The Maple Leafs fell to the Senators tonight in Ottawa. Here are five takeaways from the game.
For the first time in quite a while, the Leafs looked like they had an extra jump in their step for much of the game. Despite another slow start, the Leafs picked up the pace and temporarily erased a two-goal deficit. Perhaps it was the energy level in Ottawa and taking on a bitter rival. But the Leafs looked primed and ready to play spoiler. Unfortunately, a two goal deficit is never good for Toronto. They have yet to win a game this season when trailing by two-or-more goals.
In what was his 1000th game in the NHL, defenceman Eric Brewer struggled. Aside from the empty net goal, Brewer has been on the ice for 11 of the last 19 goals scored against the Maple Leafs. On Monday, they will likely honour Brewer by awarding him with a silver stick. That should hopefully inspire a better performance.
Normally lights out in Ottawa, Reimer was pulled after the Senators scored their third goal. Jonathan Bernier was stellar in relief, making 21 saves. Despite allowing just one goal, it was the game-winner so Bernier picked up the loss in the game.
Sill has embraced the opportunity that Toronto has given him. He stepped up for his teammate in Richard Panik, engaging in a fight with Panik’s aggressor. There was a physical edge that was lacking from the Maple Leafs prior to Sill’s arrival, but now Sill is starting to get himself in the good books, as the forward aims to land a spot for next season.
The Other New Guys
A few days ago, Leafs interim coach Peter Horachek named players like Sill and Sam Carrick as players who are playing with a lot of effort. Carrick was rewarded tonight with his very first NHL point, getting an assist on Joakim Lindstrom’s goal. That tally was Lindstrom’s first as a Leaf. Tim Erixon also scored a goal for his first point as a Leaf. Many of the newest Leafs were the best Leafs.