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Canes 4 Leafs 3 - Kessel Scores a Pair

Final - 12.28.2010 1 2 3 Total
Carolina Hurricanes 3 0 1 4
Toronto Maple Leafs 2 1 0 3

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We're all past the playoffs this season right? Right. No sense crying over spilt milk then that the Leafs lost. Check out this sweet Stamkos-esque one timer from Phil Kessel:

Kessel scored a pair and looked dangerous all night. Mikhail Grabovski drew two penalties and scored a goal while also looking pretty dangerous. Side note: his 13 goals would lead the Montreal Canadiens. Thanks Grandpa Cliff.

The downside to tonight was the goaltending. I don't want to harp on Gustavsson; he's only played 62 NHL games and could still be adapting to the game. I'm not sure that's the case but unlike Vesa Toskala I don't think Jonas Gustavsson is an asshole so there's no real reason to pile on.

The first goal against saw Gustavsson deep in his crease which let Jeff Skinner score on a pretty routine shot. On one hand that should be easily coachable, on the other hand Gustavsson (and Giguere) are both playing deep in their crease and have been all season. Cross your fingers that Allaire sorts it out.

Another winnable game slips through the cracks due to sloppy play by the Leafs. Gustavsson let in a softie, Francois Beauchemin & Mike Komisarek left Eric Staal completely uncovered for a tap in goal and John Mitchell skates the puck out of the offensive zone, turns it over, falls down, tries to trip up Eric Staal and takes a penalty without even slowing him down.

If you want people to blame for the loss that's your list. Not the referees. There's no global conspiracy to screw the Leafs. Sometimes calls get missed, sometimes they don't. It all evens out over the season. Good teams win games even when the calls don't go their way; I'd wait to be upset about refereeing until the the Leafs can win games where everything doesn't go their way.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother watching this team but they gave a solid effort tonight and the game was exciting to watch. I don't like moral victories and wouldn't consider this game one anyways, but we can all agree that it was at least fun to watch and the Leafs were in it until the very end. If every game was like this I think we'd be happier as a group of fans. Oh well.