Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, during the Greatest Tank Battles Awards Ceremony. (Photo by Abelimages / Getty Images for NHL)
74 down, 8 to go. With tonight's loss to the Islanders, the Leafs sit in 6th place (from the bottom) with 72 points, and have one more game played than every team ahead of them. There's not much to say. The team looked deflated, flat footed, and, in a word, bad.
The New York Islanders held the Leafs to just 13 shots on goal, which ties Monday's performance against the Bruins. There were an appalling number of 2-on-1s that came down against Reimer, and the defensive strategy seemed to be "drop to the ice and pray." Your goal-by-goal breakdown after the jump.
Maybe it's the pessimist in me, but yet again the game carried a foreboding "they'll blow it"
- Bozak with a nice pass, Kessel beats a sprawling Nabokov, and the puck is in, out, and reviewed as a good goal. 1-0 Leafs.
- Tim Connolly and Joey Crabb pick a lousy time to go for a line change, as the Islanders have comfortable possession of the puck in the neutral zone. Gardiner steps up as the Isles try to break in, and Luke Schenn gets stranded defending a 2-on-1, which quickly becomes a textbook 2-on-1 goal. (If you missed it the first time, enjoy Justin Bourne's relevant Systems Analyst piece, then re-watch the goal.) 1-1.
- Lombardi walks the puck out low from behind the net, and his backhand makes it through Nabokov's paddle-down. 2-1 Leafs.
- Komisarek bobbles the puck, in the defensive zone, and turns it over, Liles with a big ol' swing and a miss as he goes down to block the pass, and the puck is tipped in. It's a great pass by Grabner - man, could you imagine how much it would suck to lose him on waivers? 2-2.
- Frattin off for delay of game. Gunnar goes low, and Steckel fails to pick up Moulson who's low on the strong side of the net. This gets worse when Reimer loses sight of the puck in VHS (though it's not a terrible save selection here), and Moulson lays a very nice sharp angle shot. 3-2 Islanders.
- The fourth goal against is a little odd. Kessel has the puck on the half-boards, Dion pinches into the slot, and Kessel either tries to feed it to the point or loses the puck. Gardiner is going the wrong way, and it's a breakaway for Parenteau, and Reimer lets in a slow five hole goal. Breakaways are never the goalie's fault, but as he looked to the rafters, you could tell Reimer wanted that one back. 4-2 Islanders.
- Empty netter. Everyone go home.
David Steckel led all forwards with 19:11 TOI. He, Crabb, Connolly, Gunnarsson, and Phaneuf were matched up against Tavares, who played 22:04 and came away with 3 assists. This lineup against Tavares plainly and simply did not work, and for a team with the defensive prowess of the New York Islanders, it's a little confusing that Carlyle didn't roll a little more (or any, really) power versus power.