December 2, 2010
Leafs embarrassed by Oilers
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - More than one player called it embarrassing.
Another talked about the frustration of the team “quitting” in the third period.
And more than one angry tirade took place in the dressing room afterward. If the Maple Leafs didn’t hit rock bottom in the shameful final 20 minutes Thursday’s 5-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, they should be able to smell it.
When one of only three teams below you in the standings comes in and wins despite playing a third road game in four nights, that smell is pretty strong.
“It’s embarrassing to wear that jersey and come in here and play that way in front of our home fans,” defenceman Mike Komisarek said. “We gave them lots to boo, you can’t blame them.”
By the end, the only thing drowning out the boos were the friends and family of Oilers rookie Taylor Hall, who rubbed it in with a pair of goals, showing off the flash that made him the first pick overall.
“For sure (there was anger in the dressing room) after a game like that, the way we finished,” defenceman Francois Beauchemin said. “We’ll keep (what was said) for ourselves.”
End in Sight?
It doesn’t get any easier for the Leafs, who with 20 points have just one more than they did at this point last season.
Boston is up next this Saturday at the Air Canada Centre followed by road games in Washington and Pittsburgh ... With a sixth shutout on the season, the Leafs have now scored one goal or less in just 10 of their 25 games ... Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin shouldn’t have exactly struck fear in the shooters on your local Junior B squad. Prior to Thursday, he had a 4-10 record with a 4.07 goals against average and .879 save percentage ... Of all the great Oilers teams of the past, none ever managed to shut out the Leafs in Toronto.
The Leafs held a wide edge in play, especially in the first period when they outshot the Oilers 12-4, but had nothing to show for it. By coach Ron Wilson’s count, before the Oilers scored the backbreaker with three seconds left in the second to go up 3-0, the Leafs had out-chanced Edmonton, 15-3. “We misfired in some situations, fanned on the puck,” Wilson said. “You can just see the tension mounty as the crowd gets stirred up.” ... Jonas Gustavsson, making his seventh consecutive start got the hook in the second period after giving up two goals in the first six shots, both of which he should have had ... On too many nights, it’s over before it starts for the Leafs, who are now 2-11-1 when the opponent scores first.
As has been the case far too often for the Leafs, the first three goals all came off poor defensive play. On the first, Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle blew by Tomas Kaberle and fired a tough-angle backhander past Gustavsson. On the second, it was Beauchemin, who fell victim to the speedy Hall. And on the third, it was Kaberle again, waving his stick in the air when he should have knocked Sam Gagner on his rear in front of the Leafs net ... That third goal was a killer considering it came with less than three seconds left AND the Leafs won a faceoff in the offensive zone with 12 seconds remaining in the period ... Even though the Oilers should have been tired after playing three road games in four nights (all victories), the Leafs allowed the young legs too much room to roam. “There was too much of a gap between our forwards and D,” Komisarek said.
With a goal and two assists, Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle (the team’s first rounder from 2008) now has 18 points. That would tie him for the Leafs scoring lead ... Hall now has eight goals and 14 points ... By the second period, Nazem Kadri’s brief tryout as No. 1 centre was on hold. He was back on the wing with Tyler Bozak in the middle and Phil Kessel on the other side ... Time to lift the ban on comparisons to last season. The Leafs slipped to 8-12-4 with Thursday’s loss, giving them just one more point from the 6-12-7 mark a year ago .... Tweet of the night from our man Beezer who wondered if it’s okay with GM Brian Burke to boo that sad third period effort ... Kadri had his best chances to score his first goal as a Leaf, including a wraparound attempt against Khabibulin. “I’ve got to bury those,” Kadri said. “It’s frustrating.”