Latest posts by Omar White (see all)
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I would’ve had this up earlier but I just removed my palm from my face. Leafs lose 3-1 to the San Joe Sharks. Bad game to lose. It’s Brian Boyle’s first game with the team who was a signal to management that they want you to make the playoffs. This was going to be Marner’s first game back from injury after missing the last 5 adding a huge offensive boost to an already offensive savvy group. And most importantly, the out of town scoreboard was not pretty to look at. With Boston, Philadelphia, and Florida all winning, a victory tonight would’ve added security to the Leafs position. But no, they lose, and they lose in regulation. To make things worse, it wasn’t as if they were being out played. The leafs lost for the same reason they’ve lost other games: the big letter D and a picket fence.
Looks like Babcock made the right choice having Soshnikov put in the press box as Leivo remained in the game on the fourth line. Another strong game from the young winger despite having limited ice time. On the power play, Nylander just manages to side step a flying hip check from Brent Burns. He passes it over to Leivo who sends the puck over to Auston Matthews for his 31st of the season. Matthews is now 6 goals away from tying the most Phil Kessel ever got in his amount of time with the Leafs as a rookie. JVR and Bozak had one of their best shifts in weeks in the second period. Despite missing a complete open net, that line generated pressure. Amazing what having Marner back can do for you as the magician didn’t look like he missed time at all in this game.
San took take advantage of the many mistakes the Leafs made in this game. Despite starting the game slow, the sharks held off the Leafs until the second period. Like sharks, the team hung around and waited for the Leafs to make a mista- I mean strike, they would wait for their chance to strike. A lot poor pinches and irresponsibility lead to shark’s goals that gave them the W. In the last two minutes of the game, a defensive breakdown has Marleau send the puck to Hertl who scores the game winner. Good on San Jose to take advantage of their opportunities.
Let’s just make this a speed round. Reilly jumps up in the play in the Sharks zone. This leads to a Vlasic scoring chance going the other way as Nylander was caught trying to play the point. Polak also pinches in this game, but on the penalty kill. Marchenko had a poor game with numerous bad passes was stripped of the puck resulting in a Pavelski play to the net. Poor puck recovery and turnovers by the Kadri line lead to Brendan Dillion sending a laser past Andersen. The leafs were hemmed in their zone while they were supposed to be on the power play as well after Karlsson got the puck deep in the zone. Even Matthews had a turnover, which led a shorthanded chance by Boedker. What’s the message here? Defend! Today’s game was nowhere close enough to the level of defensive awareness this team should have.
Usually the disgusting portion of my game reactions are about something in the game that was incredible. Not this time. Gardnier is the most frustrating player ever. That Hertl goal cannot happen. Marleau enters the zone but has three Leafs covering him Marner, Gardnier, and Marchenko. Marner and Marchenko already have Marleau covered, so he is most likely going to pass. And what does Gardnier do? He goes to cover Marleau too, ignoring the fact that a player is most likely going to be in the player after and be open for a pass. Sure, Freddie may have wanted to have that shot but it’s by Hertl who is known to have a wicked shot. The Leafs don’t need a trade, they need the players they have to play more responsibly. If that doesn’t happen, the least the Leafs most likely get out of this game is a point.
What do you think?
How will the Leafs fair in the rest of the road trip? Will the Leafs be able to fix their defensive issues? What did you think of Brian Boyle in the Leafs line-up?