Stick A Fork In Them, They’re Done


Once the final puck crossed the line in Columbus, this became a do or die game for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They had no choice. They had to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite cracks at two different goaltenders, they couldn’t get anything into the back of the net, lost 2-0, and are now mathematically eliminated from being able to make the playoffs.

The Rundown

Tampa’s first goal comes from a play that doesn’t involve the glaring positional errors that the Leafs usually show on nights like these.



What is a problem, however, is that they were caught being incredibly passive; with no real attempts to limit Ondrej Palat until the last second, where Carl Gunnarsson swings his stick out, possibly deflecting it (it’s a bit hard to tell).


The second goal comes on the powerplay. Steven Stamkos goes for a shot, it doesn’t hit the net, bounces off the boards, and straight to Palat on the other side. It almost looks like a set play, except for the part where that’s completely unpredictable and involves the best sniper in the world taking an intentionally bad shot.


The last one was totally Reimer’s fault.

Why The Leafs Lost

I think it stings even more that Toronto’s elimination game came from a straight up, honest to god, “it just didn’t go our way” situation. They took twenty eight shots. They had a few good scoring opportunities. James Reimer was very good. There were moments of solid play, The second goal is due to an opportunistic and lucky play after a faceoff. Of all of the games where the Leafs have been dominated, of all of the games where the Leafs have pulled out something magic in the last seconds, this was a painfully generic loss.

With massive importance.  

Blue Warrior

Player wise, I’d probably point to Jake Gardiner; he took 5 shots, made a few solid defensive plays and Looked to be on the right side of the game throughout. But we’ll get sentimental and give it to anybody who entered this game and didn’t feel that it was “over” until it mathematically was.

These last few weeks, whether you expected this team to be a bottom feeder, bubble team, or dominant, have been flat out demoralizing. The Leafs have been absent in so many regards of the game; the scorers have stopped scoring, the defence is even more confusing than ever, and the goaltenders, while certainly not even close to blame-worthy, haven’t been at their best. 

If you stuck through that, hoping that somehow, some way, they’d get into the playoffs kicking and screaming, that’s a commendable amount of optimism. I mean that.

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  • Cam Thornton

    Leaf fans cannot continue to delude themselves. This team is simply not very good. And there is little in the cupboard to give much hope for the future. The salary cap situation is dire.

    Take a close look at their opponent this evening – a team operating on a budget. The Bolts have eight rookies playing significant roles. Two of them are worthy of Calder consideration. Tyler Johnson was undrafted. Ondrej Palat was a 7th round choice.

    Their best player, Stamkos, missed more than half the season. They had the St. Louis distraction. But they are easily in the playoffs and their future is bright. They had the luxury of letting Jonathan Drouin, the second overall pick in the last draft, continue to develop.

    Could you imagine talking about the wealth of young talent Toronto has? Just keep saying Morgan Rielly. Realize he is the only one. Tampa has at least ten top prospects.

    And the Leafs are anchored by the Clarkson contract. I think the Phaneuf contract will be an albatross.

    This is not a good team and the prospects for improving it are bleak.

  • Cam Thornton

    So SAD!!!!! yet so predictable….I said for months now this team was not deserving of a play off season and wasn’t going to make it……Thank God I am not a Leafs Fan…..But I am a Reimer Fan, and once again he was the only one playing and trying to save this teams butt…but again the team let him down….

    I am so looking forward to seeing him in a new place with a whole new outlook on his career…….after all the crap and hateful actions thrown at him and his wife this season is disgusting and sick…Like him or not this whole season was not his fault….and all you Bernier lovers he wouldn’t have done any better, wait and watch next year you’ll see even with Bernier you will not get anywhere further…..Bernier was smart to get out why he could, even he knew this team was a lost cause…


    Poor Reimer always the team player always sticks by this team as they tear him down at every turn…. Luv ya Reims…theres a better world away from here wait and see………..just like every other player whoes been chewed up and spit out by this orgaination goes on to be better and bigger somewhere else…

  • Cam Thornton

    I don’t get all this fire Carlyle talk?

