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."
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."
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.
Mike BrophyMike Brophy brings a wealth of hockey writing and broadcasting experience to CBC Sports, having covered junior hockey for 14 years before joining The Hockey News as its senior writer for 17 years starting in 1992. Most recently, the Burlington, Ont., native worked as a writer/commentator at Rogers Sportsnet and as co-host of The Power Play on SiriusXM. Mike has written four books, including My First Goal, featuring 50 players describing their first NHL goals.
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