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game recap

Penalties Proved Costly In Clarkson's Debut

Friday, 10.25.2013 / 9:56 PM

The Canadian Press

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Penalties Proved Costly In Clarkson's Debut
Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Columbus Blue Jackets 5
Three Stars of the Game
Brandon Dubinsky
1st
Brandon Dubinsky
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 21:23
Ryan Murray
2nd
Ryan Murray
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 0Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: -1TOI: 20:01
Nick Foligno
3rd
Nick Foligno
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 2PIM: 2
+/-: 0TOI: 15:09

COLUMBUS, Ohio - David Clarkson's debut was supposed to help the Toronto Maple Leafs establish an identity.

Instead, he and his teammates were outworked by the Columbus Blue Jackets in a penalty-filled 5-2 loss Friday night at Nationwide Arena. Clarkson took the first of eight minor penalties in a choppy game that left players searching for answers.

"We know we've got better, we know we have to do the right things to be an A-team in this league and we didn't do the right things tonight," said forward Dave Bolland, who scored the Leafs' second goal and took two penalties.

Special teams play was a major reason Toronto entered the game 7-3-0 despite coach Randy Carlyle lamenting his team's lack of an identity early this season. The Leafs only gave up one power-play goal to Columbus, but the parade to the penalty box still hurt them.

They spent 11 minutes 32 seconds shorthanded, forcing goaltender Jonathan Bernier to take on a heavy workload and disrupting the flow of the game. Six of the minor penalties were stick infractions, in part the result of what Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards figured was his group's best skating game of the year.

"They're a good team, they work hard, they had a good forecheck on us," said Bernier, who stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced. "We had some scoring chances, we just didn't put it in the net."

The Blue Jackets got on the board on the power play, as defenceman Ryan Murray scored his first NHL goal just 39 seconds after Clarkson was penalized for hooking Nick Foligno. Marian Gaborik scored in the third not long after Nazem Kadri was released from the box after the second of his three penalties, and Brandon Dubinsky scored the game-winner with Columbus shorthanded later in the period.

"The power plays were definitely lopsided, and then we get a break to go four-on-three and we give up a short-handed (goal)," Carlyle said. "Kind of set the table for what happened tonight."

It was an uneven performance from the get-go for the Leafs, who were outshot 16-5 in the first period and didn't get on the board until Phil Kessel scored 40 seconds after the first intermission. Penalties piled up after that, and Bernier did his best to keep his team in the game.

"We've got to get a better effort," said Clarkson, who had four shots, two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating in 15:10 of ice time. "Especially Bernie's been playing that well for us, and we kind of hang him out to dry there a little bit."

Bernier said the Leafs didn't bring their "effort" against the Blue Jackets, but that wasn't lacking from Clarkson, who missed the first 10 games of the season while serving a suspension for leaving the bench to enter a pre-season fight. Carlyle figured Clarkson looked "rusty" but expected that after so much time away from game action.

"He's going to try, he's going to work," Carlyle said. "The other things as far as the stick-handling and the turnovers and stuff, I think you've got to give the guy some slack. He hasn't played any games this year. Everybody else is about 10 games ahead of him."

Clarkson didn't feel rusty but wasn't giving himself any glowing reviews, in part because of the final result.

"Any time you lose, you don't feel good," Clarkson said. "I felt like on the forecheck my jump was there, I felt OK. ... (But) it's all about winning right now, and it doesn't matter how anyone feels we've got to find a way to win it, we've got to play better than that."

After signing a US$36.75-million, seven-year deal with the Leafs in the off-season and taking on the expectations that went with it, Clarkson was anxious to make an impact. Weeks of bag skates prepared him for this moment, but once the puck dropped he tried to forget about all that.

"I think I've played in the league long enough that it's not just another game, but when you've been out that long, you want to get out there and get some hits and get on the forecheck and make some plays," he said. "All that stuff, hopefully one down and now we'll get going."

Clarkson wasn't to blame for the Leafs' third-period meltdown, which included Gaborik's fifth goal of the season and Dubinsky's shorthanded that came on a bad break. In his third straight start, Bernier faulted himself for not making enough saves, but the ex-New York Rangers forward made just about the perfect shot.

"You've got to give the shooter credit sometime," Bernier said. "He put it right under the bar. It was a good shot."

Clarkson and his teammates must try to rebound quickly, with Sidney Crosby (18 points in 10 games) and the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting Air Canada Centre on Saturday night. Just like the Penguins after a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders, the Leafs have little time to dwell on this performance.

"We're going to be fine, we've got to bounce back," Clarkson said. "This is the game of hockey, you're not going to win every game. I think we know what we've got to be better in."

Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at (at)SWhyno

NOTES - Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, last year's Vezina Trophy winner, stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced. ... Foligno scored the Blue Jackets' fifth goal against Bernier with seven seconds left after Ryan Johansen put the puck into an empty net 20 seconds earlier. ... Kessel left the game briefly late in the second period and went down the tunnel toward the locker-room but returned at the start of the third and finished with 16:20 of ice time.

scoring summary
1st Period
04:55
CBJ
PPG - Ryan Murray (1) Wrist shot - ASST: R.J. Umberger (5), James Wisniewski (7)
1 - 0 CBJ
2nd Period
00:40
TOR
Phil Kessel (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Tyler Bozak (3), James van Riemsdyk (4)
1 - 1 Tie
3rd Period
03:12
CBJ
Marian Gaborik (5) Snap shot - ASST: Nick Foligno (1), Artem Anisimov (3)
2 - 1 CBJ
12:27
CBJ
SHG - Brandon Dubinsky (3) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE
3 - 1 CBJ
15:30
TOR
Dave Bolland (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Paul Ranger (3), Mason Raymond (5)
3 - 2 CBJ
19:33
CBJ
EN - Ryan Johansen (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Brandon Dubinsky (4), Fedor Tyutin (2)
4 - 2 CBJ
19:53
CBJ
Nick Foligno (3) Snap shot - ASST: Mark Letestu (2), Fedor Tyutin (3)
5 - 2 CBJ
penalty summary
1st Period
04:16
TOR
David Clarkson  Hooking against  Nick Foligno
08:07
TOR
Nazem Kadri  Cross checking against  Nick Foligno
08:07
CBJ
Nick Foligno  Roughing against  Nazem Kadri
11:54
TOR
Morgan Rielly  Holding against  Boone Jenner
2nd Period
04:53
TOR
Dave Bolland  Hi-sticking against  Artem Anisimov
12:08
CBJ
Boone Jenner  Holding against  Jake Gardiner
13:40
TOR
Morgan Rielly  Tripping against  Nick Foligno
19:51
TOR
Nazem Kadri  Hooking against  Blake Comeau
3rd Period
05:53
CBJ
Marian Gaborik  Holding against  Jay McClement
10:51
TOR
Nazem Kadri  Tripping against  Dalton Prout
10:51
CBJ
Dalton Prout  Interference against  Nazem Kadri
11:52
CBJ
Fedor Tyutin  Tripping against  Jay McClement
17:09
TOR
Dave Bolland  Tripping against  Marian Gaborik
goalie stats
Jonathan Bernier
SA: 35TOI: 59:42
Saves: 31EV: 23 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 8
SV%: .886SH: 1 - 2
Sergei Bobrovsky
Sergei Bobrovsky
4-5-0
SA: 25TOI: 59:55
Saves: 23EV: 15 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 8
SV%: .920SH: 0 - 0
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