There is one statistic from last night's game that should tell you almost all you need to know about the Leafs' performance: James Reimer stopped 43 out of 47 shots against. A goalie shouldn't have to have a .915 Sv% in a game to keep it at 4-0. Having said that, the night's most important storyline was probably the loss of Dave Bolland, who was cut on the back of his leg by a skate. He'll likely be out a long time:
"He suffered a cut similar to the Karlsson injury", Carlyle said of the play."I don't know the severity or which tendon, but he did suffer a cut into that area."
It's a good thing the Leafs' organization is so deep at center, because really, they can really afford to lose a guy like Dave Bolland for an extended period. No need for a guy like Mikhail Grabovski. No Joe Colborne? No worries!
With regards to the shots, It's true that the Leafs took a lot of penaltes (and that some of those were a bit soft), but 1) the Leafs need to be smarter about staying out of the box (Phil Kessel shouldn't be fighting) and 2) there is just really no excuse for allowing that number of shots, penalties be damned. Reimer was absolutely, inarguably, hung out to dry on this one, and if Carlyle starts Jonathan Bernier in the next game, there is no justice in his system.
In his post-game press conference, Carlyle stated that last night was probably the team's worst-ever performance this season, but I'm not convinced. I'd say that the game against Calgary was at least as bad - Calgary just happened to get terrible goaltending. Last night's contest was reminiscent of the loss to Chicago in that it looked like the Canucks were just toying with the Leafs throughout the entire game.
A few notes on a few individual players:
Nazem Kadri did not look great last night. He had a lot of trouble finding his wingers with even the most basic passes, if and when he tried something simple. In fact, that line needs to stop the cross-crease passes for a little while and just rip some pucks at the net. At least Kessel still managed 5 shots. Kadri got buried last night in terms of Corsi.
David Clarkson takes too many penalties. Maybe he's trying too hard to be physical, maybe he's trying to hard to fit in, maybe he's trying to hard to earn his ridiculous paycheque, but the bottom line is that he's got to stay out of the box, because he took another two minor penalties last night, and was in the box for a total of 12 minutes. On the bright side, he was one of a few Leafs to come out with a positive Corsi number last night, and the drew three penalties. He was also the only Leafs besides Kessel to get more than two shots - 3. Clarkson certainly wasn't the Leafs' biggest problem last night.
It was great to see Nikolai Kulemin back in action last night. He didn't turn a lot of heads, but he looked like he was close to his old self: making strong plays along the boards (something the Leafs desperately need more of from other players) and being a truck in every collision. OK, so his Corsi numbers look awful from last night. I'll give him a few games to find his legs.
Jay McClement was his usual, dependable self last night, stepping up when Bolland went down. He's likely to see a lot more ice in the coming weeks, as he is now the Leafs' number 2 centre.