Leafs Postgame: Frankly Disappointing

Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

This wasn’t a fun one to watch. Not like the last little while, at least. The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered their worst loss in quite some time tonight, falling 5-2 to the New York Rangers at the Air Canada Centre.

The Rundown

The Rangers immediately started swarming around the Leafs goal, right from the opening seconds of the game. It didn’t give you much reason to be optimistic, and six minutes in, initial fears were confirmed when Bready Skjei picked up his second goal of the season. It was a less than stellar play for a lot of Leafs; it made Frank Corrado an early minus, it saw Nazem Kadri lose a board battle, and William Nylander totally picked the wrong person to cover, joining in on Kadri’s coverage of Derek Stepan while leaving Skjei open.

The Leafs did recover a bit, though, when Tyler Bozak took in a pass from Mitch Marner to bury his 11th of the season. It wasn’t a direct, perfect pass from the rookie; rather bouncing off of Kevin Klein on the way, but it was worthwhile karma after generating a scoring chance seconds prior.

That equal footing lasted just four minutes. Pavel Buchnevich, a lower profile rookie in a wave headlined by Toronto kids, put the Rangers back up by kicking the puck up and finishing the last mile with his stick. New York’s scoring stopped for the rest of the period, but continued in the second, as JT Miller fired a shot off of Matt Hunwick’s helmet and into the net to give him 15 on the year.

Zach Hyman gave Toronto one last gasp at home with four minutes to go in the second, stripping away the puck from Adam Clendening and beating Henrik Lundqvist for a shorthanded tally. But, just because following this team can be cruel and unusual, Michael Grabner sealed off the third period by scoring his 20th goal of the season on his own shorthanded breakaway and adding an empty netter a few minutes later.

Blue Warrior

Look, there’s not a lot to feel warrior-y about as far as the game itself goes. I would’ve loved to pump Frank Corrado’s tires, but he looked like a player that hadn’t played an NHL game in months. Toronto’s underlying numbers were good enough, but they also trailed for nearly 50 minutes. None of the Leafs were mindblowing shift in, shift out. So here’s Ray Ferraro telling us how dumb a Roman Polak hit was while Roman is sitting next to him. It’s must-see TV, because both are equally hilarious for their delivery.

See You Next Time

Jake Gardiner described tonight’s game as a “wake-up call” to media, which is probably fair. After all, when you’re flying high no matter how momentum seems to be going, you lose sight of the little things, and, well, get blindsided by a hungry team like the Rangers. Toronto’s next chance to impress comes on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. It’s a home game and you can catch it at 7:00 PM.