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MessagePosté le: Ven 19 Oct - 05:16 (2018)    Sujet du message: uld stand as the best in franchise history fo Répondre en citant

TORONTO - Jonathan Bernier came back to try and help end a losing streak. By the time the goaltender and the Toronto Maple Leafs left Air Canada Centre, they were out of a playoff spot. Bernier returned from a five-game absence and did his best to keep the Leafs in it against the St. Louis Blues. But a plethora of other mistakes against one of the NHLs top teams Tuesday night ultimately resulted in a 5-3 defeat, their sixth in a row. "Its a hard league," Blues goaltender Ryan Miller said of the Leafs struggles. "Youve got to keep it all together." Things have seemingly fallen apart in just under two weeks time. The loss, coupled with the Blue Jackets beating the Red Wings and the Capitals picking up a point against the Los Angeles Kings, dropped the Leafs out of a wild-card position. Though all four teams have 80 points, Columbus and Detroit held the wild-card spots at the end of the night, ahead of the Capitals and then the Leafs because of games played. Not long ago Toronto was second in the Atlantic Division, and now it looks like the season is slipping away. "Certainly were afraid of letting it slip away," said winger Joffrey Lupul, whose early goal was the first time Toronto opened the scoring in eight games. "The whole year weve thought we were a playoff team, and we still believe that now. ... Theres reason for concern, but its not completely time to panic. Were still right there." Winger James van Riemsdyk, whose goal at 15:54 of the third period cut the Leafs deficit to a goal, said that the team has "100 per cent" faith that things can turn around with just eight games remaining. "We have a lot of confidence in our abilities and a belief in ourselves and believe in the guys in the room," van Riemsdyk said. "This thing is obviously far from over." At some point the Leafs (36-30-8) must show that instead of just talking about it. They were unable to do that against the Blues, who passed the Boston Bruins for the top spot in the league thanks to a hat trick from David Backes and one goal apiece from T.J. Oshie and former Leafs forward Alex Steen. Though Bernier allowed four goals, his return from a groin injury was more memorable for some of the big saves he made among his 44. The 25-year-old No. 1 goalie gave his team a chance, but too much continued to go wrong in front of and around the net. Lupul said a good team is supposed to bail its goalie out and vice-versa. That didnt happen for James Reimer in the first five games of this slide, and that continued with Bernier. "When you get in a slide like this its easy to start pin-pointing individuals, which is fair, but as a group we look at it like, if theres a mistake made by someone, someone else steps up and makes a play for them," Lupul said. "And we just havent been doing quite enough of that right now." Captain Dion Phaneuf hesitated twice to clear the puck on a late-first-period penalty kill before the Blues forced a turnover and scored, then was beaten by Steen in front of the net on the fourth goal St. Louis scored. Phaneuf was not made available to speak to reporters, leaving coach Randy Carlyle to answer for some of the defencemans poor play. "He and (Cody) Franson have been the top pairing on our blue line, as far as the offensive side of it, all year," Carlyle said. "In tonights situation, he had a rough night." Phaneuf could be blamed for at least two goals against, but he wasnt alone in having a rough night against the Blues (49-16-7), who showed early and often why theyre a Stanley Cup contender. "It was a 5-3 game where I think we couldve scored 10 goals tonight," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said in a nod to Bernier. "We had so many scoring opportunities, and I thought for the most part until we got careless and started to get fancy around the net instead of burying it that we were really playing one of our top games." During the first period, St. Louis hemmed the Leafs in their own end, putting 23 shots on net, a season high for Toronto. "I dont know," Lupul said. "We couldnt break their cycle, we couldnt get the puck." Had the Leafs managed to go into the first intermission tied 1-1, as Carlyle pointed out, they would have been fortunate. But Phaneufs mistake led to a power-play goal by Backes with 32.3 seconds left. Backes had to beat Bernier, too, but he did that twice and added an empty netter for his second career hat trick. "Theres something about this barn and this stage," Backes said. "Theres obviously a special thing about being in Toronto. The buzz in the air and everyones talking about the Leafs. Every establishments got a neon Leafs sign of some sort. This is kind of the Mecca for hockey here in Toronto." Hockey Mecca includes many more people panicking even after the Leafs lost to a much better team in the Blues. Van Riemsdyk repeatedly pointed out that the Blues are "a heck of a hockey team." Theres no disputing that, only that the Leafs couldnt find a way to end their skid. Bernier knows nothing should have to be said after this one. "If were missing motivation, at this time of the year everyone should have some," he said. "Obviously we knew it was not going to be easy. Thats a good team out there — theyre first and they showed it tonight." The Leafs showed something in trimming a three-goal deficit to one in the third period. And while thats the biggest thing theyll take from Tuesday night, its not nearly enough with the frustration building up. "Youve got to try and manage that," van Riemsdyk