Everything went so smoothly the night before in Anaheim where the Toronto Maple Leafs played more like the New Jersey Devils from the early 2000s, shutting every team down, and capitalizing on their scoring chances.
The Maple Leafs did that on Monday night in Anaheim, but they did not do that last night in San Jose.
Final score: Sharks 6, Leafs 2.
Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong if you are a Leafs fan, everything, plus a couple other things you probably wouldn’t expect (like Dion Phaneuf sending his teammate and top-scorer James van Riemsdyk to the dressing room with possible concussion).
I’m not even kidding, it wasn’t funny, Phaneuf (tried to) line up a Ducks’ defender for one of them bone-crunching hits, instead Phaneuf hit his own guy and knocked him out of the game for what ended up being a few shifts.
BROKEN SKATE LACES???
JVR, to his credit, made the return to the hockey game but sadly it did not matter, they didn’t just lose, they got creamed.
“He’s fine, he’s fine,” insisted Head Coach Randy Carlyle.
“He went to the quiet room and they (Leaf trainers) did the testing.”
Carlyle actually said that the only thing that wasn’t right after the hit was that van Riemsdyk’s skate laces were broke, on both skates. (see link below for brief video)
“I don’t know how that happened,” Carlyle told the media afterwards. “But they had to change both skates.”
The only Leaf goals came from a defenceman. San Jose’s Joe Pavelski nearly had the hat trick. Toronto forward David Clarkson got into two scraps, only the second was fun to watch as he pasted his opponent.
Still, it was hard to watch James Reimer outperform Annttii Niemi of the Sharks. San Jose scored early (three minutes in) and then Jake Gardiner tied it on the very next shift after completing a beautiful passing play from Mason Raymond. Gardiner would score again in the game but not before San Jose added four more goals.
“Right from the beginning, we weren’t ready to play,” admitted Gardiner, whose first goal was a result of him skating all the way down the ice where he caught Raymond’s pass and put it home. “Just overall, didn’t play well.”
On Reimer’s play, Carlyle said most of the shots that got by him were shots he couldn’t see, and when you have a power forward like Joe Thornton get in your way, good luck.
“Tough spot to put a goalie into, he made some big stops for us but a lot of shots he didn’t get a chance to see and the one goal, Thornton’s sitting on top of him…”
“It was one of those night where things didn’t go my way,” offered Reimer.
“I thought we did a lot of things that gave them a lot of opportunities specifically turning the puck over, plus we didn’t skate, we had a decent start, then once the game started to tilt in their favour we couldn’t get it back,” offered Carlyle.
What Toronto did manage to salvage was a little pride in the penalty box. Tim Gleason took on Andrew Desjardins and took him down in 30 seconds.
Watch it here: All 30 seconds of it
(next up on that video list is Phaneuf’s hit on JVR).
We all knew that a result like this was almost inevitable, playing against three of the top teams from the Western Conference, and guess what, it is not going to get an easier on Thursday night when the boys in blue go up against the boys in silver at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.