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Alter's Leafs vs. Coyotes Takeaways

by David Alter / Toronto Maple Leafs


The Maple Leafs fell to the Arizona Coyotes 3-2, snapping their three-game winning streak. Here are some takeaways from Toronto’s latest effort.

Slow Start

Maybe it was the travel out west, but the Leafs were a little sluggish out of the gate. There were many missed passes that lacked a tape-to-tape connection. It was reminiscent of the team’s earlier struggles prior to the hot streak they were on. Despite all of that, Toronto was afforded an opportunity to score the game’s opening goal, when Brandon McMillan and Martin Erat took minor penalties midway through the first period. This led to a two-man advantage for 66 seconds. The Leafs couldn’t capitalize and the Coyotes would score shortly afterwards. The Leafs managed just three shots on goal after one period and just couldn’t move to puck.

No Answer for Coyotes Cycle

The Coyotes managed to counter the Leafs’ game plan of forechecking deep by quickly cycling the puck out of their own zone. Arizona goaltender Mike Smith’s ability to play the puck allowed for the Coyotes to break out of the zone quickly, which meant very little zone time for the Leafs to ply their trade. Smith is one of the better goalies who play the puck and he gave the Leafs all kinds of fits.

The Door Was Open

Down 3-0 the Leafs managed to slowly chip away at Arizona’s lead. First Dion Phaneuf scored on the power-play, to put the Leafs on the board in the second period. In the third period, the Coyotes sat back a little while the Leafs began to apply pressure. Cody Franson was rewarded with a power-play goal which put the Leafs back in it. As the door cracked open, the Leafs couldn’t bust it wide open. They had a peak before Arizona clamped back down. It was simply too little, too late.

Changes on D?

The first goal of the game was on a giveaway deep in the Leafs end. A drop pass from Peter Holland to Jake Gardiner came with Arizona pressing on the forecheck. Stephane Robidas had Arizona’s second goal go off his skate. While, he could hardly be blamed for it, we didn’t see a lot of Robidas in this game, playing a season-low 11:48. With Stu Percy on the trip, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see some kind of change ahead of the Leafs game against Colorado on Thursday.

Tough Call in Goal

James Reimer got the nod in goal following his excellent performance on Saturday night. While you can make the argument for Reimer or Jonathan Bernier, Reimer was selected by head coach Randy Carlyle. Reimer made 30 saves and was one of the better players on the ice.

Notes

This was the first time Phil Kessel got on the score sheet this season on a losing note. The Leafs managed to score two power-play goals and kill off all their penalties and still ended up losing the game. The last time the Leafs scored two-or-more power play goals and were pefect on the penalty kill and went on to lose, was back in May of 2013 when the Leafs fell to Boston in game 3 of their first round playoff series.,

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