Well, Joe Bowen was right about the first period. It was the worst period the Toronto Maple Leafs have played all year.
That was just the start of what was a game to forget for the Leafs. It was 3-0 for the St. Louis Blues at the end of the first period off of goals by David Backes, Jaden Schwartz and Derek Roy. The way the Leafs were playing, they were lucky that they were only down by three. James Reimer might have kept the Leafs only down 3-0, but he was quickly pulled after the third goal in favor of Jonathan Bernier.
Whatever Randy Carlyle said during the first intermission must not have worked because just 29 seconds into the second period, it was 4-0 Blues on a goal from Chris Stewart. Nazem Kadri got the Leafs on the board 1:45 into the second, but that was all the Leafs could muster through the second stanza.
The third period was an odd one for sure. Former Maple Leaf Alexander Steen scored his 22nd goal of the season to make it 5-1 for the Blues, seemingly putting the game away. However, something strange happened with under 10 minutes to go in the third. The Leafs started playing.
Nikolai Kulemin and James van Riemsdyk scored within three minutes of each other to bring the game to 5-3. All of a sudden, there might have been a slight chance for the Leafs to come back. That slight chance became no chance when Backes scored his second of the game into the Leafs empty net with 30 seconds to go, finally sealing it for his team.
This was a game the Leafs could have had. The Blues were not at their best and the goals that Brian Elliot allowed weren’t exactly that hard to stop. If the Leafs could have played some defense in the first, the result could have been different. Dion Phaneuf would have been an asset in this game.
Speaking of Phaneuf, the Leafs will be lucky to have him back Saturday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. As the schedule from hell continues, the Leafs need to rebound after this disappointing showing.