Real Leafs Postgame: You Don’t Deserve This, Morgan

In what was most likely their last chance to keep pace with the Eastern Conference’s other playoff hopefuls, the Toronto Maple Leafs played a pretty damn poor game on Saturday night, losing 4-2 to the Detroit Red Wings.

According to Sports Club Stats, the Leafs now have a 6.5% chance of making the postseason. That even seems a little generous.

The Rundown

What makes this game most frustrating is that, for once, the Leafs actually got off to a pretty good start. Toronto outplayed and outshot Detroit in the first, taking the lead on a Cody Franson slapper at the 11-minute mark and carrying it into the intermission.

From there it was all downhill. Darren Helm tied the game up while short-handed, Gustav Nyquist scored his 26th of the season just over a minute later, and Helm made it 3-1 before second period was even ten minutes old.

And as tempted as I was to turn the TV off and cry in the shower with a box of cookies, I’m glad I didn’t. It’s hard to watch such a game, but stay with it long enough and Morgan Rielly will make it alright. Look at this pass on Joffrey Lupul’s late second period goal:

Jonathan Bernier, starting for the second game in two nights, played a decent game. His stats suggest differently, allowing four goals on 28 shots and sporting a .857 SV%, but it’s hard to put up good numbers when the team in front of you gives up breakaways and prime shorthanded chances.

Why The Leafs Lost

If you listen to the guys on the CBC broadcast, the Leafs lost because they were unlucky. I don’t know CBC guys, I think the Leafs were just plain bad.

Blue Warrior

Like, wow. Let’s be real – Rielly is the best and is a gem and will save us all. And remember, Brian Burke had him as the top guy in the 2012 Draft. Smart guy, that Brian Burke. 

That assist was Rielly’s only point of the game, but combined with 18:41 in ice time, it was good enough to earn him the second star of the game. Also worthy of some praise is Jake Gardiner, who lead the Leafs in ice time with over 23 minutes and assisted on both Leafs goals. Some would argue that Gardiner should be tonight’s Blue Warrior, but hey, that Rielly pass. Sorry Jake.


  • Phil Kessel got an x-ray on his foot following the game. Because tonight wasn’t going badly enough.
  • Currently sitting 19th overall, the Leafs are within striking distance of a top ten draft pick. That’s pretty cool because in my opinion this is a pretty good draft.
  • This tweet from @D8RLENE is pretty funny.

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  • TGT23

    You can’t miss the playoffs in Toronto by losing eight straight and think it is okay not to fire the coach.

    Burke left Wilson in as coach for too long and he lost his job. Carlyle is Nonis’ Wilson.

    I worry about what this team will look like next year. They need cap space and no one is taking Clarkson or Gleason…

    That could mean Kadri, Kulemin, and one of Franson or Gunnerson gone. Reimer is gone. They can maybe trade Dion but since he’s the only established, good d-man that will kill an already weak D core.

    There was so much hope last season.. Noni’s has killed that with one signing, one buyout, and one trade (Gleason trade).

    Only good thing he has done was get Bernier and that isn’t enough. Maybe Holland, if he pans out.

  • TGT23

    Jonathan Bernier, starting for the second game in two nights, played a decent game. His stats suggest differently, allowing four goals on 28 shots and sporting a .857 SV%, but it’s hard to put up good numbers when the team in front of you gives up breakaways and prime shorthanded chances

    I have to admit this above statement is very bias or your a true Bernier fan…after all he’s lost the last 3 games, he had a better team in front of him not great but better than Reims…..

    Yet all I heard is Reims sucks, all his fault, etc etc,,funny thing he did a better job than Bernier with an even lesser team in front of him….

    Oh well I guess things will never change….

    its okay Reims your real fans know the truth…

    • TGT23

      I wouldn’t say “truth” and your posts ever really go hand in hand.

      Usually it is a lot of rambling about make believe things like how Bernier is a bad team guy only in it for himself when his entire career has shown he puts the team above himself. Or that Reimer is better based on no evidence or stats.

      That said, you have a point that perhaps Reimer was unfairly criticized during his part in the streak. He was far from good but the team was even worse.

