Onlookers bicker endlessly about whether the Toronto Maple Leafs are a legitimate playoff team or not, but there seems to be at least two things people should agree upon: they’re rarely boring or predictable. Maybe it’s fitting that equally up-and-down Dallas Stars ended Toronto’s winning streak by an emphatic 7-1 margin on Thursday, then.
The Stars came into the second period with a 2-1 lead, which is when things really unraveled for Toronto. The Stars bumped their lead from 2-1 to 6-1 with four goals in about nine minutes, makng it a miserable night for Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer.
Valeri Nichushkin also got the last laugh considering that pair of collisions with Sergei Gonchar, as the Russian Olympian scored two goals and one assist. Jamie Benn was the true standout, however, as he collected four points (one goal, three assists).
The Maple Leafs have been about as streaky as you can get in the last couple months. Just soak in their highs and lows since Nov. 25:
Nov. 25 – Dec. 3: Five straight losses
Dec. 5 – 14: Two wins, three losses and then one win.
Dec. 16 – 23: Losses in four of five.
Dec. 27 – Jan.1: Three straight victories.
Jan. 4 – 10: Four losses in a row
Jan. 12 – 21: Six wins in a row
And then they lost today.
At this point, the only thing we can safely know is their record: 27-21-5 for 59 points in 53 games played, which keeps them in the thick of the playoff hunt, whether they’re genuine contenders or just lucky.
This dominant win is a heck of a way for the Kings to begin an imposing seven-game road trip, which continues against the New York Islanders on Thursday. The Bruins probably want to burn the tape on this one themselves, as they’re about to head on a six-game road trip.
Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic
Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.
Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”
Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.
That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.
After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
#TORvsCGY Roster Update: Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Lance Bouma will be healthy scratches for tonight’s game vs. the #Leafs.