Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier skates by back up goalie James Reimer, left, after being pulled from the game against the New York Rangers during the second period Saturday. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)
The Maple Leafs were listless to the point of embarrassment in
dropping a 7-1 decision to the visiting New York Rangers on Saturday night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were full marks for their shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the Winter Classic -- a game that made the Guinness World Book of Records for the largest live audience on Wednesday -- but upon their arrival home for the follow-up game, they laid an egg.
The Maple Leafs were listless to the point of embarrassment in dropping a 7-1 decision to the visiting New York Rangers at Air Canada Centre Saturday night.
"We can all share the blame in this one," said Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul. "It's embarrassing. Getting booed off the ice at the end of the first period, the second period and the end of the game, and we deserved it. We were not good in any aspect of the game. We don't feel very good about ourselves right now."
Lupul said sometimes teams suffer losses that the team takes some positives from, but he added, "Tonight we did nothing well. There is not much we can take much from this other than not wanting to have this feeling again."
Carlyle said he expected there may have been some fallout for his team having participated in the Winter Classic Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but he was disappointed it carried over through the entire game two days later.
"We thought we may start out flat for a period, but we'd be able to get our legs under us and get our game going to at least be more competitive," he said. "It seemed like the third goal; that was the hockey game. I expected a lot more from our group than we got."
Carlyle said the fact his players had no push back against the Rangers was the most disappointing aspect of the game. He said he thought about pulling starting goalie Jonathan Bernier before he fell behind 5-0, but hoped he'd make it through 40 minutes before replacing him with James Reimer.
Icing on the cake
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the second period thanks to a blown call by the officials. The Rangers clearly iced the puck, but the call was waved off. The Rangers then scored on a floater from the point that Bernier couldn't see because he was screened.
Bernier had a good view of a bad angle shot by former Leaf Dominic Moore later in the same period, but it found its way between his legs. It was a bad goal.
More on Bernier
Carlyle makes a huge point of saying his team has two No. 1 goalies, but with Bernier starting his sixth game in a row, it is apparent the coach is picking between he and Reimer. So it must have been painful for Carlyle to have to pull Bernier late in the second period with the Rangers ahead 5-0. It is highly doubtful Carlyle would have left Reimer in for five goals.
More for Moore
The Maple Leafs didn't want to pay checking centre Dominic Moore despite the fact he had 55 points in 101 games with them and have spent the past couple of years trying to replace him. Moore had two goals in New York's win over Toronto Saturday.
Toronto defenceman Carl Gunnarsson took a shot to the head during warm-up, but started the game. It was a shot by teammate David Clarkson that hit the crossbar and deflected and hit Gunnarsson in the ear. In the first period Gunnarsson left the contest with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Meanwhile, Clarkson blocked a shot with his left foot in the first period. He left the game, but returned for the second period. He lasted a shift before retiring to the dressing room.
Tough lineup to crack
The Maple Leafs welcomed defenceman Tim Gleason to town after acquiring him in a trade with Carolina, but assigned him to the press box for the game. Seems coach Randy Carlyle didn't want to break up a winning lineup.
Tyler keeps trying
Centre Tyler Bozak had a goal and four points (not to mention the shootout winner in Detroit) in his first game back from an oblique injury that kept him out of 12 games. Against the Rangers he had an assist to keep a six-game points streak alive, but wasn't too noticeable during the game. He was not alone.
Leafs off a roll
The Maple Leafs had points in seven straight games; the first time they have accomplished that since Feb. of 2011.
That's 'fine' with Shanny
Toronto winger Joffrey Lupul avoided a suspension for his head shot on Detroit's Patrick Eaves in the Outdoor Classic, but he was tagged with a $10,000 US fine for his actions by the NHL sheriff in charge of discipline, Brendan Shanahan. The money will be donated to the league's Players' Assistance Fund and brings to a total $530,000 donated by Maple Leafs players this season.
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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