    Do people not see the level of compete on this team is insufficient. The team mailed it in and hardly tries. They are so afraid of getting hit, they shy away from contact and hand over the puck. Where is the defensive back pressure, where is nastiness in digging pucks out of the corner and why are these player having brain lapses, making poor turnover and just making mistakes. This team is the same uncoachable team who wants to score game, make pretty passes and skate forwards but refuse to commit to the defensive team game. Even with Babcock and Bowman could not help this team.

    • The fire Carlyle talk stems from the fact that his systems and tactics do not drive possession or shots on net, he alienated a good asset in Grabovski to the point where the Leafs wasted cap space in buying him out, and finally has zero accountability for the motivation of his players.

      The level of compete on this team only became an issue when the pucks stopped going in at a way above average rate.

      They weren’t really afraid of getting hit as they got hit quite often in their own zone, but when you make a two foot pass to your forward because your defense plays a collapsing tactic, its awfully darn hard to do anything but long passes. Next game you watch, count how often the Leafs have four players below the faceoff dots on defense and how often the other team does that. I made the crack about how you should take a shot every time that happens, but honestly, you’d possibly die.

      This team isn’t uncoachable, unless you think that the guys who went to the Olympics, have played for their countries in juniors and have played at and succeeded at numerous levels professionally are uncoachable. What does that word even mean?

      Here’s the long and the short of it basically. Saturday night, the CBC broadcast was talking about Reimer’s subpar game while making 36 saves on 39 shots (92.3% for Reimer while league average is 91.4%) and the simple question is, why are teams going to get the most shots in history? Some nebulous compete level? No. Its tactics and scheme.

      Let me pose this question. What have you seen Carlyle do that makes you want him to be retained as the coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs?

  • TGT23

    What the 15 games or so have shown is the true colours of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    Some of us were fooled into believing this team was something more than they were when the standings suddenly showed they were in 2nd place with just 20 games left.

    And that was fools gold.

    What we see now is just how much Jonathan Bernier and early-season James Reimer did for this team.

    While it is easy to blame Reimer for the late-season collapse, and he does share some of the blame, it is too easy to make him the main reason.

    This team, ultimately, is what people thought they were. And missing the playoffs *should* be a good thing.

    We should see major sweeping changes.

    The problem?

    We’ve watched this team lose a lot and we’ve seen them make changes and re-tool the roster, and we’ve watched them miss the playoffs again.

    The Maple Leafs have a culture of losing. And I’m not entirely sure how they fix it.


    Had Bernier stayed healthy the team doesn’t lose at least two of the five games in that losing streak and Reimer’s confidence doesn’t get shattered.

    It changes the season entirely if we don’t need to play Reimer for those five. And it might have changed both goalies future.

    Ultimately, I hope Reims goes to Winnipeg. They desperately need a starting goalie and I think he’d like to go home.

    And I hope he does well.

    But, we need to keep the better goalie, and statistically (and talent wise), that is Bernier.

    Reims may be the nicest person on the planet, that doesn’t make him a great goalie. And it doesn’t mean everyone around him aren’t good team-guys just because Reims is the ultimate team guy.

    Enjoy the Jets Nation blog next season.

    • WE’LL SEE !!! Don’t Worry I won’t anymore of my or ypur time posting on this site, except to say”|I TOLD YOU SO”

      Bernier didn’t even play the level of all the other starters have and do on a regular basis, and already went down with 2 majour injuries..he also takes alot of stupid risks which causes losses, he also has not been consistant… be my guest..he has his strenghts but also has his faults as do all goalies…what you don’t seem to say is if you look at all the big name starters this year THEY ALL have had alot of bad losses and inconsistency….

      So to say Reims is not all that……..little do you know…and yes being a great guy doesn’t win games but it does add heart and the real idea of the sport into play….

      You have your thoughts and I mine…whereever he goes it will be far better than anything he has had here….

      GOOD LUCK BERNIER AND LEAF FANS?TEAM your gonna need it..

      PS BLAME RC he couldn’t have put DREW in and saved Reimer from this poor excuse for a team, but again wanted to place another nail in Reims coffin he knew the team wasn’t going anywhere and lwt Reims go down with it….