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.C. – The hole was three goals deep after just eight minutes and 44 seconds. And it would ultimately prove too daunting for the Maple Leafs to overcome in the U.S. capital. Doomed by the drudge of a sleepy start they fell in regulation Sunday afternoon for just the fifth time in the past 23 games (15-5-4), their comeback attempts sullied a 4-2 loss to the feisty Washington Capitals. Coming off a successful swing through the California triangle – they won twice – Toronto mustered just two shots in a stunted opening 20 minutes back east, down 3-0 before the frame was even halfway over. Washington scored twice on its first two power-play attempts, adding another from Jason Chimera at even-strength. “It looked like we were still in for our afternoon nap,” mused head coach Randy Carlyle of the period with some frustration afterward. “We werent good enough in the first 10 minutes,” added James Reimer, appearing in his third straight game. “You cant spot a team three goals. We just werent sharp, myself included, and it cost us. I thought we dominated the second and the third was anyones game, we just couldnt quite climb out of the three-goal hole.” The Leafs did dominate the middle period with the same emphasis as the Capitals did the first. They outshot the home-side 10-1 in the opening 11 minutes and 20-6 overall. But with three power-play opportunities and a slew of chances to score they could only get one by Jaroslav Halak, the eighth this season from Dion Phaneuf. David Clarkson had maybe the best opportunity to even the proceedings at three. Stuck with just one goal in the past 21 games and only four this season, the 29-year-old thought hed beaten Halak only to see the puck trickle off the goaltender and out. “Thats been the story this year,” Clarkson said. “I think even if I didnt celebrate it was still laying there for me to poke in.” Never coming closer he and the Leafs fell for the second time on a season-long road trip that wraps up Tuesday in Detroit against the hurting Red Wings. The momentum of emphatic wins in Anaheim and L.A. failed to carry over on the road back east. Knowing that first place in the Atlantic division is lost – Boston is up 15 points – Toronto has set its sights now on securing second spot and home-ice advantage in the first round. With 13 games to go they have 80 points, one up on Tampa and Montreal, who each carry games in hand. “If we wouldve won this one we wouldve been in a great spot,” said Carl Gunnarsson of the road trip at large. “Weve got a big one coming up here in Detroit to make it a good one.” Five Points 1. First Periods A nemesis on Sunday afternoon and all season for that matter, first periods have been a regular sore spot for the Leafs. Washington scored three unanswered in the opening frame on this day. Troy Bodie added a late goal to cut the deficit to two, just the second of two shots in the period for Toronto. Utterly displeased with his teams performance, Carlyle gathered the entire team for a chat during the second TV timeout. “It was more or less just get going,” Bodie said of Carlyles message. “We didnt have our feet going. We werent ready to play.” The Leafs boast a minus-15 goal differential in first periods this season, by far the worst of the three stanzas. Scoring their second of the night while out-shooting the Capitals 20-6, they improved to plus-13 in second periods. “I think finally we got our legs under us,” said Clarkson. “We started going and we kind of put them back on their heels a little bit.” 2. PK Stumbles The rising Leafs penalty kill entered the day with an 88 per cent success rate in the previous 14 games, turning the corner from an awful first half. “We knew we couldnt give up on it,” Jay McClement told the Leaf Report before the game. “We just had to keep working and wed get better because virtually its the same group of us from last year. I dont know what the reason was [for our struggles], but now it seems like weve got the confidence back.” That is until they faced the second best power-play unit in the league at the Verizon Center. Shadowing Alex Ovechkin, who leads the league with 19 power-play goals, the Leafs gave up a pair on Washingtons first two opportunities with the man advantage, once from an open Troy Brouwer in the slot, a second from Joel Ward on the back-door. “We missed assignments on our coverage,” said Carlyle. “You cant let Troy Brouwer shoot the puck from 10 feet in front of your goaltender. Theres obviously a missed assignment and missed coverage in that situation.” 3. Man Advantage Yields Little Boasting just two goals now in the past 11 games – 7 per cent in that span – the Toronto power-play meanwhile continued its dry spell. The Leafs grappled with three consecutive power-plays in the middle period, but failed to score even once. “We believe in our power-play,” said Joffrey Lupul prior to the game. “And theres going to be stretches when you dont get those goals, but as long as we keep doing things right with some of the scorers we have on the team eventually the power-play opportunities are going to turn into goals.” Punch-less on many recent nights, the Leafs did have their opportunities against the Capitals, mustering eight shots. Sneaking in from the right point Cody Franson had maybe the best opportunity to beat Halak, but was ultimately turned aside. The unit currently sits in a four-way tie for third overall at 20.7 per cent. 4. Goalies James Reimer made his third straight appearance Sunday, starting in place of the injured Jonathan Bernier. Fighting the puck early, Reimer yielded three goals on the first five shots, but settled as the night wore on. He made key stops in the final frame, including one on Jason Chimera breaking in partially alone.Citing the now 26-year-olds rebound trouble in that opening frame, Carlyle said he considered pulling Reimer in favour of Drew MacIntyre after the third Washington goal. “We did think about that,” said Carlyle. “But I didnt want to throw Drew into that type of situation without giving him a heads up …Weve got Reims here and weve got to show the confidence for him to fight through some of those situations. We know that Reims is going to start the next game in all probability.” Carlyle had little to offer as far as an update on Bernier, who remained with the team in Washington Sunday ahead of the trip to Detroit. Its clear the 25-year-old will miss his second straight game against the Red Wings Tuesday, the clarity of lower-body injury yet to be fully revealed. 