Back at it for Blue and White

its_hockey_night
BY:JEFF SCHNEBERK
@Game7overtime

The Toronto Maple Leafs were brought back down to earth in a monstrous way on Thursday night. I for one was supposed to get my first shift at my new job that night, instead they called and told me it would be delayed by a few days, so I get to stay home and watch the Leafs get humiliated. I wish I was at work that night (how many times do you ever hear yourself say that?).

A six-game winning streak ended with, as Randy Carlyle called it, “a thud” last night. The Leafs were thoroughly drubbed 7-1 by the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center and played about as bad as the score suggests.

I know as well as anyone that this team is ‘special’ in its own way as they (still) won’t officially name a #1 goaltender. I understand that totally, hell I have even come to admire it. One day it will work again. Not Thursday night however. After James Reimer put up two straight win (Colorado and Montreal), the reasoning behind putting Jonathan Bernier back in net just when Reimer was gaining his top form back does not sit well with me (how about you?). I could have understood had Reimer not nearly shutout the Avalanche, at least almost through two periods, but Carlyle’s logic in putting Bernier back in net….not too sure about that.

WHO TO BLAME?
Not like it was all Bernier’s fault, or Reimer’s but they were both horrible. Mind you the rest of the team did not help either. I think maybe they all thought the game was the next night and they got the wrong date cause none of them showed up to play.
Anyways, looking ahead to this evening’s game, there was a time long ago (back when they were the original Winnipeg Jets with the original logo on the jersey) that made Toronto vs Winnipeg a highly-anticipated contest, especially on Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights.

STADIUM SERIES HOCKEY STARTS TONIGHT
I’m not seeing that anymore. The two teams play each other only twice this season, but there is something about these games that does not quite get me going anymore. In fact, tonight’s Stadium Series game between Anaheim and Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium moreso has the makings of a classic. Thanks to those dudes and dudettes at the CBC, you will get to see both of these games.

Toronto is at 6-4 in their last 10 games, funny enough, Winnipeg is at the exact opposite at 4-6 over their last 10 games.

MAPLE LEAFS (27-21-5) at JETS (23-24-5)

TV: CBC

Last 10: Toronto 6-4-0; Winnipeg 4-6-0

Both of these teams look to get back on track after road losses Thursday ended lengthy winning streaks. Toronto had won a season-high six games in a row before a 7-1 loss to the Dallas Stars; the Jets had won four straight prior to a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
Leafs’ Tyler Bozak remains optimistic about tonight despite Thursday night’s loss.

“We’ve been playing well as a team and there’s gonna be games like this throughout the year. But we still got a chance Saturday night to make this a really good road trip so we have to put this one behind us and focus on Winnipeg,” center Tyler said.

Coach Randy Carlyle emphasized the need to not let one defeat snowball into multiple losses. The Maple Leafs have four losing streaks of three games or more this season.
“We have a rebound game [in Winnipeg] Saturday night. We’ve got to gather our group back and get some consistency back in our game here in a short time frame, to get back to playing the way we are capable of playing,” Carlyle said.
Tonight’s matchup is also somewhat of a head-to-head between the team’s top guns. Toronto’s Kessel has been scoring like Sidney Crosby lately (sort of), with four goals (beauties) in five games. Winnipeg’s Bryan Little has been on a little bit of a tear himself lately, eight points scored in six games, and teammate Jakub Trouba has three goals in four games.
Also well worthy of note, Manitoba native James Reimer is getting the call in goal.
The Maple Leafs have three forwards on injured reserve: David Clarkson (elbow), Trevor Smith (hand) andDave Bolland (ankle). … The Jets are without forwards Jim Slater (hernia), Matt Halischuk (forearm) and Grant Clitsome (back) and defenseman Paul Postma (blood clot)..

OTHER LEAF STUFF
According to AHL sources, new Leaf Brandon Kozun will be making his debut with the organization playing for the ‘baby’ Leafs at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum as the Leafs farm club the Toronto Marlies take on the Hamilton Bulldogs.

He should bring a much-needed offensive spark to the Marlies top six.

@Game7overtime

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