Frustration continues to reign in the Maple Leafs locker-room!!!

Eduardo Harari
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@edharari

Friday, November 15, 2019


 

 

TORONTO. – Hockey royalty descended on the Scotiabank arena as the Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2019 inductees earlier in the day.

What else could you expect for an evening of hockey in Toronto when two powerhouses such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins are putting the main show in Canada’s Hockey Mecca.

A blue carpet was rolled out to honour this year’s six inductees to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mats Sundin, one of the most beloved Leafs, was in the house. So was Darryl Sittler, who set an NHL record with 10 points in 1976 when Toronto laid a thumping on Boston.

Brad Marchand scored twice in the third period Friday as the Boston Bruins defeated Toronto 4-2 to hand their Atlantic Division rivals a fourth consecutive setback.

"We're just on the wrong side of it," Tavares said. "It was a pretty good hockey game other than a couple of mistakes that obviously hurt us."

Charlie Coyle, with a goal and an assist, and Zdeno Chara provided the rest of the offence for Boston (12-3-4). Tuuka Rask made 29 stops for the Bruins, who snapped a 0-2-2 slide.

"It's a game that we get up for," said Marchand, whose team has eliminated the Leafs in the first round of the playoffs the last two springs. "A lot of history."

Auston Mathews and Kasperi Kapanen replied for Toronto (9-8-4), which got 30 saves from Frederik Andersen.

The game was a battle of frustration as The Maple Leafs kept digging and churning. Chara, Boston’s clipped Nylander in the face with his stick but the transgression went undetected. David Wagner hit Trevor Moore so hard that his helmet snapped. Moore left the game with a shoulder injury and did not return.

There has been an existing rivalry between this two teams as far as hockey history can take us, but one thing is for sure the most recent history is one that Toronto fans can’t seem to swallow as the Bruins have ended the Leafs Cup dreams in the past two years in the first round.

Stanley Cup aspirations were set when this organization assembled during training camp but many of those expectations have quickly vanished as the Leafs have just six regulation victories in 2019-20, and only two in their last 14.

"There's a huge sense of urgency," Tavares added. "We're not where we want to be."

The Bruins broke the 1-1 tie 11 seconds into the third when Marchand scored his 12th goal of the season, after he was given enough time to retrieve the rebound of his previous shot by the Leafs defensive unit. 

"Just ends up in our net," said a curt Rielly. "I don't know what you want me to say.

Fans booed. They don’t like Boston, and like Marchand even less. That is true in every city in the NHL.

Both sides generated plenty of chances, but Toronto cracked first – on one of those defensive lapses that has doomed the Maple Leafs to mediocrity thus far. Travis Dermott lost track of Charlie Coyle in front of the net and he deposited the puck past Frederik Andersen to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first period.

Auston Matthews continues to demonstrate why he was awarded such a lucrative contract last January as he leads the Leafs in scoring and points so far this season. He tied the game 1-1 with 10:40 left in the second period on a nifty deflection of a shot by Jake Muzzin as it knuckled toward Tuuka Rask for his 14th goal.

After Marchand scored at the start of third, Kasperi Kapanen tied things 2-2 with 16:04 remaining.

The meeting was the third of five between the teams this season. They split the first two.

The Bruins entered the game 11-3-4 but had dropped four in a row. In their previous game, they blew a four-goal third-period lead. The Maple Leafs came in 9-7-4 and had lost three in a row. Neither played like a team in the midst of a slide.

This was the third game Toronto is playing without Marner who is out for at least 3 weeks with an ankle injury. A new addition has been added to the disable list as Alexander Kerfoot will be out indefinitely after undergoing thru Facial dental surgery as a result of the crosscheck suffered in L.A. on Nov 5th.

The result had to be unsatisfying for the Maple Leafs. They were beat again by those guys from you-know-where. It was a hard-fought win for one team, a frustrating loss for the other. An empty netter by Chara with 1:33 left shut the door.

″One quarter of the season is done, and I think we know we haven’t played to our expectation and where we want to get to," John Tavares, the captain, said earlier in the day. “But we have three-quarters left so there is a lot of hockey ahead."

Toronto begins a six-game trip in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Its next game at home isn’t until Nov. 30 against the Buffalo Sabres. Kasimir Kaskisuo, who was called up this week from the Toronto Marlies, is expected to make his first NHL start against the Penguins.

The 26-year-old Finn was 6-1-1 in eight games with the AHL farm team and posted a 2.13 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage. After playing two years at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he spent parts of four seasons with the Marlies and parts of two with the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League.

“It has been a long road and I have gone through a lot,” Kaskisuo said. “I worked hard for it and waited for it and think I am fully ready. Everybody would probably lie and say they didn’t feel any doubt at some point, but the belief I had that I could someday get here was stronger than that. That drives you every day and got me here.”