Leafs' loss to Bruins the least of their worries | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaLeafs' loss to Bruins the least of their worries

Posted: Sunday, December 8, 2013 | 10:52 PM

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David Clarkson (71) of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets knocked into Chad Johnson (30) by Dennis Seidenberg (44) of the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre Sunday in. (Abelimages/Getty Images) David Clarkson (71) of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets knocked into Chad Johnson (30) by Dennis Seidenberg (44) of the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre Sunday in. (Abelimages/Getty Images)

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The bad news is the Toronto Maple Leafs' mini two-game winning streak has come to an end thanks to the Boston Bruins. But even worse is Toronto's tough upcoming schedule.
The bad news is the Toronto Maple Leafs' mini two-game winning streak has come to an end.

The Boston Bruins took care of that by handing the Maple Leafs a 5-2 defeat on a rare Sunday night home game in Toronto.

The worse news is now the Maple Leafs hit a real tough portion of their schedule with games against Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

"We started well and we didn't sustain it," said Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf. "Their power play scored. We made a few mistakes on our penalty kill and that's the difference against top teams."

The Maple Leafs will take Monday off and then will practice Tuesday before hosting the Kings Wednesday night. They will then play in St. Louis Thursday before hosting the Blackhawks Saturday, and if that isn't enough, they travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins the following Monday.

"You don't look past Wednesday," Phaneuf said. "Right now we have to refocus. We got two out of four points on the weekend so we'll take that and move forward."

And if the Maple Leafs' schedule and injury concerns aren't bad enough, the NHL has called Phaneuf up on the carpet for his hit from behind on Boston defenceman Kevan Miller late in the game. 

Phaneuf was not penalized on the play even though he appeared to drill Miller into the boards from behind. There is a good chance he will be suspended for his actions.

Penalties kill

The Leafs have been struggling mightily on the penalty kill, so perhaps it wasn't such a great idea for Carter Ashton to flip the puck over the glass with his team holding a slim 1-0 lead early in the second period. Ashton was assessed a minor penalty for delay of game and 24 seconds later Boston's Carl Soderberg tied the score 1-1 with a power-play goal.

On the next shift, Toronto defenceman Carl Gunnarsson was sent off for holding, which enabled Bruins rookie defenceman Torey Krug to score his eighth goal of the season to make it 2-1.

Toronto's penalty killers entered Sunday's game having given up 11 power-play goals in the previous seven games.

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Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle said it came down to a couple of bad clearing attempts and that is what cost his team while playing shorthanded.

"Tonight I thought we did a pretty good job other than two clears that cost us," he said. "On one Dion tried to go up the middle with it and the other one Mason Raymond had clear possession of the puck and tried to go up the wall, but they cut it off. Those two specifically came back to haunt us."

Hardest hit of the game

It came when Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf collided with teammate Phil Kessel at centre 15 minutes into the second period. Both players sprawled to the ice and Kessel seemed a little shaken up.

"I ran into him by accident," Phaneuf said. "I tried to turn and he was coming off. It's a fast game."

Team Canada candidates

Two players who are on the bubble for Team Canada - Boston winger Milan Lucic and Toronto defenceman Phaneuf -- were involved in the goal that allowed the Bruins a little breathing room late in the contest. 

Phaneuf pinched, allowing Lucic to break past him with the puck. Lucic then spotted Jarome Iginla in front and made a pass that the former Calgary Flames captain slipped past goalie Jonathan Bernier. That made it 4-2.

He'll try anything

Maple Leafs right-winger David Clarkson, who entered the game with just two goals and five points in 20 games, generated two decent scoring chances in the first period - both from behind the net. 

One was a shot to the net from the corner, and the other was a wrap-around. Maybe he's been going about things the wrong way shooting from in front of the net.

Third man in...or not

Midway through the first period, Clarkson and Boston's Dougie Hamilton were jostling when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara stepped in to give the Maple Leafs right-winger a new dance partner. Chara was not assessed a third-man-in penalty.

Battle of big men

Boston's six-foot-eight Chara and Toronto's six-foot-three James van Riemsdyk had a feud going throughout the game. They were constantly at one another including a few times as they skated off the ice to the bench. van Riemsdyk is not normally a physical player, but he didn't back down from the larger Chara.

Coach's woes

If playing on back-to-back nights isn't tough enough, Boston coach Claude Julien had to deal with the loss of centre Chris Kelly to a broken leg and left-winger Loui Eriksson to a concussion as well as the controversy of tough guy Shawn Thornton's indefinite suspension.

Thornton, who was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 1997, attacked Pittsburgh defenceman Brooks Orpik Saturday night, punching him twice and knocking him out. Orpik had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher.

Thornton was responding to Orpik's hit on Eriksson earlier in game. Eriksson suffered his second concussion of the season as a result.

"Last night was a tough night; I'll be honest with you because we don't like to see what happened and it's unfortunate," Julien said. "I heard Dan Bylsma's comments after the game and I respectfully disagree that it was a legal hit. [Eriksson] didn't have the puck. We both have different opinions and we're going to have to respect what the league is going to do. Whatever they decide I am happy to move on."

Julien said Thornton is upset and regretful about the incident.

"Thorny is man enough to admit he did cross the line. He got caught up in the emotions and there is nobody who is proud of what happened last night. He's going to suffer the consequences and so will we.

"It's pretty obvious when you look at it. Thorny did cross the line and some others did, too, but sometimes you have to man up to those things and I think he did."

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