said. "If you play in a frustrated type of way youre no good out there. Weve got to continue to learn from things and look at the positives and kind of go from there." One positive Lupul sees is two games ahead at the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday night and then back home against the Red Wings on Saturday night. "You win those two games, all of a sudden things look a lot different," he said. Until the Leafs manage to do that, things look bleak. NOTES: With Bernier back, the Leafs sent goaltender Drew MacIntyre back to the AHLs Toronto Marlies. ... Defenceman Paul Ranger was scratched for the third straight game with a neck injury. Brian Allen Jersey . - Skiing far more aggressively than in her season debut a day earlier, Lindsey Vonn was in provisional 10th place after the first 45 skiers in a World Cup downhill on Saturday. Ramik Wilson Jersey . The Calgary Stampeders announced both moves on Wednesday. Parker played 17 regular season games with the Stampeders in 2013, setting career-highs in catches (21) and yards (217). http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Customized/ . New York Red Bulls. TSN primes Vancouver fans for the start of the 2014 season with MLS on TSN: Season Preview Special airing tonight at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt on TSN2 (encore Friday at 3:30pm et/12:30pm pt on TSN2). Sam Shields Jersey . Ghoulam has put pen to paper on a four and a half year deal, tying him to Napoli until 2018. The 22-year-old Algeria international, who played for France at Under 21 level, has made 87 league appearances in four seasons at Saint-Etienne. Los Angeles Rams Jerseys . - For a general manager who preaches building through the draft, Reggie McKenzie has struggled to find impact players his first two years in Oakland.DENVER - The Denver Nuggets were struggling and scuffling when they left for the road a week ago. Five games later they look like the team coach Brian Shaw envisioned.Kenneth Faried and Arron Afflalo scored 19 points each, Wilson Chandler had 18 and Denver beat the New Orleans Pelicans 117-97 on Friday night.Danilo Gallinari had 17 points and JaVale McGee 14 for the Nuggets, who have won four of their last five after starting the season 1-6. They took two of three on the road last weekend and have won two straight at Pepsi Center to even their home record at 3-3.We still have a long way to go, Shaw said. It took longer than we would have liked but its nice to see it coming together.Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 18 points and nine rebounds. It was the first time in eight games Davis has failed to eclipse 20 points.We just have to move on, Davis said. Youre going to have games like this.Davis looked like he was going to have a big night when he scored 10 points in the first quarter. The Pelicans led by 14-2 in the first four minutes, but a timeout by Shaw and a threat to bring in the bench got the starters motivated.We started playing a little defence, got the lead back and control of the game, guard Ty Lawson said. We all knew it was being lazy. Just gave the extra effort and it got better.Denver rallied to tie it at 18-all midway through the first. The Nuggets used an 11-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 37-26 lead.They never trailed again.The advantage grew to 50-34 on two free throws by Gallinari. Jrue Holidays 3-pointer got New Orleans within nine late in the second but the Nuggets led 59-49 at halftime.Gallinaris 17 points were a season high for the forward, who is coming off two ACL surgeries on his left knee.If you dont play basketball for 19 months, trust me, its not easy to come back, he said. You think it is but it is not.The Pelicans got within eight in the third quarter but Denver began to pull away behind Chandler.dddddddddddd He scored six straight points, including a 3-pointer with 8:46 left, to put the Nuggets ahead 98-77.We have an identity, New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. When we stray away from that, we get this result.McGee had three dunks and Nate Robinson hit another 3-pointer to put Denver up 107-83 midway through the fourth.___GOOD LUCK SMOOCHMcGee gave the crowd a laugh when he fell into the courtside seats trying to save a ball in the second quarter. Before he got up he planted a kiss on a female fan.Thats my Buddha, McGee said. I dont know her name but thats my Buddha.SCUFFED PAINTNew Orleans came into Fridays game leading the NBA in points in the paint but was outscored 52-32 in the lane.They got all the 50-50 balls, Davis said. They turned them into a layup or a dunk or a three. Something good for them.TIP INSPelicans: Center Omer Asik re-aggravated his back during warm-ups and was a late scratch from the lineup. He has now missed three straight games with the injury. ... New Orleans is averaging an NBA-low 10.9 turnovers a game. In Tuesdays win over Sacramento, the Pelicans had a season-low six turnovers. They had eight in the first 15 minutes against Denver and didnt have another for 12 minutes. They finished with 13, one off their season high.Nuggets: The Nuggets entered Friday averaging just 13.8 turnovers a game. That would stand as the best in franchise history for a full season. They had 10 against New Orleans. ... In Denvers four wins before Friday, Chandler was averaging 13.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. ... Lawson is fifth on the franchise list in assists. He trails Michael Adams by 57 for fourth. ... Eight players played 20 or more minutes for Denver.UP NEXTBulls: At Utah on Saturday night.Nuggets: At L.A. Lakers on Sunday night. 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