It feels like summer's already here, because the reruns have already started: the Leafs pulled out a yawner of a performance against a team from the south east on a Tuesday night. A couple people mentioned on twitter, but there wasn't anything to get excited about. Ward played well, but the Leafs didn't exactly apply a shocking amount of pressure. The defense was lax, but the goaltending was worse. The highlight of this game was watching Rynnas stand in the crease while Carolina took their foot off the gas and coast to a win. I don't think I've ever sympathized with the ACC's "boo birds," but tonight was a compelling case.
Chris Johnson (@reporterchris) pointed out that the Leafs haven't won at home since February 6th. Chemmy added that the Leafs have won just one game against a then-playoff opponent since February 6, and Mirtle noted that on that date, the Leafs were just two points from fourth in the conference, four from the division lead. The Islanders' win over the Penguins has tied them with the Leafs' with 75 points in 76 games, but the Buds are losing the tank skirmish with 29 Regular or overtime wins (ROW) to the Isles' 25. With this loss, the Leafs have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, for the 8th consecutive year.
Your goal by goal breakdown:
- Backhand from Jokinen deflects off Franson's stick and goes by Gustavsson's questionable VHS. This is a recording. Oh, and I'd guess it also means Franson gets banished to the press box for another billion years.
- Tim "The Sniper" Brent puts one over the short side shoulder of Gustavsson, which bounces off the inside vertical post and out. It's unclear whether that "thud" was from the post, or from Jonas hitting the free agent market.
- Jay Harrison puts a harmless shot on Gus, who's too deep and gets the *far* side shoulder corner picked. This turned out to be Gustavsson's best play of the game, as it got him pulled.
- Good news: Steckel was down to 14:17 of ice time. Also, the Leafs generated 30 shots on goal - the Leafs' highest since March 3rd against the Habs - the second game of Carlyle's tenure.
Bring in the Bus: Some thoughts on the Leaf prospect's NHL debut:
- It was fun to see Jussi Rynnas (pronounced "Juicy Roo-nas") after watching his 7 GA pre-season debut a year and a half ago. I think he looked stronger positionally, which was a huge problem for him in that pre-season game. I think his wide, wide stance is particularly distinctive, and while it tends to limit mobility, he (like all our goaltenders) seems to play a little deep, which should help make up for it.
- He wasn't tested much, seeing and saving just 10 shots (one more save than Gustavsson had), but Rynnas made a great save on the 'Canes PK that came from the umbrella man, then to the half boards, then across the rink to a quick shot (around 9:00 played in the 3rd).
- Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild has mentioned it, and Rynnas looks quite good at shutting down the bottom of the ice. In the NHL nowadays, that's more of a "meets acceptable minimums", but between a large, fast butterfly and good use of the paddle down, he did a nice job of sealing the ice tonight. With that big chest protector and ability to really seal the ice, he's reminiscent of Giguere (40 minute sample size be damned), and despite a less-than-stellar season in the AHL, I'd like to re-sign him for another year at least.
- It was funny to see the rookie nerves come out - Rynnas was protecting the net from the wraparound even when the Leafs had solid possession of the puck behind the net.