It's not as though there there was a shortage of stats folks predicting the downfall of the Leafs, but this 7-game losing streak is still a stunning collapse. I've been doing my best not to get my hopes up that Carlyle will be fired, but it's hard not to think of it, now. Heck, it's hard not to hope for a good draft pick, too.
The fat lady hasn't sung yet on the Leafs' season, but she's getting warmed up. The team sits tied for the first wild card spot with 80 points, but having played two more games than each of Columbus, Detroit, and Washington doesn't bode well. Furthermore, the Leafs having fewer ROW than both of the Blue Jackets and the Wings means Toronto fans are facing long odds of taking in any playoff action this season. Sports Club Stats now has the odds at just over 20%.
The loss to Philadelphia was only the latest in a string of must-win games, where the Leafs looked bad early on, gave up the opening goal, and never took a lead. James van Riemsdyk tied things up for the Leafs just 4 seconds into the second period, a feat that tied a club record for fastest goal to start a period, but the Leafs' penalty killing faltered for the second time in the night just under 11 minutes later to restore the Flyers' lead.
It's kind of refreshing to see the Leafs having out-shot an opponent, but the fact that the team was trailing for most of the game probably goes the furthest towards explaining that. In fact, the Leafs haven't been brutally out-shot in a few recent games (if we forget about the game vs. the Blues) but it's almost always been a matter of score effects.
In the third period, the Leafs had stretches of sustained pressure, but in the end it was a series of defensive lapses that were their downfall. it was actually van Riemsdyk who gave the puck away in the neutral zone to Claude Giroux for the Flyers' third goal and a funny bounce that eluded Phaneuf's glove and Kadri's backchecking that cost them the fourth. Dave Bolland brought the team to within one when he swatted home a Mason Raymond rebound for his first goal since returning from injury.
As usual, it was a night where it was impossible to really blame the Leafs' goaltending. Jonathan Bernier got beat on 4 very good chances, and the Leafs can be happy that the Flyers didn't score more, especially given the two glorious shorthanded chances the Leafs afforded them during a Scott Hartnell penalty with just four minutes left in the contest.
The blame game is going to be crazy this summer.