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Jets: 5, Maple Leafs: 2 - and it was an ugly one

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The Toronto Maple Leafs lost 5-2 to the Winnipeg Jets, while getting outshot, out goaltended, and generally outplayed.

If Reimer were any more hung out to dry on this goal, there would be a clothespin shoved in his back.
If Reimer were any more hung out to dry on this goal, there would be a clothespin shoved in his back.
Marianne Helm

If you missed last night's game, consider yourself lucky. There wasn't a moral victory, there wasn't an "at least they looked competitive" and there wasn't a compelling reason to watch this game the whole way through. Former Leafs produced like it was a minor league game, and both the Leafs goalies got time in the net. Here's your game in six - the first minute of which is Colton Orr fighting another fighter because momentum. It's immediately followed by the Leafs being scored on.

Watch that PK - it's awful. The Jets move the puck without any issue whatsoever. And the Leafs' PP? Even worse. They failed to convert on two minutes of 5-on-3, largely because the plan was "Dion Phaneuf shoots the puck right into a Winnipeg Jet." Five or six opportunities ended exactly the same way. They did nothing to stretch out the Jets defenders or create opportunities - puck movement wasn't there. Mikhail Grabovski's ice time is down, Tyler Bozak got the first shift for the 5-on-3, and somehow the fourth line got 8 minutes of ice time, though it's clear at least two or three of their shifts were because Randy Carlyle threw in the towel.

Jake Gardiner's agent tweeted "#FreeJakeGardiner" last night, and I'm inclined to agree - not just because Gardiner should be in the NHL, but because Interim Head Coach Randy Carlyle shouldn't be allowed to make his own personnel decisions. He gave the ham-fisted fourth line a shift when the Leafs were down by two goals, which would be fine if they could play hockey. He insists on playing defensemen out of their depth just to facilitate his play-your-shooting-side superstition - at some point, Nonis needs to step in and tell Carlyle to do better with what he has available, and then acquire the preferred personnel in the long run. It's insane that we should put up with AHLers on the top pairing rather than Nonis forcing Carlyle to stomach a Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf pairing for 48 games.

I think it's worth pointing out that these were problems that we could all see existed when the Leafs were winning, as well. The failures of tonight's game have popped up again and again in our discussion of the Leafs' process, and no one who reads these recaps regularly should be surprised that the Leafs' defense lay a giant stinker last night.

The Leafs will continue on with Death March when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins again Thursday night. To make the playoffs, the Leafs' performance will need to improve, as they could be on the outside looking in by as early as next Monday (edit: As Mirtle points out, it could be as early as Saturday night).