The Leafs put forth another 40 minute effort tonight in Massachusetts, and as Toronto fans have come to expect, Boston came away with a win. The Bruins put in 2two second period goals on a comedy of errors between the defensive pairing of Dion Phaneuf and Korbinian Holzer, which effectively sealed the Leafs ninth consecutive loss to the Bruins. While there were some positives in the game, it still is not enough as Toronto wants to assert itself as a division power. Games like tonight are not going to get them there.
Thoughts on the game
– The meat-heads continue to play frequently, in spite of the clear liability they present on a near constant basis. Of the two on the line, the one that appears to be the safest is Fraser McLaren, while Colton Orr provided a little bit of energy when asked. They had some offensive zone time and had Boston hemmed up for a grand total of two shifts. The remainder of their ice-time was spent in fire drill mode in front of Ben Scrivens. Maybe there is some secret to deploying these guys with regularity, but this viewer doesn’t see it.
– The penalty killing was perfect again. Boston hardly had a quality chance on any of their man-power advantages, with Toronto quickly clearing the zone and plugging the neutral ice for much of the time short. In defense of Boston, their power play is absolutely atrocious, however it has been bad in the past when facing the Maple Leafs and still managed to torch big blue. One point of contention is the play of Holzer, or the difference in play between even strength and while shorthanded. He is a beast on the penalty kill, yet when at even strength his brain cramps are consistently finding the net.
– It is about the worst kept secret in hockey, but Toronto needs to get more quality size on their roster. This game it was made abundantly clear, seeing as how the only net presence was that of James van Riemsdyk. Phil Kessel played his normal shrinking violet role, and even with less attention from Zdeno Chara, managed to provide little if anything at all. Chara spent more time focusing on the most productive Maple Leaf, the young forward taking Toronto by storm, Nazem Kadri.
– Ending a three game winning streak, Toronto can have a pass for this one. The nine back-to-back games scheduled against a fresh opponent is a bit ridiculous, but all teams have some flaw in their schedule with the compressed season. Altogether, while the result didn’t change, the game was far different than any of the debacles last year. Toronto was in this right until the end, perhaps closer to ending this embarrassing streak sooner than later.
Tonight’s Maddies Mark player of the game is tough, because nobody played particularly well. Based on the “eye” test, Kadri was noticeable almost every time he was on the ice, but especially so with Clarke MacArthur. The combination did score the Buds early goal in the always tough TD Bank Garden, making them tonight’s Maddies Mark players of the game. For more information on how you can provide many “best days ever”, visit www.maddiesmark.org
Next up, the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the ACC for Hockey Night in Canada Saturday at 7PM