It’s fitting for a Halloween night game – a scary display of offensive ineptitude, defensive lapses, and ugly goaltending. The Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t do much right tonight in a 4-0 shutout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. But hey, at least they kept Phil Kessel off the scoreboard. Small victories?
Sometimes, lopsided wins are fun to watch. Other times, it’s boring as hell. Tonight’s festivities leaned more towards the latter, with the Penguins’ four goals being rather unremarkable. The least we could have gotten was a Sidney Crosby or Phil Kessel highlight reel snipe, but Crosby didn’t even manage to put a single shot on net and Kessel only managed one.
Instead, it was a game of flukey bounces and bad goals. Chris Kunitz got the first one midway through the first period after a David Perron shot trickled through the legs of Jonathan Bernier and sat on the goal line for a few moments before being poked in.
Two more goals came in the second period when Eric Fehr and Matt Cullen somehow turned a two-on-two shorthanded rush into a goal. Even when Daniel Winnik caught up to the play, Fehr still managed to pick up a weak shot rebound and put the puck up and over a sprawling Bernier. A few minutes later, those two would team up again, with Cullen stealing a puck off Martin Marincin at the Pittsburgh blue line, racing down the wing and letting loose a very Kessel-esque shot that again found the back of the net.
Hornqvist would close things out early in the third period with a strange goal that saw the puck bounce off the end boards on a Pittsburgh dump. To be fair to Bernier, this was unlucky – the puck came back out into the slot, through the goaltender’s legs, and right onto the stick of Hornqvist. Quick snap, and it’s 4-0.
Starting to think Bernier might not win the Vezina this year pic.twitter.com/FgIES5Duai
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) November 1, 2015
Nazem Kadri will get it by default. Kadri finished the game without a minus rating and lead all forwards in ice time and shots on goal with four. I wouldn’t exactly call this one of Kadri’s stronger games, but that’s just how bad the rest of the team looked tonight.
Monday’s Star-Studded Affair
Three games in four nights certainly make up for all of the five-day and six-day breaks earlier this season. Toronto is back at it on Monday night when they host the Dallas Stars at the ACC. Tune into Sportsnet Ontario at 7:30 pm. Bobby Cappucino and I will be there live – look for us on TV! We’ll be the ones crying.