Not much point trying to offer up some deep analysis of the Leafs loss in Dallas—it was predictable that when this recent streak came to an end, it would likely happen with a thud.
Long road trip, tired players, some soft play and not the goaltending we have seen much of the season and the result was Dallas in a walkover. It didn’t help that a lot of Stars were “due”, and some of their forwards found their scoring touch at an inopportune time for the blue and white.
Again, this game will mean precious little in April when we are talking about the Leafs playing truly meaningful games. As important as every game is in terms of the playoff race, we are talking about a regular-season game in January in the midst of an 82-game schedule. Toronto was going to lose at some point, and this one made sense.
If this was one of my earlier talked-about “statement” games, or a match-up at the ACC with a divisional rival, maybe it would be worth breaking this one down. But my sense is even the coaching staff will toss the game film and chalk this one up to fatigue and playing a team that probably “needed” it more than the Leafs. (Yes, you always want to see the Leafs show some grit and push back, even when they are getting hammered, but sometimes you just have to turn the page. I will say I wasn't thrilled with Kadri's two-handed slash in the third period. That fell a bit into the category of behaviour I referred to in a recent Kadri post. That's not the kind of grit I was alluding to above.)
One question I do have for you: with the Leafs visiting the Jets in James Reimer’s old stomping grounds on Saturday night, would you go back with Bernier or start Reimer? We know games in Manitoba have a little extra meaning for Reimer. I’ll be interested to see what Carlyle decides, because we know ex-Leaf coach Paul Maurice will have the Jets ready to play.