This is a goal about to happen. - Grant Halverson
The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped a decision to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1.
The Leafs traveled to Carolina last night and traded rushes with the Hurricanes, who were also missing two of their top defensemen in Pitkanen and Gleason. Joe Corvo scored a goal on a great effort by Eric Staal and a poor effort by everyone in the Leafs' zone. Nazem Kadri tipped in a goal thanks to a great shot by Dion Phaneuf. Jussi Jokinen scored on the rush as either Holzer or Komarov knocked the puck out of Scrivens' glove. Skinner led a rush, Ben Scrivens made a big save, but Jordan Staal sealed the game when he got to the rebound uncontested.
Where was the D? The Leafs traded rushes with the Canes and looked terrible coming back in to their own zone. Franson lets a puck get by him, and there's a short handed chance for Carolina. No one cleared the puck on Corvo's goal. The forwards didn't get back on Staal's goal. There were a lot of times when Ben Scrivens was relied on to make the big save, and probably shouldn't have been. Maybe this game inspires the Leafs to swap Holzer for Gardiner. In related news, Mike Kostka led the Leafs in TOI.
Come to think of it, play in the offensive zone wasn't much better. The Leafs got outshot in this game, which is probably a really bad thing when you add the fact that they trailed for just under half the game. Dan Ellis looked good, and the Leafs in general failed to generate scoring chances (Charron has them at 10 to the Canes' 20). Grabovski's minutes were down a little bit, but Kadri's were up.
Scrivens played well, as he made some big saves on tough Canes scoring chances. All NHL goalies get in trouble when the puck is in close, but I think the Leafs need to look at Ben Scrivens' decision making regarding how far he comes out to smother. Does Jokinen's goal happen if Scrivens decides to bat the puck into the corner? He seems to do a short-range dive pretty often, and to my eye, it's not very effective at the NHL level.
Here's your game in six:
All in all, it was an unpleasant game. What'd you think? Next up, the Leafs play a home game against the Ottawa Senators, with this one hosted at the ACC.