Lundqvist, Rangers shut down Maple Leafs
With only one gifted goal-scorer in the Maple Leafs lineup, Toronto is struggling to find to score — at all.
The Maple Leafs’ goal drought reached 122 minutes 24 seconds in a 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Henrik Lundqvist played a big part in Toronto’s second consecutive shutout loss by making 36 saves, but Wilson felt his club helped the Swedish goalie look good.
The majority of the Maple Leafs’ shots came from the outside. And when the team was presented with a good opportunity from in close, it failed to capitalize.
”We’ve got to just find a way around the front of the net,” Wilson said. ”Be sharper, be ready, think like a goal-scorer. We’ve got a lot of guys on our team … who don’t have a resume that says they’ve scored anywhere. We’ve only got two or three guys who feel comfortable with some scoring chances.
”Other guys, maybe they get a little nervous when they’re in tight.”
The Maple Leafs (5-4-1) have scored only seven goals in six games, going 1-4-1 in that span – including two losses to the Rangers.
Toronto is entering its first set of back-to-back games this season. The Maple Leafs hope to rediscover their offense before hosting Ottawa on Tuesday and visiting Washington on Wednesday.
”No one’s going to come in and help us get out of this,” captain Dion Phaneuf said. ”It’s the guys that are in this room that are going to get us out of this, and we’re confident we will.”
There is some solace to be found in the amount of chances they generated against the Rangers. Toronto attempted 92 shots — 21 missed the net and 35 were blocked.
”He’s good on his angles,” Leafs forward Clark MacArthur said of Lundqvist. ”If he’s going to see pucks, he’s going to stop them. He’s fortunate to have a team like that where they’re diving in front of everything and they clog it up. We had our chances, we had point-blank chances.
”We just didn’t capitalize.”
Playing for the third time in four nights, the Rangers didn’t have a ton of energy. They were opportunistic with their chances, getting a first-period goal from Brian Boyle on the rush before Ryan Callahan converted a penalty shot late in the second.
”We started off slow, but we got our legs going,” New York coach John Tortorella said. ”I thought we did a really good job of playing a simple game and just grinding — because it was a tired team, but we found a way to win.”
Phaneuf had six shots through 40 minutes, sending every opportunity he could at the net. Tyler Bozak had three prime scoring chances, but still has only one goal this season.
Lundqvist kept Mikhail Grabovski searching for his goal by sprawling in his crease to deny him late in the game.
The discouragement was evident on the faces of the Toronto players when the second period ended. Despite outplaying the Rangers, the Maple Leafs left the ice following their fifth straight scoreless period.
It didn’t get any better in the final 20 minutes.
”I don’t think you worry until you don’t get chances,” Leafs forward Tim Brent said. ”We’re getting lots of chances. Guys are just a little bit snake-bitten right now. We’re not pushing the panic button, we’re doing a lot of things well.
”It’s going to come for us.”