Following the Leafs loss in Anaheim, interim head coach Peter Horachek noted Leafs weren’t getting “puck luck” recently. In San Jose, there wasn’t much difference. The Leafs finally managed to score a goal in the first period by way of defenceman Roman Polak, but that’s where it ended. There was plenty of opportunity for more as there were a lot of posts for Toronto, particularly early on. The puck isn’t bouncing Toronto’s way and the only remedy is to keep trying.
Protection for Reimer
James Reimer played in his first game under Horachek, and while the commitment to defence had been there in previous games, it was as if nothing changed for Reimer who faced 41 shots and made 39 saves. The start was his third consecutive facing 40 shots or more for Reimer. San Jose successfully drove to the net with reckless abandon and the second of San Jose’s three goals game came when they pushed Reimer back in the blue paint, chipping in a loose puck. The defence wasn’t physical enough to give Reimer the protection he needed to prevent said goal.
It all changed after 20
In the first period, the game was closely contested but the game got away from Toronto after 20 minutes. The commitment to defence seemed to disappear as the Sharks outshot the Leafs 17-4 in the middle frame. It could have been fatigue, it may have been sheer frustration – it was likely a combination of both – but the Leafs have to buckle back down as they head to St. Louis.
It was strong in this game as it was in Anaheim. Daniel Winnik has proven his worth on the Leafs PK unit, coming up well positioned while his team is shorthanded. A positive for the Leafs to build on.
Easily one of the better skaters for the Leafs on Thursday, Mike Santorelli generated a majority of scoring chances for the Leafs that they weren’t able to bury.