Yet Another SO Loss For Leafs

Game 39 Leafs at NYR

The Toronto Maple Leafs lost a hockey game they thoroughly deserved to lose tonight, but ended up with a point anyway in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers. The Leafs were abysmal in the second period and for much of the third too, but a Nazem Kadri  goal with about a minute-and-a-half left sent the game to overtime.

The New York Rangers escaped with two points they believed they deserved even though they gave up a goal they felt the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t earn.

Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan scored shootout goals, and backup goalie Cam Talbot earned his second win in two nights as the Rangers shook off a late tying tally and beat the Maple Leafs 2-1 Monday night.

The game was forced into overtime because of Nazem Kadri‘s goal with 1:24 left in regulation – one the Rangers thought shouldn’t have counted.

Here is what Rangers bench boss Alain Vigneault had to say about it:
“In my opinion, that was the wrong call,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. “The referee told Brad (Richards) on the ice that if they didn’t score on the wraparound, then it wasn’t a goal. They didn’t score on the wraparound.
“The puck was underneath Cam’s pad. How (the reviewers) saw it differently, I’m not quite sure. You’ve just got to play through those things, and that’s what we did.”

The two-goalie system continues to provide reasons to doubt the team each and every game. Some people want one guy, other fans want the other guy. Honest to goodness, there has to be some better way to play Bernier and Reimer. I know these guys are professional athletes, and the money they take home keeps some people from feeling bad for them night in and night out, but if the playoffs were to begin tomorrow night, and the Leafs were in, which goalie does Randy Carlyle go with?

Having two goalies on the team that can both help the team win, ends up becoming a divider, especially on the team where fan support happens to be fickle. When you win, you are the hero, when you lose, you are the goat.

Case in point was last night as Leafs took on the NY Rangers. Both goalies were phenomenal when they had to be. Bernier is particular, because, as it has become commonplace, he stops (nearly) everything thrown at him, then Kadri scores and they go into overtime, where Bernier stops everything (again), then they go into a shootout where he stops nothing.

James Reimer on the other hand goes into a shootout against the Phoenix Coyotes and makes the stop when his team needs him to.

Both teams traded chances in the extra frame, but Jonathan Bernier and Cam Talbot kept the game tied for their respective clubs. The Leafs would play in their ninth shootout this season, but unfortunately ended up on the losing end for the fifth time. Here are some more thoughts from tonight’s game:

• Make no mistake, Bernier was the only reason the Leafs came away with a point in this one. The goalie made 42 saves in regulation and overtime, 22 of which came in the second period. If there’s one knock against Bernier, it’s his poor shootout record, which got worse tonight. He allowed two goals on three shooters. But the only reason the team even made it to the shootout was because of Bernier.

• On a positive note, the top line of Phil Kessel, Kadri and James van Riemsdyk had moments of brilliance. The unit has faced a lot of criticism lately for failing to score, but it’s definitely not from lack of chances. The line was dominant in the first period, and had some great chances in overtime too. A lot of pressure is put on the top line, but the rest of the forwards need to find a way to be better.



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