The Leafs had their four-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the New York Rangers on Sunday night, despite generating 56 shots on backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev. Toronto’s attack was stifled by the Rangers’ active sticks, and the power play continued to struggle.
- Kasperi Kapanen intercepted a cross-ice pass at the Leafs blue line and skated the length of the ice to beat Georgiev on a breakaway for Toronto’s only scoring play. It was Kapanen’s first goal in ten games, dating back to January 14 versus Colorado.
- Nazem Kadri had an eye-popping total of 12 shots on goal. John Tavares registered eight shots on net.
- The Leafs had more sustained pressure on their power play than in recent games, and probably deserved a better fate. But in a results-based environment, all that anyone remembers is the failure to convert. Toronto went 0-for-4 with the man advantage, and has just 13 goals in its past 77 tries (16.8%)
- The Rangers’ Jimmy Vesey scored the eventual game-winner as a New York power play expired and the defenders at the time, Ron Hainsey and Jake Gardiner got confused on the rush. Having said that, the Leafs needed a save from Garret Sparks on the play.
- For the second straight game, the Leafs gave up the first goal of the game in the opening minute. Mika Zibanejad found the net just 28 seconds into the first period.
- Mike Babcock, not surprisingly, tried some line juggling to no avail, prompting this astute observation:
Make that 0-for-4 with 23 shots on goal on the power play.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 11, 2019
If you're willing to play Johnsson with Kadri and Nylander when you're down a goal, why wouldn't you play him at the beginning of the game?
— Rob Wong (@WongSN590) February 11, 2019
- Jake Muzzin, who endeared himself to the Leafs’ fans with a stellar performance just six days ago versus Anaheim, had a forgettable outing. His coverage on Zibanejad’s goal was subpar. And, he made a terrible clearing attempt after overextending his shift, resulting in New York’s third goal, by Adam McQuaid.
- Just as with Vesey’s goal, Sparks looked shaky on the tally by McQuaid. A goaltender is often called upon to bail out his defender’s mistakes, and on this night, Sparks was not up to the task.
In 2016, Rob wrote “Hockey’s Enforcers: A Dying Breed”, now available at Chapters and Indigo stores everywhere.