Maple Leafs come up flat in Dallas | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaMaple Leafs come up flat in Dallas

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 | 11:30 PM

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Toronto's 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday marked the third time this season the Maple Leafs were beaten by six goals -- all on the road. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Toronto's 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday marked the third time this season the Maple Leafs were beaten by six goals -- all on the road. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Despite the recent success, the Maple Leafs are still a far way off from being considered a being a serious threat to go deep in the playoffs as they lost 7-1 to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.




As if this lesson needed to be presented again.

The Toronto Maple Leafs learned a little something about depending too much on their goalies and top line in Dallas Thursday. Well, you might think they learned, but that really hasn't been the case this season, has it?

Although they were on a six-game winning streak and were threatening to make it eight in a row for the first time since 2003-04, the Maple Leafs were never in this one. They were flatter than...you finish the sentence.

When you consider they were riding heavily on the strength of their best line of Tyler Bozak, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk -- which had been lighting it up, along with solid goaltending from Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer -- it should come as no surprise that when those five players faltered, they were exposed. Despite the recent success, the Maple Leafs are still a far way off from being considered a being a serious threat to go deep in the playoffs as they lost 7-1 in Dallas to the Stars.

It marked the third time this season the Maple Leafs were beaten by six goals -- all on the road. They lost 6-0 to the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Nov. 25, and 7-1 to the Rangers in New York on Jan. 4.

It was obvious fairly early in this game the Maple Leafs had no compete. Coach Randy Carlyle was asked what he says to his team in a situation when it is sinking fast, and actually made a joke.

"Well, there are a lot of things I say under my breath, but it's not really anything you'd want to print or hear for the public," Carlyle said. "It gets past the point of mad and frustration. It just gets to a point of disappointment and, what the heck is going on out there? Those are the things that bring you back to earth in a hurry. This is the thud."

Asked if he could sum up his team's awful performance in a word, Carlyle tried...and failed.

"Unexpected," he started with. "Disappointing...frustrating...all those things. We didn't really have anything going for a good part of the hockey game. All of a sudden it was open season on turnovers and circling."


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Goalie in, goalie out

Reimer beat Colorado Tuesday night and then gave way to Bernier against the Stars. It didn't last long, though. Bernier surrendered three goals in 26:36 and was replaced by Reimer.

In retrospect it didn't help. Reimer had no better luck in allowing four goals the rest of the way. He really never put his team in a position to come back for a win.

The coach was not pointing the finger at his goalies.

"I think they fit in with the rest of our team," Carlyle said. "I'm not going to throw those guys (under the bus) any more than the rest of the group. We just didn't have it."

Big line disappears

Toronto's top trio of centre Bozak, left-winger van Riemsdyk and right-winger Kessel had combined for 16 goals and 25 points during the six-game winning streak. Darn impressive.

They did not produce a single point against the Stars and were a combined minus-11 on the night.

Kadri giveth (away), Kadri taketh (back):

Toronto's Nazem Kadri had a hand in Toronto falling behind 1-0 in the first period when he, among others, coughed up the puck in the Maple Leafs zone that allowed the Stars to score; Jamie Benn notching his 18th of the season at 7:09. Just 20 seconds later Kadri helped in Toronto tying the game as he drew the second assist on Nikolai Kulemin's seventh goal of the season on a tip-in of a shot from the point.

Onward and upward

Coach Carlyle seemed to put the defeat to bed quickly and immediately looked toward his team's next game in Winnipeg Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 6:30 p.m. ET).

"We can't let this linger," he said. "Our mandate will be to get to Winnipeg (tomorrow) and practice and have a rebound game Saturday night...We have to get back to where we are capable of playing and we were nowhere near that tonight."

Coach's challenge

There is a lot of talk about bringing the coach's challenge to the NHL. The Maple Leafs could have used one on Dallas's second goal. The Stars appeared to be offside on the play which led to Cody Eakin scoring his 20th goal NHL goal. Had Randy Carlyle the option of challenging the play, the goal likely would have been waved off.

Oly the goalies

Make that six games in a row the Maple Leafs have faced a goalie who has been selected to represent his country in the 2014 Winter Olympics. It started with Tuuka Rask (Boston) and followed with Ryan Miller (Buffalo), Carey Price (Montreal), Semyon Varlamov (Colorado) and was followed by Kari Lehtonen Thursday night. Neither of Toronto's goalies, Bernier or Reimer, will participate in this year's Olympic Games.

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