Leafs fall again
NEWARK, N.J.—Head coach Randy Carlyle knows he needs to pull his Toronto Maple Leafs back together—he’s just not sure how.
Embattled goalie James Reimer gave up three goals on 10 shots in less than 22 minutes of action yesterday as Toronto lost to the New Jersey Devils 3-2—their fifth-straight loss.
“We have to find a way to stop the bleeding here, and do everything in our power to regroup with this hockey club and get them playing to a higher level,” stressed Carlyle, who refused to address Toronto’s goaltending situation.
“When we do play for stretches, we look like a team that could play with anybody,” he noted.
“And then we are inept in some areas where the puck doesn’t bounce our way, or hits a post.
“All the good fortune we had earlier seems piled against us,” Carlyle added.
The Leafs have been struggling in goal with Jonathan Bernier out with a groin injury, and they’re barely hanging on to a playoff spot.
The win moved the Devils within five points of Toronto for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Washington is a point behind the Leafs with a game in hand while Columbus is two points back with two games in hand.
Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel scored for the Leafs (36-29-8), who have tied the longest skid of the season.
The slump could not have come at a worse time with just nine games left in the regular season.
“We have a lot of games left. We have to come together as a team and battle,” said Bozak, who repeatedly said the team let Reimer down and it wasn’t fair to blame the goalie.
New Jersey, meanwhile, is peaking at the right time—benefiting from good goaltending by Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur.
Schneider made 21 saves and withstood a furious late attack as the Devils took advantage of Toronto mistakes to take a 3-0 lead early in the second period.
“I know the statistics don’t say that but I really feel we can win every game,” Devils’ coach Pete DeBoer said of his team’s playoff chances after winning for only the second time in six games.
“You look at our schedule and if our goaltending continues to play the way it is, I think we can win every game.”
“Anything is possible,” agreed Devils’ captain Bryce Salvador.
“We are not looking 10 games ahead,” he stressed. “We’re just looking at the next game.
“We’re trying to play every game like it’s the last game.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Vancouver doubled Buffalo 4-2, Minnesota nipped Detroit 4-3 (OT), Nashville blanked Chicago 2-0, the N.Y. Islanders downed Columbus 2-0, St. Louis nipped Pittsburgh 1-0, and Anaheim beat Florida 6-2.