Leafs can’t complete comeback in sixth straight loss

Senators scorers: Hoffman (16), Karlsson (11), Zibanejad (11)
Leafs scorers: Clarkson (10), Kadri (13), van Riemsdyk (20)
Goalies: Anderson (Win) 59:48 minutes played, 37 saves, 3 GA, Reimer (Loss) 58:21 minutes played, 22 saves, 4 GA

After a disappointing game on home ice against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Toronto Maple Leafs headed to the nation’s capital on Wednesday for a classic Battle of Ontario match up with the Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately for the Leafs and their overwhelmingly frustrated fans, they found themselves down just two minutes into the first period on a goal from Mike Hoffman. Erik Karlsson increased their lead at the midway point of the period, and the game was just about over when Mika Zibanejad scored a deflating goal in the final minute of the opening frame to make it 3-0.

With the second underway, the Leafs didn’t seem sluggish but they couldn’t generate many scoring chances. As the period wound down, David Clarkson finally put his team on the board. The goal seemed to inject a little bit of life into the Leafs and although they’ve struggled on the power play, Nazem Kadri got the Leafs within striking distance on the man advantage early in the third.

Just when it seemed like the Leafs might have a legitimate chance to make a game of it, Erik Karlsson all but put the game away on his second goal of the evening to make it 4-2. With the game almost over, the Leafs pulled James Reimer for the extra man and James van Riemsdyk got the Leafs close again. But time ultimately expired before the Leafs could have any more attempts to tie the game and the Senators handed the Leafs their sixth loss in a row with a 4-3 win.

James Reimer spoke to the media after the game about his team’s failed come back. “We didn’t have a good start. Obviously you can’t get down 3-0 and then expect to win in this league. I thought we did a great job of battling back and working hard in the last 40 minutes, but just ended up falling a bit short.”

The Leafs head into the All-Star break licking their wounds, returning to action on January 28th against the New Jersey Devils.