The Leafs played last night against Buffalo and lost. Knowing they need a big performance today against the Vancouver Canucks the Maple Leafs came out flat. Ultimately losing the game 5-3.
The Canucks scored early on yet another ridiculous defensive error, as the puck found it's was to Chris Higgins alone in front who put the put past Jonas Gustavson. Gustavson would then recover making several key saves in his performance but as per usual still let in 5 goals. It's hard to put the blame on Gustavson though... None of the goals that he let in were really his fault. It all comes back to horrible mistakes from the defensive zone coverage, usually from the defensemen themselves.
David Steckel didn't play tonight, so rather than calling up another forward from the friendly neighbourhood Marlies, coach Ron Wilson elected to play 7 defensemen and 11 forwards, inserting Keith Aulie into the line-up. This was a major miscalculation on his part. The Leafs just played in Buffalo last night so you know they're going to be a little tired, and yet you dress one less forward. To make matters worse, somehow Philippe Dupuis remained in the starting roster. He played an astonishing 4 minutes and 37 seconds tonight, once again contributing absolutely nothing to the team. So the Leafs basically played with 3 lines against the Canucks, who are one of the best teams in the league.
I don't see the point in dressing 7 defensemen if Keith Aulie is only going to play 7 minutes. The majority of his 7 minutes came out of Luke Schenn's shifts as he only played 10 minutes. This was a waste of a body in the line-up. A very stupid mistake, and one that I shouldn't have to point out because it seems like common sense.
The Leafs have struggled in the month of December picking up a total of 5 points in 7 games thus far with a 2-4-1 record. Jake Gardiner also struggled at times tonight although he looked good at other times. I think giving him a few days off will do good for him to help clear his mind and let him re-focus and re-energize himself before getting back into the rotation.
Can we put a real line-up in for Tuesday nights game please!!!
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel - at around 19 mins/game
Kulemin, Grabovski, Frattin - at around 16 mins/game
MacArthur, Connolly, Crabb - at around 15 mins/game
Boyce, Zigomanis (if Steckel can't play) - Armstrong - at around 10 mins/game
And I swear if Dupuis plays I might just hang myself!!!
Ron Wilson doesn't want that on his conscience does he?