PITTSBURGH – The good was ultimately overshadowed by the bad. Unraveling at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, the Leafs dropped their third game in the last four, falling prey to the potency of a relentless Penguins attack. The visitors failed to land even a single shot in the third period and overtime. "I thought we did some things good for parts of the game," said James van Riemsdyk, who had three points in the 6-5 shootout defeat, "but obviously against a team like that you give them an inch and theyre going to take it all." A string of penalties, an increasingly ineffective penalty kill, and a submissive third period spelled doom for the Leafs on this night. Leads of 4-1 and 5-3 evaporated into another concerning loss, this one on the heels of a 6-0 pounding from Columbus on Monday night. "Therere some good things we did in the game tonight that put us in the position we were in," said Cody Franson, referring to the aforementioned leads, "but weve got to do a better job from the position of holding a lead." Riding out the wave of an early first period storm, momentum was firmly on the Toronto side in the opening moments of the middle frame. Bang-bang goals from van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel 29 seconds apart in the first minute of the second bumped the lead to 4-1 while ending the night of Marc-Andre Fleury. What followed, however, was a disastrous string of five consecutive penalties, the imposing Pittsburgh power play scoring three times before Evgeni Malkin finally evened the score at five early in the third. Owning the final frame, the Penguins outshot the Leafs 17-0, not a single shot coming the way of rookie netminder Jeff Zatkoff until the shootout; he stopped both Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson. "We stopped skating. We stopped forechecking. We stopped playing," said Randy Carlyle of his teams final 25 minutes, frustrated with a number of issues including the officiating on this night. "Theres no explanation for us not getting any shots in the third period." The Leafs are now 4-5-2 in the month of November – only two of those wins in regulation – the underlying concerns of a seemingly quick start coming to the forefront. Carlyle has been banging loud on the drum for improvements all year – even amid a 6-1-0 start – more urgently of late though. And while the Leafs certainly did some good on this night, including an effective fore-check that helped generate two of the four even-strength goals – they had 10 such goals in the previous 10 games – it was disturbingly overshadowed by the ills of what went wrong. Defensive issues, both at even-strength and on the penalty kill – Jonathan Bernier faced 48 shots, four nights after James Reimer faced 50 – amid an inconsistently produced style have left the group in search of answers as a three-game road trip continues in Buffalo on Friday night. "There was obviously some really good stuff," said Carl Gunnarsson, "but how it ended doesnt feel that good. "We got one point, but the way it looked going into the third I think we all wanted more than that." Five Points 1. Struggling Penalty Kill As the second-best penalty kill in the NHL last season the Leafs allowed only 19 power play goals in 48 games. Disjointed in recent weeks and now ranked 20th overall this season, the unit has already allowed 20 power play goals in just 25 games. The Penguins scored three on Wednesday night, the fourth time already this season that the Leafs have yielded two or more in a game (they gave up two or more only three times all of last season). Over the past 11 games, the special teams unit has yielded 13 goals on 44 opportunities for a shallow success rate of 71 per cent. "PK wasnt really there today," said Gunnarsson. "We took too many stupid penalties." Increasing the pressure on the troubled penalty kill has been the number of penalties. Only one team (Ottawa) has taken more minor penalties this season than the 113 the Leafs have been whistled for. Jerred Smithson was called for a questionable hold in the offensive zone moments into the third and van Riemsdyk was then penalized less than a minute later for hooking, also in the offensive zone. James Neal scored on the subsequent five-on-three advantage, the third Pittsburgh goal with the man advantage. "It gave them all the momentum," Carlyle said of the penalties. "You cant take penalties in the offensive zone. You cant take penalties when youre down a man. It was a hooking and a hold." 2. More Pressure on the Goalie Yielding 48 to the Penguins the Leafs are now dead-last in shots against this season (36.1 per game). While Bernier and Reimer both succeeded amid relentless onslaughts early and often this season, including a 49-save performance from the latter on Saturday night, the heavy pressure has, of late, been too difficult to withstand. During this recent four-game struggle, of which the Leafs have lost three, Bernier and Reimer have combined to post an .892 save percentage. 