By HOWARD BERGER
VANCOUVER (Nov. 3) – No, the Maple Leafs did not sweep a western-Canada road trip for the first time since March 2000.
In fact, it wasn’t even close.
Leafs had a couple or three lousy performances in their renaissance a year ago but were never quite so overwhelmed as last night here at Rogers Arena. In their worst game since before the lockout, Leafs capitulated from the opening face-off in a 4-0 loss to Vancouver Canucks that could have been 9-0. Knowing the arena would be electrified after the ceremony to retire Pavel Bure’s No. 10 jersey, the visitors were absolutely man-handled. Daniel Sedin scored the only goal Vancouver would need at 6:03 of the opening period and Leafs were embarrassed, 11-0, on the shot-clock in the first 6:32 of play.
Ultimately, they were out-blasted, 47-21; 133-70 on the trip through Edmonton, Calgary and here. Somehow, Leafs won two out of three. And, somehow, James Reimer avoided a nervous breakdown – having been peppered with 90 shots in two games.
THERE WERE NO BRIGHT LIGHTS IN THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS LINE-UP HERE ON SATURDAY. SHOT-CLOCK EARLY IN THE GAME (BELOW) TOLD THE ENTIRE STORY.
Already without No. 2 center Tyler Bozak, Leafs lost their No. 4 man – David Bolland – to a gruesome injury. A collision along the corner boards with Zack Kassian resulted in a lacerated Achilles Tendon. If he’s lucky, Bolland – after undergoing surgery here – will be sidelined in the neighborhood of 40 games. If he can’t recover as remarkably as Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson did last year, Bolland could be out for the remainder of the season. Leafs will miss his good work at both ends of the ice, and his opportunistic scoring. With Nazem Kadri, Jay McClement and rookie Trevor Smith, Toronto is woefully shallow up the middle; Bozak is expected to miss at least five more games. Jarred Smithson is an option from the AHL Toronto Marlies and James van Riemsdyk was shifted to center after Bolland went down. But, when Randy Carlyle borrows from one area, it weakens another.
Given that Bozak should be back reasonably soon, Leafs general manager David Nonis probably won’t make any drastic move on the trade front. The gory photo details, now, from my trusty Nikon:
DANIEL SEDIN JUMPS IN FRONT OF JAMES REIMER, WHO SMOTHERS SHOT FROM THE POINT ON SECOND-PERIOD VANCOUVER POWERPLAY.
PRE-GAME COLOR, FROM ROGERS ARENA PRESS BOX.
PAVEL BURE CEREMONY
ICE REFLECTS BURE’S NO. 10 JERSEY WHILE MASTER OF CEREMONY – JIM HUGHSON OF HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA – MAKES OPENING REMARKS.
BURE WAVES TO CROWD ON HIS WAY TO LECTERN.
DURING SPEECH, BURE TURNS TOWARD HIS HOCKEY MENTOR AND FIRST NHL COACH – PAT QUINN – SEATED AT LOWER LEFT IN PHOTO.
BURE WATCHES HIS NO. 10 BANNER RISE TO THE GIRDERS OF ROGERS ARENA.
WES McCAULEY SETS TO DROP PUCK BETWEEN HENRIK SEDIN AND DAVE BOLLAND.
DANIEL SEDIN DEFLECTS BROTHER’S SHOT PAST REIMER ON THE POWERPLAY AT 6:03 OF THE FIRST PERIOD. IT WAS ALL VANCOUVER WOULD NEED ON THIS NIGHT.
ROBERTO LUONGO HAD AN EASY NIGHT, EARNING HIS SECOND SHUT-OUT OF THE SEASON. HERE, HE LOOKS PAST JOFFREY LUPUL AND TEAMMATE CHRIS TANEV.
LEAFS WERE FRUSTRATED FROM THE OUTSET AND IT LED TO PHIL KESSEL’S SECOND NHL FIGHT (ABOVE) – AGAINST ALEX BURROWS LATE IN THE FIRST PERIOD.
COLTON ORR AND TOM SESTITO HAD A LENGTHY GAB-FEST, WHICH PROMPTED REFEREE FREDRICK L’ECUYER TO GIVE EACH MAN A 10-MINUTE MISCONDUCT. ORR AND SESTITO FOUGHT LATER IN THE GAME, BUT VANCOUVER ALREADY HAD A 3-0 LEAD.
DAVID CLARKSON OF THE MAPLE LEAFS MAKES VEHEMENT POINT TOWARD RYAN KESLER OF VANCOUVER DURING ANOTHER FIRST-PERIOD SCRUM.
PRESS ROW AT ROGERS ARENA.
TYPICALLY, THE CROWD WAS A MIX OF BOTH TEAM’S JERSEYS.
ZACK KASSIAN BURIED A PASS FROM BRAD RICHARDSON TO GIVE CANUCKS A 2-0 LEAD AT 2:07 OF THE SECOND PERIOD – AFTER WHICH REIMER TOOK A BREATHER (BELOW).
LUONGO LOOKS UP AT REFEREE L’ECUYER AFTER A RARE MOMENT OF LEAF PRESSURE. THE CANUCKS GOALIE DIDN’T HAVE TO PEEK AROUND SKATERS VERY OFTEN (BELOW).
MY PERCH IN ROGERS ARENA PRESS BOX.
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