Leafs 1 v. Red Wings 5: Not So Special Teams
The less said about this game the better. To sum up the game, this was the biggest disappointment of the season. I am not a big fan of the new schedule and hate to see it killing a wonderful original six rivalry. The Leafs will host the Red Wings next year and if the schedule is not changed they will not see each other for another two years.
The Leafs were undisciplined but the referees also contributed to their woes with some atrocious calls. At the end of the day, the Leafs penalty killing, once a strength, was again a weakness and it made a difference. The Leafs also got 9 powerplays, many of the dubious variety, and could not capitalize on more than one chance and in the end the special team battle decided the game. At even strength I thought that the Leafs competed well and had more of the game been played 5-on-5 would have stood a better chance of winning. However, as has been symptomatic in this losing streak, the Red Wings capitalized on their mistakes and the Leafs offence was not able to create chances.
These games used to be some of the best of the season as the form book could be thrown out because no matter where the teams stood in the standings they would both play up to the occassion. This game was about the furthest from that as possible. The Joe Louis Arena was so quiet that I could hear Maurice and Babcock yelling, there were tons of empty seats in the same areas as at the ACC (clue to the anti-Leafs: it's the rich people at all games and sports not only at Leafs games), and the brutal refereeing robbed the game of any semblance of flow. On the basis of this schedule I agree with Cherry that I would prefer that they do not play each other for another 10 years but the best solution would be a better schedule that would allow these two old rivals to face each other more than once a year.