That whole “losing” thing has plagued the Leafs when they’ve been in no shape to make the playoffs. Every time they’ve had the opportunity to bottom out, they’ve won games, missing out on the talent they really have needed in the process.
With that all in mind, it really felt like the Leafiest thing could begin to happen tonight – sell off two useful players and start winning, playing spoiler to a team competing for that final playoff spot.
(Un)fortunately, the team they were facing had David Bolland…..who got one point, but more importantly competed real good and I think that is what ultimately won Florida the game.
Those inklings of Fighting The Tank rang true four minutes into the game, with Tyler Bozak scoring off the post on the powerplay. The puck movement on this goal is great, with JVR one-touching it to Bozak who was set up in the slot.
The game was relatively back and forth (and kind of boring, to be honest) for most of the first, with Florida outshooting Toronto 7-6. Both goalies were solid in this period and all game long.
After all the back and forth, Jussi Jokinen (and no I am not going to make a Jokinen joke here, just know the right Jokinen scored for the Leafs) responded on a Panthers powerplay with less than a minute to go.
Jokinen finds a soft spot in the slot, making this an easy goal. I don’t know what the hell any of the Leafs are doing here.
In the second, Florida started to take this game over. First, Bjugstad adds another powerplay goal off of a beautiful play by Fleischmann to get around a sprawling Winnik and Robidas.
Then, former Leafs pick Jimmy Hayes (who was traded for the pick that became Brad Ross, who is not even in the AHL anymore), scored his 17th goal of the season.
Florida would keep their lead for almost the entire rest of the game, with the Leafs never really mounting any pressure or attack. That is, until they pulled the goalie and had a powerplay with a minute left.
Oh Phil. I’m going to miss you. And what a pass by Kadri.
Despite Phil’s effort, the Leafs wouldn’t be able to add another, even with the impressive push in the last minute.
The tank rolls on.
– Rielly played 25:27, a career-high. I think we are going to see this a lot now that Franson is gone. And that’s good. Play him a ton.
– Kadri managed to get two assists tonight. He was really strong in all aspects of the game. Quite liked him with Winnik and Panik even though there is no finish on that line at all.
– Stephane Robidas is bad.
See You Friday
The Leafs play the Hurricanes on Friday, which is the biggest game of the season for the Tank. Carolina is 4 points behind the Leafs with 2 games in hand. A loss would put the Leafs only 2 points ahead, and the Hurricanes would still have 2 games in hand. It’s on at 7.