Maple Leafs end season-killing skid, time to look to next year
By Chris Savard
The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their 11 game losing streak last night with a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. This streak was the longest in team history, seeing the Buds go winless since January 9th when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Stoney Point - February 8, 2015 - The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their 11 game losing streak last night with a 5-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. This streak was the longest in team history, seeing the Buds go winless since January 9th when they beat the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It appears that a Saturday night, home date with the 29th place team in the league - is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Leafs jumped out to a 5-0 lead against the Oilers on goals by Richard Panik, Phil Kessel, Morgan Rielly, Mike Santorelli and Peter Holland. James Reimer had his shutout bid snapped with three seconds to go, when Luke Gazdic scored his first of the year.
Despite losing the shutout, Reimer was pleased with the win.
"It feels really good, that feeling at the end of the game when you have battled for 60 minutes and you're able to come out with a win - especially after the adversity we have faced - it's a good feeling," Reimer said. "It's a relief, and you feel really good about yourself. I thought right from the get-go we came out to play."
So James does it feel good? He said it three times in that quote. I am sure it feels good to finally end the streak, but this streak has cost the Maple Leafs any shot at the post-season.
Last season, the Detroit Red Wings secured the final wild card playoff spot in the east with 93 points. Today, the Leafs have 50 points in the bank and have 28 games to go. To get to 93 points, they will need to play .767 hockey throughout the balance of the season. Simply not going to happen.
To put that in perspective, the Anaheim Ducks are the top team in the league with a .707 winning percentage.
The March 2nd NHL Trade Deadline is just over three weeks away. At this point, there is little left to salvage in this season. In fact, falling into the bottom five of the standings will yield a better draft position and help the team rebuild.
It is commonly felt that GM Dave Nonis will be listening to offers on all of his players in the coming weeks. If Wayne Gretzky can get traded, then anyone can get moved if the price is right.
I personally feel that Kessel is likely the only untouchable on the team - or in other words, the Maple Leafs will not receive a suitable offer that will create the motivation to move #81.
I also think it will take a King’s ransom for the Leafs to part with Reilly. This kid looks like he is going to be special.
I am not going to pretend that I know the answer to fix what is wrong with this team, but clearly status quo is not an option. This season is a write-off and you have one of your players spewing how good it feels to improve to 2-11-1 under interim coach Peter Horachek. Brutal.
Leafs Nation…there is always next year. Sound familiar? Feel really good?
In his lifetime, Chris Savard has spent time as both an elected official and a hot air balloon pilot. As such, FULL OF HOT AIR seemed to be an appropriate name for this column. Savard will provide his thoughts on a number of topics including hockey on this site, as well as politics and local issues on OurHometown.ca. His opinion combined with $1.60 will buy you a medium coffee at Tim's! You can email him at email@example.com