Missed Opportunities Plague Leafs in Loss to Pens
By DAVE MCCARTHY
For about 51 minutes last night, the Leafs turned in arguably their best effort of the season, finding themselves ahead 4-1 over the Penguins.
Pittsburgh seemed unable to handle the Leafs’ speed through the neutral zone, and the Leafs held their top two players, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, under control.
But as soon as Steve Sullivan beat Jonas Gustavsson to bring the Penguins within two goals at 8:33 of the third period, the momentum started to shift away from the Leafs.
With 6.6 seconds left, Malkin deflected in the game-tying goal before notching the winner in a shootout.
Still, missed opportunities are really the story of the game for the Leafs.
Luke Schenn had a pair of excellent scoring chances that he couldn’t take advantage of in the second period, missing a tap-in at the side of the net as well as ringing a shot off the post while staring down a wide-open net minutes later.
Nik Kulemin also flubbed a tap-in during the second.
In overtime, Phil Kessel couldn’t handle a loose puck in front of the net with Fleury down and out, a chance he would normally capitalize on.
Add up all those missed chances, and this is a loss that really stings.
The Leafs were just 6.6 seconds away from pulling to within three points of the Penguins, but instead go into tonight’s rematch six points back.
Call it a missed opportunity in a game full of missed opportunities.
Dave’s Pick: Penguins (Leafs Season Record: 20-22)