Five reasons for Leafs' funk
Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency
|Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer takes a break during practice in Winnipeg December 30, 2011.
(BRIAN DONOGH/QMI AGENCY)
Five reasons behind the Maple Leafs’ 0-1-1 post-Christmas funk:
1. Reim Time Not So Fine
With friends and family in attendance, James Reimer will try to rediscover his lost form in Winnipeg Saturday night. Reimer was yanked after allowing three goals on seven shots in a 5-3 loss in Florida Tuesday, then could not withstand a late Carolina charge as the Hurricanes overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit to post a 4-3 overtime win. Of more concern: Reimer has allowed at least three goals in seven of his past 10 games.
2. Breakaway Breakdowns
In both the Florida and Carolina losses, defensive brain drains resulted in the opposition scoring on breakaways within 40 seconds of Leaf goals. Such lapses are driving the coaching staff bonkers and strip the Leafs of any momentum they may have gained from their own goals.
3. Blue line Blues
Defensive miscues by Jake Gardiner, Luke Schenn, Cody Franson and Dion Phaneuf all have resulted in goals-against during the first two games of this three-game trip, much to the chagrin of Ron Wilson. With John-Michael Liles out with concussion-like symptoms, the rest of the defence must pick up the slack. This isn’t the way.
4. Penalty-killing Chaos
So what else is new? The league’s 30th-ranked PK allowed a pair of goals in Florida, then was on the ice for Eric Staal’s overtime winner in Carolina Thursday after Tim Connolly took a silly minor in the extra period. It remains the No. 1 problem for this team.
Wilson quipped that his top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul wasn’t very good against the Canes. Reimer has struggled, and so has Phaneuf. Connolly has been invisible. If you can’t count on your big guns, who can you count on?