The Toronto Maple Leafs suffered a 6-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, but in some ways Wednesday’s 6-5 shootout defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins was worse.
Blowing a three-goal lead is crushing. It brings up bad memories in Toronto.
When listing off the elite teams in the NHL, the Maple Leafs might not be counted among them, but they do have the potential to be serious competitors. When the squad is clicking, they can be dominant. They certainly started the season that way, but have slipped lately.
And it has coach Randy Carlyle very concerned.
“Well, I don’t sleep well,” he said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “I get stress headaches. I get a lot of things that you guys probably never experience. But that’s all part of it. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. There’s an adrenalin that comes with it, but there’s also some pretty big lows.
“And nights like (Toronto’s loss to Pittsburgh) bring you to Earth in a hurry.”
The Maple Leafs couldn’t even get a shot on goal in the third period or overtime on Wednesday. The last time Toronto went a full period without recording a shot was in April 2000. That’s an example of a larger problem, which is the fact that Toronto has only outshot its opponents three times all season and allow an average of 10 shots more than they fire.
Teams will often talk about the importance of quality shots over quantity, but a differential that big still leaves much to be desired.
Toronto will face off against the only team with a worse shots for-against ratio tonight: The dead last Buffalo Sabres.
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: