Man, the Leafs can't do anything right. They go on a great run that sets them up for a push for a good playoff spot and then McCabe and Toskala get hurt and the team goes in the tank. Fans suffered through the losing streak but finally came to terms with the push for the top draft pick. And now what do the Leafs do? They win two in a row.
It's not only that the team won last night but how they chose to win that really drives me insane. Not only did they beat the Bruins, a club that could potentially be blamed for the last two playoff misses, but they beat them in the shootout where the Leafs were 7-18 coming into the game and Toskala was 0-7. To top it off, Maurice chose Steen and Kaberle to shoot and while Kaberle missed both showed that Quinn and Maurice should be scorned for only ever using them 5 times in 3 years. On all 5 shots that they have taken they have come close to scoring and have shown more creativity than every shot taken by Poni, Antro, Tucker, Wellwood, and Blake.
Not to mention that they received great goaltending last night. This is exactly what I feared. Toskala, as much as every fan of every other team would like to have us believe, is a very good goalie. The Leafs aren't going to go on some magical run to the playoffs this year with him back but it's infinitely more likely that they will win enough to screw the Leafs out of a shot at the first overall pick.
Oh, and now the Leafs are getting bounces. After two weeks of pucks going in off the opposition's skates or of missed calls or of shots going off the post the Leafs have now had two straight games where luck was the difference. Against Carolina it was White's seeing-eye goal and last night the Bruins hit two posts in the third period.
Anyway, while you contemplate how badly the Leafs are going to screw up this shot at a top draft pick check out what MF37 was thinking last night. Here's my favourite:
- Speaking of dry spells, the Leafs are hardly alone (not that this excuses any incompetence at MLSE) but here are some other clubs that are similar territory, look for these team names to be included alongside 1967 to provide some balance/context:
35+ Years Without a Cup
Los Angeles Kings
St. Louis Blues
New York Islanders
Who was the Leafs' Player of the Game?
Tomas Kaberle (2 assists) (1 vote)
Alex Steen (1 goal and shootout winner) (6 votes)
Vesa Toskala (29 saves on 31 shots) (5 votes)
12 total votes