In a startlingly familiar refrain, a late breakdown by the Leafs cost them the chance to win the game. Toronto, nursing a 4-2 lead late in the third period of Sunday’s game against Columbus, surrendered a pair of goals just fifteen seconds apart as the visiting Blue Jackets forced overtime. The Leafs eventually lost in the shootout – dropping the game 5-4 with the Jacket’s Nikita Filatov scoring the shootout winner.
“There’s lots of areas where we need work – understanding how to defend a lead,” observed coach Ron Wilson following the game. “It’s about puck placement and positioning. But, we have to practice it. We can’t just draw it on the board. We have to practice it, and hammer it home.”
The Leafs had goals from Mike Van Ryn, Mikhail Grabovski, Anton Stralman and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Grabovski finished with five goals in the pre-season to lead the team.
Toronto’s exhibition season concludes with just two wins in 9 games. The regular season for the Leafs begins on Thursday, October 9 in Detroit, where the Red Wings will raise their 2008 Stanley Cup banner.
Forward Lines: Ponikarovsky-Antropov-Blake, Steen-Mitchell-White,Tlusty-Grabovski-Hagman, Mayers-Stajan-Hollweg
Defence pairings: Colaiacovo-Van Ryn, Kaberle-Schenn, Stralman-Frogren,
Goaltenders: Toskala (Sh./L 65:00, 38 SV, 4 GA ), Joseph (0:00)