      And they haven’t been a lot better since Bernier has returned, but perhaps a little.

      Still, it is unfair to suggest Reimer has played better. Reimer had an .870 save percentage in his five losses, Bernier has an .886 in his three. Reim also has a slightly higher GAA.

      At best you can say they’ve been equally good. I’d settle on equal over the last eight.

      But you are far too lenient on Reimer. For all you talk about people giving Bernier passes you never criticize Reimer.

    • Geeze that’s so strange you’re calling me biased because I can’t remember when I ever said that Reimer sucks and it’s all his fault. Please, go find any tweet or article where I said such a thing and I will gladly eat my words.

  • I could be wrong, but the moments I remember of Gardiner were terrible defensive moments. And yes I love his offensive abilities, but you certainly can’t be a liability defensively. Maybe I am just remembering things wrong? Seems he never finishes checks and is really weak on the puck in the dzone, shying away from contact. I don’t expect him to be gleason, but he certainly can’t be weak on the puck & has to push his opponents off the puck.

    on another note. Loved what the guys on cbc said in the 2nd intermission about how lackadaisical the leafs forwards are when they come back. And when you think about it they play like that all the time, likely just because thats the system. But what they do is they just get back to cover their guy (3rd guy covers 3rd guy in zone). But if they all hustled back, or when they do have 4 there, they have the opportunity add extra pressure on the puck carrier, but instead they just do nothing & leave everyone in 1 on 1 situations. Mistakes are bound to happen.

    The system is broken, I don’t think its as broken as it looks right now. As you could see last season it can be a solid system, but the moment the players aren’t buying in it is a complete disaster & I think thats where we’re at right now unfortunately.

  • TGT23

    BTW, your talk about the draft. Theres a player here playing for the Halifax Mooseheads. Nikolai Ehlers who seems to be going under the radar bigtime. I don’t think he was even expected to be a first round pick before the year, and then he was ranked like top 15 last I checked. He’s 3rd OVERALL in qmjhl points in his rookie year, and hes been playing & learning from Jonathan Drouin. Drouin has really rubbed off on him & he plays a VERY similar style game to Drouin. If the moose make it to the mem cup again watch for him he could be a great pick that could slip in the draft because he only blew up this season. I’m hoping he slips to the leafs & they take a chance on the great Dane!

  • I feel incredibly sad that this is happening again in so little time. I think one lesson in all of this is—don’t hire your friends. Burke brought in Carlyle who clearly doesn’t know how to work with young players and he should have fired Wilson sooner then he did. I honestly feel that Eakins would have been a better fit for the leafs but Burke chose hardheaded Randy instead. Thanks to Carlyle and the player moves that I’m sure he requested in the summer, this team got worse. (Aside from Bernier coming here and possibly Bolland had he stayed healthy) Of course these are pro athletes so you can’t blame it all 100% on the coach but I feel weary thinking about what’s to come if Carlyle stays and continues whispering in Nonis’s ear.

    On a side note—the only good thing that came from that collapse with Wilson was Morgan so there’s always a silver lining even if it sucks right now. Here’s hoping they get someone half as good.

    • I too really worry about Carlyle’s ability to trust and work with younger players – which is why I was initially, at least, keen on Dallas Eakins coming in to inject an overall sense of youthful purpose.

      I can just imagine Kadri, Reilly and Gardiner muttering amongst themselves about how much they hate Carlyle, like a curmudgeonly old teacher in high school.

      • Let’s be fair. As much as Kadri and maybe Gardiner have, at times, found themselves in Carlyle’s dog house, I think Carlyle has done pretty well with the young players.

        Rielly has earned and receives a ton of ice time. I actually think Carlyle has done really well managing Rielly as a first year pro. Gardiner got more ice time than any other Leafs defenceman last night. Kadri bouncing between the 2nd/3rd line as a 23 year old isn’t unimaginable – if he was being scratched then maybe we talk about severe mismanagement.

        And it’s not like Carlyle doesn’t ride the hell out of Kessel and JVR. Let’s remember, as experienced as they are, they’re both still young. JVR is only a year older than Kadri/Gardiner.