3. Disaster Frame Cody Franson hadnt realized his team had failed to generate even a single shot in the third until it was announced in the arena. It was the first time since April 2000 that the Leafs landed zero shots on goal in a period. "We received most of that period," Franson said. Unable to mount any kind of resistance to the Penguins attack the Leafs wilted under the considerable pressure and skill of their opponent. Rarely was a moment or more spent in the offensive zone, almost no work to be had for Zatkoff and plenty on the opposite end for Bernier. "They were coming and we couldnt really ride out the storm," said Gunnarsson. "Weve got an old enough group and a veteran core that should be able to grab a hold of it and make a difference with our structure and the way we were playing," Carlyle said. 4. Officiating Concerns Among the frustrations for Carlyle and the Leafs was the officiating. Most disturbing to them was the non-call on Malkins game-tying goal. "He pushed the goalie first and then deposited the puck," said Carlyle of Malkin, who edged Bernier into the goal before pushing the puck across the line. "But were not supposed to complain about that stuff." Asked if he received any explanation, Carlyle said, "By that time they didnt want to talk to anybody. They get to a position where they think that they dont have to talk to people I guess." The Leafs coach also wasnt pleased with the "soft call" on Smithson early in the third. "I dont know what hes supposed to do," Carlyle said. "He got on the right side of the guy and he took the man out. They saw it differently." Additionally befuddling Nazem Kadri was a goaltender interference call that opened the doors to the home teams comeback. Bumping incidentally into Zatkoff behind the Pittsburgh goal, Kadri and the opposing Penguins were initially told that no call would be made; Zatkoff, they said, had caused the contact. An official behind the play though deemed it a penalty. 5. Gardiner Scratched A healthy scratch 10 times last season, Jake Gardiner was scratched for the first time this season on Wednesday night. Gardiner, who actually led the Leafs with nearly 24 minutes against the Blue Jackets on Monday, didnt appear pleased with the news but seemed to understand it. "I didnt play good so I wasnt too surprised," Gardiner said of his last game, which also saw him on the ice for three goals against in a 6-0 defeat to Columbus. "Ive just got to make better decisions with the puck." Carlyle, who had a lengthy chat with Gardiner at Wednesdays morning skate, said lineup changes would be made with the "best interest of the team" in mind. "That wont change," he said. "Thats our DNA and weve been very honest and forthcoming with our players that thats the decisions we make and sometimes it doesnt always sit well with individuals and it shouldnt. If your numbers not called you should be upset." Paul Ranger replaced Gardiner in the lineup against the Penguins. Teamed with Morgan Rielly, Ranger played nearly 22 minutes after sitting the past two games himself. "Just be a little more consistent, just all around with decisions," Ranger said of re-entering the lineup. "Keep pushing to get back into the pace of the game here. Be reliable in my own and make some good breakout passes and play the system that were playing." Bonus Point - Lupuls Luck Over the course of his first five seasons in the NHL, Joffrey Lupul rarely missed a game. Lupul played in 372 of 405 games (with the Ducks, Oilers and Flyers) or 92 per cent of the time. The next five seasons would bring with it a different strain of luck. The now 30-year-old played in 181 of 316 games (with the Ducks and Leafs) or just 57 per cent of the time. Having already missed time in Toronto with a dislocated right shoulder, fractured right forearm, concussion, and bruised foot, Lupul will now miss at least two weeks with a groin injury. "Thats the ballpark figure they gave us," said Carlyle, who replaced Lupul in the lineup with Peter Holland. Stat-Pack 71% – Success rate for the Leaf penalty kill in the past 11 games. 19 – Number of power play goals allowed by the Leafs in 48 games last season. 20 – Number of power play goals allowed by the Leafs in 25 games this season. 3 – Multi-goal games for James van Riemsdyk this season. 0 – Shots in the final 25 minutes for the Leafs on Wednesday night. 2 – Even-strength points for Phil Kessel in November. Kessel scored his team-leading 13th goal this season in the middle frame on Wednesday night. 24:37 – Ice-time for Tyler Bozak against the Penguins, first among Leaf forwards. 113 – Minor penalties for the Leafs this season, second most in the NHL. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3 Season: 24.7% PK: 2-5 Season: 79.4% Quote of the Night "We cant expect our goalies to stop 50 shots a night." - Carl Gunnarsson, following a 48-shot outing for Jonathan Bernier on Wednesday night. Up Next The Leafs make their final trip to Buffalo on Friday, clashing with the Sabres for the third time this season. wholesale jerseys
