Maple Leafs look to avenge humiliating loss to Predators
NASHVILLE The players certainly don need to be reminded of a defeat that for many might have been the worst of their professional careers.
That 9 2 loss to the Predators back in November was like watching a car crash in slow motion, the most humiliating night of a Maple Leafs season that has seen more than a few.
be lying if I said that one didn sting you more than a regular game, Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk said after the team practised here on Monday afternoon. embarrassing the way we lost.
was one of the biggest snowball games I ever been involved in. We have it in the back of our minds and try to make up for it. through a losing skid that is now streaking towards double digits, the Leafs can be picky about where and when they eventually get their next victory.
And when they face the NHL leading Predators here on Tuesday night, it won be the easiest assignment for a team that has lost nine in a row and scored a pathetic 13 goals in its past 16 games.
But as trade talk swirls around them and their rapid slide down the standings continues, the next assignment is an opportunity to tap into some professional pride.
not fun to be a part of a game like that, Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said. on the bench watching what happened and you don like that feeling. ugly as it was, the loss was certainly a flashpoint of this disappointing Leafs season.
The team rallied from it originally, going on a lengthy winning streak that, as it turns out, just prolonged the inevitable.
When their fortunes reversed in late December, the Leafs haven been able to get back on track and now find themselves in one of their worst losing streaks in decades.
That night at the Air Canada Centre was about as bad as it gets, however.
Jonathan Bernier, who will get the start on Tuesday, was yanked after surrendering three goals in the opening 20 minutes and by the end of the night, jerseys were being tossed and the Leafs were being lustily booed off the ice.
There hasn been much to like in the current slide either, with the possibility of a 10th consecutive loss against a Predators team that has become a Western Conference force. A January that saw Toronto go 1 11 1 was as tumultuous as it was terrible, including the firing of coach Randy Carlyle.
## ## His replacement behind the Leafs bench, Peter Horachek, is still seeking his second win as Toronto head coach and certainly would love for it to come against the franchise that fired him.
my mind, yeah, I like to win and I like to win in this building, said Horachek, who spent nine years in the Music City as an assistant to Barry Trotz. the team needs to get in a place where they can believe that what they are doing is right and the results are going to follow.
team needs to feel the confidence that the work they are putting in is going to pay off. through the current losing streak, Leafs players have stuck to their guns about buying into Horachek demands for more responsible defensive work. Some nights it is paying off, like this past Saturday when they held the Flyers to just 18 shots on goal in a 1 0 defeat.
playing better hockey and I know we been saying that but it about results, Rielly said. not going to make excuses for ourselves we got to find a way out of it. We got to work harder and start putting the puck in the net. We have the firepower and we have the skill. can see the grim news in the standings as clear as the next guy, but believes that the players are working towards the style of game he would prefer them to play.
certainly embracing what I saying, but I would still like more, Horachek said. are areas where we like to have more detail.
disappointed and frustrated a little because we not getting the results. But we improving in the areas that we want them to improve in.