The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1 tonight. In a game that was as 'must-win' as any so far this season, the Leafs came out as flat as ever, and absolutely hung James Reimer out to dry. The Canes had eight power plays, including a 5-on-3 with just a couple minutes left in the game where the Caps scored their final goal. They might as well have been putting a nail (though certainly not the last one) in the coffin of this Leafs' season.
Jake Gardiner was scratched, and Mark Fraser was in, but that really doesn't excuse all the other players involved in this clustercuss. You'd be hard-pressed to think of players who weren't awful, with the possible exception of the Joffrey Lupul, Nazem Kadri, and Mason Raymond line, which had a few really good shifts that hemmed the Canes in their own zone. Naturally, it was that line that scored the Leafs' lone goal with each player in the trio getting a point.
Adding to Leafs' fans collective misery is the fact the John-Michael Liles had a great game. Not only do his possession numbers look good, he scored a goal and was a +2 on the night. To counter, Tim Gleason looked totally lost on the Leafs' first goal against, and had the dumb penalty at the end. Oh yeah, and his possession numbers were among the worst on the team.
What else do you say? The Leafs were undisciplined, out-shot, out-chanced, and though they out-hit the Canes 40-13, that just goes to show how often they chased the puck.
So Carolina leapfrogged the Leafs in the standings, and pushed them out of the new playoff format on the basis of the number of games played and ROWs. Then, Washington beat Tampa Bay to push the Leafs down another rung in the standings. The Leafs are now in a 3-game losing skid and they play the Caps tomorrow night. Maybe they can undo some of tonight's damage?