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Leafs lose 6-2 to Canucks



Leafs goalies Jonas Gustavsson (left) and James Reimer (right)
as Reimer was pulled from the net in Saturday's game
PHOTO: mapleleafs.com
The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a really bad whole and can't seem to climb out of it. They have just won win in their last six games including last nights 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks shed some light on truly what kind of team the Leafs can be against a top team in the league. The answer on this night was a skilled offensive team with terrible defensive zone coverage, and two goalies who, rather than play really well to prove they want and have earned the starting goaltending job, end up getting the start moreso based on the other goalie's struggling efforts.

The game started out bad when the Canucks scored in the first off a mis-timed pinch by Keith Aulie. We've seen too many of those come back and end up in the back of our net. Aulie needs to gage when is a good time to pinch, and when isn't. Once in a while you will make mistakes, but you would think after being burned by that play so many times, he would be more hesitant to pinch.

It's tough to blame James Reimer on many of the goales the Canucks scored on him last night, but on the flip side he didn't go out there and make any big saves to help the team. If you're a bubble team like Toronto you need your goalie to step up and make some big saves every game. I'm not deflecting away from the issue, which is absolutely awful defensive zone coverage, but a big save from Reimer would have been nice last night. Jonas Gustavsson came into the game in relief of Reimer, and did not look any better, in fact I would say he looked worse, but I wasn't really paying attention, tuning in and out at that point.

Nikolai Kulemin scored a late goal in the third period. His first in a while, and only his sixth on the season. He celebrated a little too much for someone who scored the second goal for in a 6-2 defeat, but I don't think he deserves the criticism. He has struggled lately and it's nice for him to get on the board.

The Leafs miraculously still sit in eigth in the East. The Capitals also lost last night, to the Lightning, so they remain one point behind Toronto. Suddenly there are more contenders for the last playoff spot though. Will all the Leafs and Capitals loses lately, the Winnipeg Jets find themselves only two points out of a playoff spot. The Leafs will have to be careful.

Toronto will have to put a better effort forward as a team heading into a four game home stand. They play New Jersey on Tuesday, San Jose on Thursday, Washington on Saturday and Florida the following Tuesday. Three of the four games are against teams that higher in the standings than Toronto, and two games are against teams that are close to them in the race. A fair goal for the Leafs to set is to win either of the first two match-ups, and then win both games against the Capitals and Pathers.


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