Toronto Maple Leafs Lose, Phil Kessel on Pace for Zero Points


Toronto Maple Leafs Lose, Phil Kessel on Pace for Zero Points

After watching the Opening Day hopes of the Toronto Maple Leafs quickly fade away, I thought it’d make sense to write something for all the Leafs haters and the Leafs alarmists out there.

Sep 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (81) looks at his stick after missing a chance to score on a breakaway against the Ottawa Senators in the during the third period at the Air Canada Centre. Ottawa defeated Toronto 4-3 in an overtime shoot-out. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, you read the headline correctly: the Leafs lost tonight to their archrival, the Montreal Canadiens. That’s bad.

Could things get any worse? Phil Kessel finds himself on pace for zero points this season. That’s unbelievable.

It’s time to cancel the parade. It’s time put the balloons away. It’s time to face reality.

This isn’t the year.

Of course, I’m being factious here. It was only one game. The year is long and the Leafs will find today’s lost points at some other point in the season. It’s not the end of the world (unless you paid big dollars for tickets – in that case, I apologize on behalf of the Leafs).

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Looking at today’s game itself, the Leafs played a pretty solid first period. They drove the play and this showed in a 2-1 lead at the close of the period. However, they never managed to build any momentum off a four-minute power play towards the end of the second period. Montreal killed the prolonged penalty and they never really looked back afterwards, attacking the Leafs in waves.

The Canadiens opened the scoring at 4:42 in the opening frame off Max Pacioretty‘s first goal of the season. Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak responded for the Leafs before Tomas Plekanec tied the game 2-2 to finish the second period.

From there, the Canadiens and the Leafs traded goals in the third period courtesy of P.K. Subban and Morgan Rielly before Plekanec scored again in the dying seconds of the game to steal the win for the visitors. The last two goals of the game came off bizarre plays and left some fans scratching their heads: “How exactly did that go in?”

Oct 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) celebrates his goal with defenseman Stuart Percy (50) in front of Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Weaver (43) during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal outshot Toronto 32-27, beat the Leafs 37-26 in the faceoff circle and blocked 20 shots compared to 11 blocked shots for the home team. The Leafs, however, held the advantage in hits – 35-21 – which suggests their “tough days” may not be far behind them after all.

Toronto saw strong debuts from Brandon Kozun and Stuart Percy (despite the fact the final goal of the game went off his skate) while David Clarkson almost looked respectable out there. Joffrey Lupul was limited to 14:43 minutes of playing time, which is presumably punishment for a below-average performance.

Leafs fans will have to wait until Saturday before their team returns to action, hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Air Canada Centre. (Can you wait? I can’t wait…)

What did you think of the game? Is it really over already?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow me on Twitter for regular posts about sports (especially the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays), politics and other news topics: @williamefwilson