Viewed from some angles, the Maple Leafs are the very picture of a fishtailing big rig. They haven’t managed a win in five straight games. Key men in charge of defensive-zone coverage have been nodding off mid-game. Coach Randy Carlyle is flipping lines in practice like a merciless kid with a video controller. You can get the distinct sense that bad things could happen if they don’t promptly halt this season-long slump; that the fishtailing rig could devolve into the jackknifed tractor-trailer that becomes the Burke-ian 18-wheeler speeding off a proverbial cliff. But for all the gathering panic in Leafland in the lead-up to a Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back with Tampa Bay and Buffalo in which the Leafs desperately need a win, there is relative serenity in pockets of the roster that could have been expected to be mid-crisis flashpoints. The Free Jake Gardiner movement never did arrive at the gates of Ricoh Coliseum with their pitchforks and torches; the slick-skating defenceman who played 75 games for the Leafs a season ago is expected be in the lineup for Wednesday night’s home game against the Lightning after spending most of his long recovery from a concussion with the Marlies. Gardiner surely would have arrived with the big club at least a few days earlier had his agent not lobbied for his promotion with a now-infamous Twitter post. But now that he’s got himself out of the minors, it will be good to see if he can get the puck out of the Toronto end.
Goaltenders have the stuff to stop losing skid
Toronto Star | Mar 20