The Leafs' depth chart at center against the San Jose Sharks was Tyler Bozak, Trevor Smith, Leo Komarov, and Sam Carrick. They lost.
Tomas Hertl opened the goal scoring - the Leafs lasted seven whole minutes. Logan Couture with a power play goal. Nice spin move, to get space and keep the puck in close (the Sharks had a really time getting low and open all night). Jake Gardiner scored a goal, in what might be the Leafs' grittiest, team-iest goal in a long time: Kozun was effective on the forecheck, Komarov shoveled a great pass to Gardiner, and Panik had a great screen. Karlsson scores by waltzing to the front of the Leafs net and waiting to receive some leadership from Joe Thornton. Gardiner dropped him, Phaneuf didn't pick him up, and it's a baaaad deal. Talented hockey player and former BU Terrier Matt Nieto put a shot on net, and it became the fourth and final Sharks goal after it was deflected into the net by a mass of Brewer and Wingels.
It should come as no surprise that the Leafs were wholly outclassed in this competition. I thought Panik looked good, except for a dumb boarding penalty he took. Sam Carrick, despite being talked up on the pre-game show, laid an ineffective check on Thornton, took a dumb boarding penalty, and didn't contribute much else on the evening.
Horachek was apparently unhappy that his very bad hockey team played up to their capabilities.
Peter Horachek noticeably perturbed by Leafs effort: "It was like a pro team playing a non-pro team."— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) March 20, 2015
Horchek's been working some magic with the Leafs' possession numbers (possibly by conducting some sort of ritual involving their PDO), but could you imagine how much effort it would take for the Leafs' centers to perform well against the Sharks' lineup?
The Leafs did well to lose against a good team - they really needed to not get these two points - but Saturday's matchup will be much tougher, as it's not in the Leafs' nature to lose to the Ottawa Senators. I'm not entirely sure what Horachek will do, but with any luck, the Leafs will continue to put distance between themselves and the Hurricanes - who knows, maybe they'll even start nipping at Edmonton's heels.