Mar 25, 2014, 9:47 PM EDT
The sense was that Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier would be thrown right back into the fire after an injury-related hiatus, and the St. Louis Blues definitely made that true with a 23-shot first period on Tuesday. Bernier helped to keep the Maple Leafs competitive, but it wasn’t enough as the Blues won 5-3.
With that, the wilting Leafs have now lost six straight contests, possibly providing fans with a regular season collapse to stomach after last season’s crushing Game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins. (It almost feels mean to mention that at a time like this. Apologies.)
The Maple Leafs must hope that the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets do minimal damage in their games on Tuesday, but more than anything else, they clearly must be in a soul-searching mode right now.
The Blues likely feel just fine, on the other hand, as Ryan Miller is now 8-2-1 with his new team. David Backes collected a hat trick while T.J. Oshie and Alex Steen generated three-point nights (one goal and two assists each). The Blues beefed up their West-leading standings total to 105 points, currently also tops in the NHL.
Bernier stopped 44 Blues shots on Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough against for a falling Leafs squad.
Sometimes on-paper matchups don’t seem as one-sided in reality in sports, but this one went predictably, which turns out to be bad news for a Maple Leafs team that’s grasping for optimism.
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 41
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 24
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 10
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 40
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 22
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs (45)