The Toronto Maple Leafs fell just short of grabbing their first road victory of 2015. Here are some takeaways from the 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal.
One man down
The Maple Leafs were without the services of David Clarkson for a majority of the game. He was assessed a game misconduct for a hit on Canadiens defenceman Sergei Gonchar along the boards. When looking over the play, it appears to be clean. Clarkson had an impact prior to the penalty, delivering hits and helping Toronto dictate some of the play. His ejection temporarily took some momentum out of the Leafs game.
Playing in his home city, Jonathan Bernier was easily the best Leaf on the ice. He was particularly strong in the second period, when the Canadiens were applying sustained pressure. The area of improvement remains the shootout, where Bernier has struggled throughout his career. Among 81 active NHL goaltenders, Bernier ranks 75th with a .546 save percentage. Bernier has put together a couple of solid starts since James Reimer started the previous three.
He was a stud on defence for the Maple Leafs, especially on the penalty kill, where he logged 5:25 of his team high 26:06 of ice time. Polak has been a standout defenceman over the last few games. Not shy when it comes to speaking his mind, his play definitely backs up his words.
Winnik + Panik
Daniel Winnik scored the Leafs only goal Saturday. It was his sixth of the season, matching his goal totals from the last two seasons. Winnik also played over five minutes on the penalty kill. It was just that kind of game. Very physical. It was a throwback. Richard Panik picked up an assist. He now has four points in his last four games. Panik came inches away from scoring the game-winning goal, hitting the post in overtime.
Montreal scored their goal on the power-play, snapping a Toronto string of four straight games without giving up a goal while shorthanded. The power-play struggled for Toronto. They had difficulty getting set up at times and when they did, Carey Price was too good.