The following article details the three people who can be blamed for the loss and what they need to correct in order to pull out a victory against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens were left defenseless against the Panthers
Luke Schenn looked lost against the Panthers
Luke Schenn needs to play like he did last year. After being a healthy scratch in the game against Boston on Saturday he was back on the ice, and looked lost.
It seems that he is afraid to hit people. He was a minus-three on the ice against the Panthers and twice he was caught standing around when the puck was in the net.
Last year Schenn was near the top in the league in hits with 251. This year he is on pace to record around 200, well below what he is capable of. But a defenseman isn’t just supposed to hit guys; he’s supposed to help out his goalie. The Panthers were able to expose Schenn all night and gave both Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens a tough night in net.
What makes this worse is that Schenn was only on the ice for a total time of 12:38. That means technically the opposing team will score every 4.12 minutes Schenn is on the ice. He is a talented player with a great skill set, but he has yet to find his groove this year.
If the Leafs are going to make the playoffs this year, Schenn needs to step up and he has to do it soon.
Ron Wilson just doesn't trust "The Monster"
Ron Wilson needs to have more faith in Jonas Gustavsson. This is a guy who is in his third year in the NHL. He was touted as the best goalie not in the NHL when the Maple Leafs signed him back in 2009.
But it seems like every time Gustavsson is about to go on a hot streak, Wilson does something to rattle him. I get the feeling, just by watching Wilson’s body language, that he doesn’t particularly like “The Monster.” However with James Reimer out for what is closing in on almost a month, you’re going to need to rely on Gustavsson. Let him play against the big guys like Boston and don’t pull him after three goals against the Panthers.
Gustavsson made some outstanding saves throughout the night but a goalie can only be as good as the team in front. (I know the Bruins scored six goals on Gustavsson the first time they met, but it would have been interesting to see if he learned from his mistakes if he started on Saturday.)
Gustavsson needs to be told he is their No. 1 guy until Reimer comes back and I’m sure that will instill some confidence in him.
Clarke MacArthur ain't what he used to be, yet
Clarke MacArthur is not the guy he was last year. It was a breakout season for MacArthur in 2010-11 but so far this year he has not lived up to his ability.
Against the Panthers he was a minus-two while only getting one shot on net in 14:45 of ice time. MacArthur needs to generate more opportunities for him and his linemates. When you’re expecting him to be a winger on your second line, you aren’t asking him to score every game. What you are asking is for some good two-way playing while generating enough chances to keep the opposing goaltender on the edge.
Jose Theodore has a losing record in his career against the Leafs. On Tuesday night he looked absolutely dominant. MacArthur needs to become a threatening presence like he was last year, or the Leafs may have to start looking elsewhere for some secondary scoring.