Whether you judge a team based on simple stats like shots for and against or “fancy” ones like Fenwick Close (which charts puck possession), it’s tough to deny that the Toronto Maple Leafs have received some good luck this season. Even Jonathan Bernier would agree, it seems.
The 25-year-old goalie made such an argument to The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle on Sunday on the heels of the team’s fourth loss in a row.
“We’ve been giving up a lot of shots, and you can’t have luck on your side all season,” Bernier said.
Much has been made about the Maple Leafs striving for “shot quality,” yet Bernier has a point; it’s difficult to paint too pretty a picture about giving up the most shots per game (35.9) while generating the third lowest average of shots each night (26.4).
Toronto’s team save percentage is the fifth highest in the NHL, as Bernier and James Reimer have frequently bailed the Buds out. It will be difficult to sustain such elite work over an 82-game season, however.
Despite this four-game skid, the Maple Leafs find themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, so it’s not all bad news for Toronto. And it probably hasn’t been all bad luck (aside from injuries), either.
Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.
His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.
As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.
The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.
This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.
Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.