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. Ohio State president Gordon Gee expressed disappointment Thursday in athletic director Gene Smith for not properly monitoring the actions of Robert DiGeronimo, who got several Buckeyes football players into trouble with the NCAA.NEW YORK -- Neither Shaun Livingston nor the Nets were expecting to see the backup point guard playing this many minutes in his first season in Brooklyn. On a team dealing with a rash of injuries all season, Livingston has been one of the key figures in the Nets revival after a dismal start. Starting alongside Deron Williams with All-Star guard Joe Johnson sidelined, Livingstons seventh steal of the night with 5.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter helped sealed Brooklyns win 108-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. "Ive been on the wings obviously guarding some of the better scorers, but just trying to be active, be disruptive and help my teammates," said Livingston, who also had 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Paul Pierce scored 25 points and Deron Williams added 21 for the Nets, who stopped a three-game losing streak. The Nets saw their first big lead of the night, a 15-point advantage, go to waste in the first half as Philadelphia managed to take a 44-37 late in the second quarter before Brooklyn answered back with a 17-5 run to head into the half with a 54-49 lead. Brooklyn then seemed like it was about to run away with the game with a strong start to the third quarter, relying on its defence to force some key turnovers. After a bad pass turnover by Philadelphias Tony Wroten, Livingston found Williams for a 3-pointer that made it 78-59 with 4:21. Trailing 84-69 to start the fourth quarter, the 76ers made nine of 10 shots and James Andersons 3-pointer made it 104-102 with 22 seconds left. Pierce, who made all 14 free throws, hit a pair after Michael Carter-Williams fouled him to increase Brooklyns lead to 106-102 and Livingston sealed the victory by intercepting Carter-Williams pass, Philadelphias 26th turnover of the night, and converting a pair of free throws to put it away. Livingston has come a long way since that awful knee injury almost seven years ago as a 21-year-old with the Los Angeles Clippers. In 45 games for the Nets, the 6-foot-7 point guard has averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 assists over 24.6 minutes. As a starter, hes logged 29.2 minnutes in 23 games, posting 9.dddddddddddd points, 3.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game, showing flashes of the player that was supposed to be part of the Clippers future before his injury. "Honestly, Im not trying to jinx it and think about it. Its a situation where I know where Ive come from, mentally as well," Livingston said, adding that hes leaned on Kevin Garnett on how to manage his body. "I just want to continue my same confidence, continue to play with the same confidence and I give credit to (Nets coach) Jason (Kidd) as well because I talk to him every day. Just getting a chance to pick his brain gives me confidence and to see the confidence that he has in me as well." The Nets had lost to division leaders Toronto, Oklahoma City and Indiana after starting 2014 by winning 10 of their first 11 games, but got back on track against a Philadelphia team that has lost 13 of its last 16 games. Carter-Williams scored 21 points for the 76ers, who have lost three straight. Wroten had 18 off the bench and Thaddeus Young added 17. The Nets scored 32 points off Philadelphia turnovers. "I think we had some careless turnovers. We tried to force some shots that led to turnovers," Carter-Williams said. 76ers coach Brett Brown wished his team could have kept those mistakes down like they did in the final quarter, when they had just two turnovers. "Isnt that amazing? You actually get to shoot and have a chance to score," the first-year coach said. Mirza Teletovic had 20 points off the bench, hitting 5 of 9 3-pointers. Johnson was held out of the game due to tendinitis in his right knee. The Nets were also without reserve forwards Andrei Kirilenko, who missed his last three games with a sore right calf, and Andray Blatche, who was out with a sore hip. NOTES: Former team minority owner and rapper Jay-Z and his wife, Beyonce, took in the game, sitting next to Russell Wilson, quarterback of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. . Brooklyns 15 steals were a season-high. . Garnett recorded five blocks, making him the 18th player in NBA history with 2,000 career blocks. ' ' '