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on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing stre

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MessagePosté le: Sam 22 Sep - 03:13 (2018)    Sujet du message: on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing stre Répondre en citant

TORONTO – About a week ago, on a quiet Saturday morning, Randy Carlyle prodded the recent play of his usually potent top line, urging the need for our big guys to get going. But because the Leafs were finding offence from a variety of sources and winning games in mostly thorough fashion the usually-obsessive hockey hub of Toronto barely noticed. That changed Thursday evening when the Leafs stubbed their toe against the hurting New Jersey Devils, their first line hardly making a dent in a 5-3 loss at the ACC. I didnt think our top line was very good and the minutes showed that, Carlyle said afterward, the Leafs top line garnering third-unit ice-time in defeat. And while it may seem a very recent trend, Torontos top line of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has actually been trending in the wrong direction offensively for the better part of a couple weeks. Theyve hit some on a mostly productive top power-play unit, but produced little to nothing at even-strength of late. Kessel, who still leads the team with 17 even-strength points, has just two such points in the past nine games and only one goal. van Riemsdyk, who recently described his start to the season as lacking, has just four even-strength points in that same stretch and is tied with Bozak for fifth on the Leafs this season (behind the likes of Leo Komarov, Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli). Only the 28-year-old Bozak has managed to consistently make an impact, most of that, however, coming on special teams. So often a one-and-done attack last season, the Leafs have gotten by just fine offensively despite that lack of production, ranking second in the league with 3.36 goals per game. Santorelli has emerged with 18 points already, including nine in the past five games. And quiet early despite fine underlying numbers, Kadri and linemate Joffrey Lupul have also recently come alive, the latter posting three goals and five points in three games upon return from injury. Spurred by an unusually quiet and almost withdrawn Kessel, the Leafs top unit spent most of Thursday evening stuck in the defensive zone, rarely challenging Cory Schneider and the Devils, who were playing without a whole slew of top players and had lost five straight previously. We had a tough time getting going, Kessel said a day later, denying speculation that he was hurt while also hinting that he was not at 100 per cent. I think we had a hard time getting into that game [Thursday] night. Its a line that struggles to defend – poor possession numbers indicative of that – one that typically gives up more goals than it scores, but also one that can be a force off the rush many nights – if sometimes sacrificing defence to do so. Kessel, van Riemsdyk, and Bozak have all been on the ice for more goals against this season at even-strength than theyve managed to produce, a trend that dates back to last year and even beyond that to the days of Ron Wilson (Lupul manning the left side of the line at that stage). Only this season has Carlyle (and a revamped coaching staff) started to trim their starts in the defensive zone, matching them less against opposing top lines and easing a burden its become clear they cant always handle. With new assistants Steve Spott and Peter Horachek at his side – along with incumbent Chris Dennis – Carlyle has opted for more of a two-pronged approach this season, often employing a second unit – be it one with Kadri or Peter Holland at centre – to counter-act the best the opposition can throw out there. Theres certain times that you go head to head [with your top line] and when you do you have the confidence that your guys are going to be able to at least manage the same amount of time in the offensive zone – youre not going to be held in your zone for extended periods of time, Carlyle said of the strategy earlier this week. Bozaks faceoff acumen (57 per cent) was an added factor, Carlyle says, offering that group more of an opportunity to start with the puck and make plays thus. It frustrates offensive players, guaranteed it frustrates offensive players if they have to play defence, he said. But rather than frustrate the Devils top offensive players (or what was left of them), it was the Leafs top line that proved frustrated on Thursday. Last night definitely we got frustrated in the end because we werent playing our best, Bozak said. We felt like we were turning it over too much and playing too much in our own end. As noted above, this is not really a new problem for the Leafs. Save for breaking up the line entirely, they could opt for the approach the Canucks formerly took with the Sedin twins. Under then-head coach Alain Vigneault, Vancouver planted Daniel and Henrik almost exclusively in the offensive zone, taking full advantage of their supreme ability to generate offence off the cycle. The trouble for Toronto in doing so similarly is the manner in which their top group generates offence. Thats in transition, the trio thriving off turnovers and speed through the neutral zone. Weve got to use that to our advantage, van Riemsdyk said of the speed game. Were a good skating line and we want to make teams pay when they turn the puck over. Key for Carlyle, conversely, is how they take care of the puck. All three of them can skate, he said. Management of the puck from deep in our zone through the neutral ice is the most critical. Like Wilson before him, Carlyle appears willing to put up with the lines defensive troubles if it can match, at the very least, those troubles with some offence. But thats not been the case of late, hence the push for something more. The key is knowing what we have to do better, van Riemsdyk said, but theres no reason for us to be panicking. Weve still scored a bunch of goals and played good offensively, weve just got to find a little bit more consistency with it and well be fine. Sam Bradford Cardinals Jersey . -- Navy football player Will McKamey, who has been hospitalized since collapsing at practice three days ago, has died while in a coma. Josh Rosen Jersey . Paul George and Darren Collison each scored 17 points and Roy Hibbert added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers (9-3), who won their third straight. With their coach gone, they finally played offence the way he would have wanted. Amare Stoudemire made all seven shots in the first half, Anthony passed and shot well, and the Knicks shook off the surprising departure of their coach to rout the Portland Trail Blazers 121-79 on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing streak. Arizona Cardinals Jerseys . Setting United on its way to a 2-0 victory, Rooney sent the ball high from inside the halfway line over goalkeeper Adrian after just seven minutes. "Its just instinct, Ive turned and had a quick look and seen the goalkeeper off his line," Rooney said. 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