Just a note to those of you not in on the joke. When the Leafs are behind, oftentimes you’ll see our Twitter account retweet something like this:
I knew Reimer should of been in net
— olivia trivisonno (@livtriv) January 5, 2014
@Ryguy6610 I feel so bad for bernier, Randy should of pulled him after the third goal…
— Cody (@Codizel55) January 5, 2014
Wtf. They should of pulled bernier after the 4th goal
— Aj Qurashi (@CRAZYAjQue) January 5, 2014
To all the grammar freaks out there, we’re aware that the correct word in the situation is “should have” and not “should of“. But that’s why we do it. The grammar irregularity serves as a way of highlighting the absurd. Sure, I could James Reimer could of started tonight, and maybe Tim Gleason should of been in the lineup. Also if Clarke MacArthur would of stayed with the Leafs maybe they wouldn’t be struggling for scoring as much as they are this season.
I feel the need to explain our editorial use of “should of” because how else would you tee up this loss? Toronto dropped a game to the New York Rangers, a team that was chasing them in the standings, 7-1, and it could have been 8-1 if not for a goal waived off to goaltender interference in the dying seconds.
I’m not sure if I’ve used this clip before:
The New York Rangers scored early (Carl Hagelin tipped a puck in past Jonathan Bernier just 7 minutes into the game) and often (seven times) and Bernier was chased for the first time on the season. Despite the scoreline, there was a point in the second period when the Leafs were getting massively out-shot, but still looked like they had a chance because Bernier made a few big stops off key chances. The problem was that Cam Talbot was equal to the task on the other end, and little by little, the Leafs lifeline drained away.
Toronto can’t win games unless their goalie steals one (despite losing for 53:07 of the game, they still got out-shot 50-26) and this is what happens when the goalie has an off-night.
WHY THE LEAFS LOST
Well, because that’s sort of their thing.
The worst part was that the Rangers were on the second half of a back-to-back, on the road, after getting touched up a night ago by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Talbot got them an early spark, and Toronto was just absolutely flat. Everybody was flat. The fourth line was the only line recovering pucks in deep in the early going, the defence was absolutely immobile, and David Clarkson and Carl Gunnarsson both left in the first period, reducing the roster to 16 skaters. Cody Franson and Jake Gardiner looked absolutely awful, applying no physical pressure as Rangers skaters kept going around them and finding open lanes.
And Jonathan Bernier isn’t totally faultless. Dominic Moore’s first of the night (yes, Dominic Moore scored twice. That’s the hockey equivalent of your mechanic popping the hood of the vehicle and finding a family of hamsters living in your transmission. “Well, THERE’S your problem, Mr. Charron.”) It’s not quite Matt Cullen recording a four-point night as he did earlier in the season, but what the heck is this?
Gardiner won’t win any Norris Trophies, but he’s a very competent defenceman, and he made Dominic Moore look like Rick Nash. Thankfully, Rick Nash looked like Dominic Moore for most of the night, which is probably why the game wasn’t 10-1.
SUM IT UP
Well… not really. You lose by 1, you lose by 6, it still counts as a loss. A six-goal loss is easier to swallow when it comes at the heels of a six-game point streak and three-game winning streak. I think the Leafs may have been owed a night like this.
CBC immediately turning to the Ottawa-Montreal game to show Clarke MacArthur scoring the OT winner didn’t help things. The Senators are very much within striking distance of the Leafs, as are the Rangers, as are Detroit, up 4-1 on Dallas, as are the Philadelphia Flyers, currently tied 3-3 in the third against Phoenix, and as are Carolina, who beat the Islanders. The only out-of-town scoreboard game that broke Toronto’s way was New Jersey losing in Buffalo in regulation.
The night could have gone better. But it’s Saturday night, and there are more important things to worry about. Like Canada getting crushed by Finland at the World junior championship, for instance.