Jan 10, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Phil Kessel (81) shoots the puck in front of Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine (4) in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs vs New Jersey Devils Preview


The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to end a 4 game losing streak as they host the New Jersey Devils tonight.

Their last loss was a heart-breaker, as they lost to the Capitals 3-2, with the Capitals going ahead late in the 3rd period.

Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, two of the Leafs players to be heading to Sochi with Team USA, scored the Leafs goals and each assisted on the others. It marked Kessel’s team leading 21st goal, 19th assist and 40th point.

In the midst of the losing streak, the Leafs have been awful in controlling the puck, continuing a season-long trend in which the Leafs give up too many shots. They are last in the league in shots allowed.

The Leafs goalies have struggled to keep up against the onslaught, and in the four game skid, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been outscored 21-7.  Jonathan Bernier will get the start tonight, as he looks to end his own personal three game losing streak.

If the Leafs hope to win they will have to cut down on mistakes stay out of the penalty box, and stop giving up so many shots. Coach Randy Carlyle is sure to feel the collective angst directed his way. While the last game showed a marked improvement in effort the results still need to come.

If the Leafs can’t turn it around soon and get on a winning streak to match their current skid, it is very likely to result in Carlyle’s departure. The Leafs may not have the most talented roster, but only one team can say that anyway. What will determine their success is whether they can pull together and play physical hockey.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are not an excellent team but at least they can show they are a hard-working one. If at the very end of the day, they can say that, the results won’t matter. But if they continue to lose, and lose badly, well, it’s all on them.

 

 

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