’s fully confident in his abilities at this level, look out.
- A pretty solid outing from Jonas Gustavsson in relief. Tough break on both goals, as one was a bank-in from behind the net and the other deflected off his own defenseman’s stick.
- After a quick 3-goal burst like the one that put Florida way ahead in the 2nd, it would have been easy for this team to go in the tank. Good to see them battle right down to the end.
- James Reimer gave up 3 goals on 8 shots, and while the first two goals can be chalked up to bad bounces, he probably should have had the first one, and the 3rd one was just a matter of not being solid and set. No worries, we’ve seen him lay an egg once in a while and he’ll bounce back.
- A lot of hate will likely fall on Luke Schenn for the inexplicable rush that he made in the 3rd that led to the last goal. He’s played better of late, but you have to be smarter than that.
- Jake Gardiner did not look strong tonight. His gaffe in the offensive zone led to the breakaway goal from Bill Thomas, less than 20 seconds after Grabovski had tied it.
- The top line looked almost invisible tonight, although they had a few chances. The usual pep just wasn’t there, and when that line’s not clicking, it doesn’t bode well for the Leafs.
- The Leafs missed John-Michael Liles quite a bit tonight. He’s so calm and smart with the puck, you have to think some of the turnovers would have been eliminated by his presence. A veteran presence in one of the league’s youngest locker room is a valuable asset as well.
- The penalty kill was the key element in the 4-minute stretch that broke the game open for Florida. It’s getting a bit old at this point.