February 27, 2011
Leafs power play fails in Atlanta
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
Apparently the awakening of the mostly dormant Leafs power play hasn’t quite taken hold just yet.
After scoring five with the extra man in their previous two games, the Leafs were 0-for-four — including three of those with a 2-0 lead — squandering a golden opportunity to take a commanding lead over the Thrashers.
“Obviously we didn’t do the little things that you need to do on the power play and it cost us,” said Phil Kessel, who scored an even-strength goal 8:34 into the first to give the Leafs a 2-0 lead.
With 26 on the season, Kessel has seven goals in his past seven games and is on pace for 34.
After finishing a stretch of three games in four nights, the Leafs returned home following Sunday’s game for a couple days to catch their breath and withstand Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
While Monday is expected to be a complete day off, the team won’t have much time to kick back as they head right into another back-to-back set vs. the state of Pennsylvania. On Wednesday the Penguins, who were just at the Air Canada Centre Saturday to record a 6-5 shootout win, are back for more. Thursday the Leafs take on the Eastern Conference-leading Flyers in Philadelphia.
To the bullpen
After starting goaltender James Reimer was run over by Atlanta’s Evander Kane early in the second period, Jean-Sebastien Giguere had to loosen up for his first action in five games since aggravating a groin injury.
The veteran returned to the Leafs dressing room to prepare while Reimer was kept in to hold the fort until Giguere was ready to return.
“Obviously I saw the hit and it looked pretty bad,” Giguere said. “Then they came and told me. I had a little bit of a notice. I came in the room and warmed up a little bit. (Reimer) did look good so I thought maybe they weren’t going to need me.
“It’s not the best situation to go into, but you need to be ready.”
Given the fragile status of their goaltending situation, the Leafs brought Ben Scrivens along for the trip and it turned out to be for good reason. The minor leaguer was dispatched from the press box after Reimer’s injury and was dressed and ready to go in the event of Giguere going down ... Sunday’s 5 p.m. start was an oddity for the Leafs, their only daylight puck drop of the 2010-11 season ... Jonas Gustavsson’s conditioning stint with the Marlies continues to go well. The Monster, who is recovering from a heart ablation surgery, stopped 29 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Manitoba Moose Sunday at the Ricoh Coliseum ... Nik Kulemin opened the scoring with his 22nd of the season but the man sure loves playing the Thrashers. It was his fifth goal in four games against the Thrashers this season ... Despite the loss, Atlanta is friendly territory for the Leafs — they now have a 13-5-2 lifetime record here against the Thrashers ... The loss snapped a three-game road win streak for the Leafs but the Leafs have just one regulation loss in their past 11 games overall.