Thursday, November 20, 2014

Maple Leafs Surrender 9 Goals at Home

Nashville 9, Toronto 2. 
Nine goals by one team in a game is rare nowadays. In fact the Leafs haven't scored nine themselves since the 2006/07 season and they had not given up at least nine goals since Dec. 26, 1991 when they lost 12-1 in Pittsburgh. 

The last time Toronto had surrendered at least nine on home ice was all the way back on Jan. 14, 1991 when Buffalo beat the 11-30-4 Leafs by a score of 9-3. The Sabres got out to a 4-1 lead after the first period, chasing starter Peter Ing from the net. The Leafs actually got within a goal five minutes into the second on goals from Gary Leeman and Dave Ellett. The Sabres then poured three past Jeff Reese in a three minute stretch and two more in the third. In the end Reese allowed five goals on 14 shots while Ing allowed his four on 13 shots. Each of  Alexander Mogilny and Pierre Turgeon ended up with 2 goals, 3 assists and a plus 6 rating, while Toronto's Vinny Damphousse and Michel Petit were each a minus five.

The time previous that the Leafs allowed at least nine at home was two seasons before on March 18, 1989 when Winnipeg smashed them 10-2. This game was only 2-0 for Winnipeg after one period before the Jets ripped four past Alan Bester to go up 6-0 after two. By the time it was over, Bester had given up all ten goals on 35 shots against and Vinny Damphousse posted another minus 5 rating. For the Jets, Tomas Steen had a hat-tick and five points and Dale Hawerchuk collected five assists and six points.

The Maple Leafs of the late '80s early '90s were not a very good team, (Newsflash). From 1987/88 through 1991/92 they posted seasons of 52, 62, 80, 57 and 67 points and won a mere three games in two playoff series. 25 years later, the current edition of the Leafs are somewhat reminiscent of these teams of the past. They are a team that's barely good enough to fight for a playoff berth and not quite bad enough to receive a high draft pick.

Is it possible to equate Kessel, Bozak, vanRiemsdyk to Leeman, Olczyk, Damphousse as the top line in their mid-20's with defensive issues? Nazem Kadri is Daniel Marois, the young up-and-coming scorer? Dion Phaneuf as the ex-Calgary Flame, current captain near 30 years old? Joffrey Lupul as the often injured scorer Wendel Clark? Gardiner and Rielly as Al Iafrate and Luke Richardson, the young stud defenders in their early 20's? Bernier and Reimer as Jeff Reese and Peter Ing, the young goaltending tandem? This may all be a bit of a stretch, but it sure is fun to compare different eras. 

Truthfully, I'm not sure this edition has much more hope than the one from 25 years ago. Remember, those Leafs of old would soon trade for 19 mostly prime seasons worth of two future Hall-of-Famers in Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour. Even with this, they still never even reached the Stanley Cup final.
Unless the current Leafs are going to acquire Steve Stamkos (maybe?) and say a Rick Nash or Joe Thornton...I'm afraid what we see is what we get.

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