Jan. 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Colton Orr (28) and New York Rangers left wing Mike Rupp (17) fight during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Midtown Meltdown, Leafs Lose 5-2


 

For the second straight game, the Toronto Maple Leafs blew a two goal lead and ultimately were defeated by the New York Rangers. The score was actually quite generous considering the effort level half the Toronto team put forward. In one of the strangest statistical anomalies, the Leafs scored two goals on their first three shots.  Lost in that stat is the fact that three shots is all that they mustered up through twenty minutes of hockey. Generally speaking, teams that give up forty three shots while only managing sixteen, do not win.  That theory was in jeopardy after one period tonight, but not much longer.

The only player on the ice for the Maple Leafs that deserved better was James Reimer. He wass the only reason this game was within reach through two periods, and his team did its best to make certain he would not be successful. They were slow and uninspired for more than half the game, even talented teams can’t overcome that.

 

Thoughts about the game;

-  The Phil Kessel disappearing act is now at five games and counting. Leaf fans should prepare themselves for several more games, as his level of conditioning during the lockout is becoming more and more apparent. He looks like a more skilled version of Jason Blake right now.

-  It is frightening to think as a fan you have more confidence in a line consisting of Colton Orr, Jay McClement, and Mike Brown than you do the Kessel, Bozak, MacArthur group. Kessel has always been a defensive liability, but evidently him being on the Dustin Penner fitness plan has magnified this.

-  Have to give credit where credit is due, Mike Komisarek looked good tonight. He actually has each time he has played this season, but with the amount of abuse the guy normally takes for each mistake, it only seems fair to point out that he has played well.

-  Credit where credit is due part two, saw the Leafs penalty killing having a perfect night.  It was hard to tell whether or not this was due to the Rangers power play being completely helpless, or Toronto tightening up. Either way, good job.

-  In a new tradition I will be starting in my post game write ups - The Maddies Mark player of the game, dedicated in the memory of a little girl that was taken way too soon. Tonight it would have to be Marian Gaborik of the Rangers with four points (2G, 2A), including a beautiful tip off a Mark Staal shot that ended up being the game winner. For more on how you can contribute to Maddies memory, visit www.maddiesmark.org/

-  Have to say, given that Patrick Burke is working for a team in the Atlantic Division, it’s quite surprising that he would not address the crowd at Madison Square Garden with his you can play initiative. During a certain part of the game, a spectator that had clearly indulged in some spirits, started doing some form of dancing in an aisle way, prompting the crowd to cheer and chant for “homo-Larry”.  When I asked the gentlemen next to me, he assured me that this is a regular tradition inside MSG. Hardly seems like a good one.

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  • Tim Bayer

    Attributing Kessel’s lack of production to poor conditioning is ridiculous in my opinion. He’s played over 20 minutes every game except in Montreal, when he played 17. He leads the entire league in shots. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s played very well. The shots just aren’t going in. He may have looked lousy last night, but you could say that about anybody in a Leafs jersey.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kurtis.friesen.18 Kurtis Friesen

      As far as Kessel goes, he’s just not playing confident. He may lead the league in shots and get good ice time, but that only tells half the story.
      Last year was by far the best Kessel we’ve seen. He drove the net, back-checked hard and not only used his shot to score, but to lure multiple defenders to cheat his way, then dishing off to Lupul or Bozak for an easy goal.
      In fairness, he isn’t playing bad, and I don’t think he’s under-conditioned, I just think he is lacking half the confidence he had last year.
      When he finally does score, the rest of his game will fill its way in..

    • http://www.facebook.com/kurtis.friesen.18 Kurtis Friesen

      And most of his shots are being taken from the outside.. he’s shying away from driving to the net or getting a better angle. It seems like he’s just shooting and hoping to get that monkey off his back.