Carter Ashton looked really sad after this. Also, before. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a two goal lead to give us the gift of Nazem Kadri in the shootout at the cost of gaining two points in the standings (Bozak also had a slick move). With the win, the Leafs fall to seventh place, but have two more games played than three of the teams ahead of them. The Leafs brass was reportedly at the Sarnia Sting game tonight, where Galchenyuk put up the team's only goal, assisted by Nail Yakupov. It's going to be an interesting draft.
Your goal by goal breakdown:
- Luke Schenn's blocked shot takes a favorable bounce towards Tyler Bozak, who scoops it behind Brodeur. 1-0 Leafs.
- Jake Gardiner's slap-pass/shot is tipped home by Kadri, and Ryan Hamilton gets his first NHL point with the secondary assist (which was a nice saucer pass along the blue line, rather than a pity point). 2-0 Leafs.
- Mike Komisarek decides to drop his man so that he can go for a mediocre hit that Schenn was already going to lay. In other words, he Komisareked. This time it results in a goal against by Josefsson - with an assist to Poni, of course. 2-1 Devils.
- David "Fourth Rounder" Steckel crashes the net and puts away a rebound. Why isn't he playing 35 minutes a game? 3-1 Leafs.
- Zach Parise shakes off Jake Gardiner and jams home a loose puck by shoving Reimer's foot - and the puck - into the net. Crap, now Parise probably won't sign here.
- Adam Henrique breaks has his 17 game goal-slump busted to tie the game. Liles' inability to clear the screen doesn't help.
- Kovalchuk beats Reimer, Bozak with a nice shootout goal, Parise picks the corner, Connolly sneaks it by Brodeur, Elias goes blocker-low and Reimer stays up (very nice), and Nifty Mittens found a new move in the AHL to ice the win.
Kadri's game winner:
Schenn had a strong game, breaking up an early two-on-one and generally playing well defensively (it's not his fault he's not good enough to drag Komisarek around - and besides, the last guy to drag Komi's useless corpse around the rink needed knee surgery afterwards). Lombardi missed an open net chance in the first, furthering my theory that he was built on an ancient Indian burial ground. I think Reimer had a good game, turning away the second highest shots against and saves for of his career. I will note that Reimer has started looking visibly upset after early goals - a change from his stoic attitude the first season - but maybe that's the toll of a poor season. Crabb had some chances - but then who doesn't in *looks up stats* TWENTY ONE MINUTES AND FORTY THREE SECONDS OF ICE TIME. Parise 22:12. Steckel with 22:51. Kovalchuk 28:20. You know what our top two forwards in icetime have with their top two forwards in icetime? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
The Leafs haven't had more than 20 shots in a game since 28 in Tampa, which was now four games and 245 minutes ago. As the Great One said, "You miss 100% of the shots Phil Kessel doesn't take while he's stapled to the bench in favor of David Steckel's line." Haha, just kidding - Gretzky didn't say anything about coaching. I'm all for this plan - a clear shortcut to the top of the draft - as long as it stops the day before the 2012 preseason opens. Putting Joey Crabb and David Steckel out for overtime is the kind of coaching decision that can get you both a very good pick and a very short tenure.