5. Kadris Evolution Nazem Kadri said recently that “I want to become a complete player that this team can trust” and among coaches and teammates that desire for evolution has been seen on the ice. “I think hes maturing as a player,” said Carlyle of the 23-year-old, who established a new career-high for points in Los Angeles this past Thursday night. “I still think theres some room for Nazzie to grow. But I still think youve got to give the kid credit. Hes under a microscope. Hes under a lot of pressure to come in as a young player and play those minutes. We have all kinds of confidence [in him]. [But] maybe not as much confidence as he has if you know what I mean.” “Hes better in his defensive zone for sure,” added Lupul. “Just positioning and using his body and his stick down low. I think everyone probably saw the offensive talents [which] have always been there, but now – Ive been playing on his line for a while now – hes pretty reliable defensively. And as a winger he gets in a spot where youre able to find him, get him the puck.” For Lupul, thats the indicator for when Kadri is at his best. “I think thats one thing for me that when hes playing really well thats what I notice about being on his line is hes putting himself in a spot where hes basically demanding the puck and that he gets it. That shows his confidence and thats how you can kind of tell when hes on the top of his game.” Kadri finished with two shots in 20 minutes against the Capitals. Stats-Pack 35-40 – Toronto penalty kill over 14 games preceding Sunday in Washington. 54 – Consecutive games missed by Dave Bolland, who is still recovering from a left ankle injury, his return status as yet unknown. 15-5-3 – Leafs record in the past 23 games. 2-28 – Toronto power-play over the past 11 games. 29 – Points this season for Dion Phaneuf, eclipsing the mark he set in 48 games last season. Fighting the flu, Phaneuf had a goal and an assist in defeat against the Capitals. 42-57 – Goal differential for the Leafs in first periods this season, favouring the opposition. 8-15-4 – Leafs record this season when trailing after the first period. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 20.7% (T-3rd) PK: 2-4Season: 78.4% (28th) Quote of the Night “It looked like we were still in for our afternoon nap.” -Randy Carlyle, on his teams performance in the opening period Sunday. Up Next The Leafs conclude their five-game road trip with a division battle against the Red Wings on Tuesday. Allen Craig Cardinals Jersey
. 2 Ohio State to a 64-35 drubbing of Texas-Pan American on Saturday. Buckeyes sophomore forward Jared Sullinger missed the game with back spasms, but that didnt stop Ohio State (8-0), as Deshaun Thomas dropped 11 points to go with five rebounds, while Scott Shannon and Jordan Sibert contributed seven points apiece. Chris Tillman Orioles Jersey
.ca. In addition to the game being aired in its entirety on CTV Two Vancouver Island and TSN.ca, TSN2 will also have coverage of Whitecaps FC immediately following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Toyota Owners 400.MIAMI -- Former Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Jason Fox signed a one-year contract Wednesday with the Miami Dolphins, and hes confident he can fill one of their vacancies up front. A Texas native, Fox chose Miami after four injury-hampered seasons for the Detroit Lions. "Im very comfortable with South Florida," he said. "I consider it a second home. But the main reason was the Miami Dolphins. Im so excited to be here. Their offensive line presents a great opportunity for me to come in and compete." The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Fox is expected to contend for playing time at either guard position or right tackle. The Dolphins will likely have new starters at all three spots as they revamp their offensive line, which endured a dismal 2013 season both on and off the field. The unit became the focus of the teams bullying scandal. "Everyy athlete wants to be a starter," Fox said. Carlos Quentin Padres Jersey
. "There are some openings in this offensive line, and I came here to give it everything I have and earn a starting job." At a minimum, the Dolphins anticipate Fox will give them some much-needed depth. "Jason has been a quality player," general manager Dennis Hickey said. "Hes a guy who brings passion, commitment to the game and toughness." Fox made only three starts with the Lions, all last year at right tackle. He played in eight games in 2013 and was slowed by groin and knee injuries. He had a foot injury in 2011 and didnt play all season. "I started 47 straight games at Miami," Fox said. "I had some bad luck early in my NFL career, but thats over. I feel 100 per cent healthy." Fox was a fourth-round draft pick by the Lions in 2010. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys from china
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