Maple Leafs deliver uninspired effort in loss to Panthers
By Chris Savard
Two weeks from tonight the NHL Trade Deadline will have come and gone. While the Toronto Maple Leafs may look very different on March 2nd, it was the same old, same old team tonight. The Leafs delivered yet another uninspired effort (except for the last 90 seconds) in a 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers at the Air Canada Centre.
Stoney Point - February 17, 2015 - Two weeks from tonight the NHL Trade Deadline will have come and gone. While the Toronto Maple Leafs may look very different on March 2nd, it was the same old, same old team tonight. The Leafs delivered yet another uninspired effort (except for the last 90 seconds) in a 3-2 loss against the Florida Panthers at the Air Canada Centre.
Tonight marked the first game that Toronto played since moving Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli to the Nashville Predators over the weekend. Olli Jokinen wore number 11 in his Toronto debut. Jokinen was a salary dump, throw in by the Preds in this most recent deal. It is widely believe that the Leafs are shopping the 36 year old Fin and he may be moved again as early as the next couple of weeks.
The game started strong for the Leafs, as Tyler Bozak notched his 16th of the season on the powerplay in the first five minutes of the game.
Nashville rallied with the next three goals - two of which were on the powerplay. Jussi Jokinen and Nick Bjugstad scored with the man advantage. Jimmy Hayes scored in the middle frame to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.
With over three minutes left to play in the game Buds’ Head Coach Peter Horacheck pulled Jonathan Bernier in favour of the extra attacker. Phil Kessel scored his 22nd of the season on the powerplay, but it was too little too late for Toronto.
Belle River native Aaron Ekblad has a solid night. The 19 year old, first overall pick logged 21:40 minutes of ice time and was a +1 on the night. David Clarkson was involved in his third fight in the last two games.
Despite out-shooting Florida 27-17, the Maple Leafs were unable to generate any significant offensive pressure.
Following Twitter, listening to talk radio and scouring NHL hockey sites has been more interesting lately, then actually watching the Leafs on the ice. Lets just say, I am glad I didn’t have to dig into my pocket and part with some cash to watch this game.
Toronto is back in action on Friday night when they travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes. Time will tell if there are any more players moved out of Toronto between now and then.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org