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So, I know this is a really big chance for me
BUFFALO – November has proven a gloomy month from start to (near) finish for the Leafs. [url=http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-chad-kelly-navy-blue-jersey/]Chad Kelly Youth Jersey[/url] . What began with a disastrous 4-0 defeat in Vancouver continued Friday with another loss to the leagues worst team, a 3-2 overtime edging by the Sabres at First Niagara Center, their fourth in the past five games. It was the eighth loss in 12 games in November for the Leafs (4-5-3) and sixth straight defeat on the road. Buffalo has just three wins outside of regulation all season, two of them coming against Toronto in the past two weeks. "Weve just got to stick with it," said James van Riemsdyk, following the latest loss. "You can never be too high or too low. Its a long season. Were in a decent position right now still." With just two regulation wins all month, the Leafs are now tied for fourth in the Atlantic Division – the Canadiens have an identical 14-9-3 record with the two clubs meeting in Montreal on Saturday – their 6-1-0 start to the season far in the rear-view mirror. Only an elite power play unit and sturdy goaltending have remained intact (though that too is regressing somewhat in recent days) through the opening two months. Mustering fewer than two goals of offence per game in November (1.92 to be precise) while yielding more than three against (3.08), the Leafs are struggling right now on both sides of the puck. A once confident penalty kill too has fallen into turmoil. The unit allowed its 14th power play goal of the month to the Sabres, dipping to 71 per cent in that span. On this night, the Leafs jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the 14th goal of the year from Phil Kessel, grabbing the edge once more on the second this season from Nik Kulemin. Both leads were erased, however, the Sabres coming from behind to win on a goal from Christian Ehrhoff 38 seconds into overtime. The goal came just minutes after van Riemsdyk was hauled down by Matt DAgostini on a shorthanded rush in the closing moments of regulation. No call was made on the play. "The breaks arent going our way," said head coach Randy Carlyle, his frustration obvious. The Leafs will close the month of November with their second road date of the season in Montreal. December looms with a particularly difficult schedule, the Sharks, Bruins, Kings, Blues, Blackhawks and Penguins all on the calendar. "We still have a lot of games left so weve just got to keep trying to find ways to figure out the things that are going wrong and then keep doing some of the things that were doing well," said van Riemsdyk. Five Points 1. Road Woes The defeat marked the sixth straight away from the Air Canada Centre for the Leafs, now 5-5-3 on the road this season. Outscored 19-10 during the six-game stretch, their last win outside of Toronto came on Oct. 30 in Calgary. 2. Late Call in Question Streaking down the right side of the ice with the Leafs killing off a late penalty to Paul Ranger, van Riemdsyk had his legs swept out beneath him by DAgostini, his body crashing into the vacated net. "They said that he played the puck and he made contact with the puck," Carlyle said DAgostini, "thus hes allowed to cross-block and take our player out. In my mind, I didnt think it deemed a penalty shot, but I thought it shouldve been a penalty for taking the players knees out. But they didnt make the call." "I dont want to get into too much," said van Riemsdyk, "but I tried to slide [the puck] over to my forehand and then my legs went out from under me so thats all I remember." The Leafs would eventually kill off the penalty to Ranger, but the Sabres would score in overtime before he could rejoin the play. "You cant take your hand off the stick and grab the player," Carlyle said of Rangers penalty, a holding call which saw him grab Ville Leino. "Thats new rules hockey." 3. Shorthanded Draws Moments before Ehrhoff scored the winner did the Leafs lose a shorthanded draw, a rare loss by Jerred Smithson in this instance. A subtle point in their struggles on the penalty kill this season (now 20th overall) has been diminished effectiveness on the draw shorthanded. Tyler Bozak and Jay McClement, who absorb the majority of faceoffs in such situations, have not been quite as successful this season as they were a year ago. The pair combined to win a healthy 52 per cent in 2013, but have so far dipped to just 42 per cent. Bozak in particular, has struggled considerably. The 27-year-old has won just 35 per cent of his shorthanded draws in 14 games this winter. Added to the roster last month, Smithson has actually been the teams most efficient faceoff man on the penalty kill and at even strength. The 34-year-old is now 18-33 on the penalty kill in 11 games. Player 2013-14 2013 Tyler Bozak 35% 53% Jay McClement 46% 50% Jerred Smithson 55% 54% * * With Edmonton and Florida *With Edmonton and Florida 4. November Leaders Though hes played in just seven games this month, Trevor Smith has vaulted to the top of the Leafs scoring chart in November. Indicative of their offensive troubles this month, Smith, with six points, is now tied with van Riemsdyk and Mason Raymond for the monthly scoring lead. Slightly behind in that race is the teams overall scoring leader. While he did pot his 14th this season, the 26-year-old Kessel has gone 13 straight games without an assist, boasting five goals and five points in 12 games this month. 5. Mix on Defence Paired together for all but five games of the 2013 regular season, Mark Fraser and Cody Franson were reunited this week in Carlyles search for some stability beyond his top pair of Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson. "Its great how comfortable we are with one another," said Fraser before Fridays game, "whether its just the talking to each other – the vocabulary – [or] our body language. We played long enough with one another that we can really read off of each other. Were definitely excited to be back." Jake Gardiner returned to the lineup after sitting for the first time all season in Pittsburgh. The 23-year-old replaced Morgan Rielly alongside Paul Ranger against the Sabres, notching an assist in 21 minutes. "I thought we all played a decent game tonight, played hard, competed and they capitalized at the end," said Gardiner. Stat Pack 6-2-2 – Career record for James Reimer versus Buffalo. 8 – Blocked shots for Mark Fraser against the Sabres, a game-high. 1.92 – Goals per game for the Leafs this month. 6 - Points for Trevor Smith in November, tied for the team lead. 13 – Consecutive games without an assist for Phil Kessel. 4-5-3 – Leafs record in November. 34-48 – Toronto penalty kill over the past 12 games. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-1Season: 24.4% PK: 3-4Season: 79.2% Quote of the Night "I dont think [you] need rocket science to figure out that if you continue to give up five and six goals, youre not going to get many points. We have to buckle down definitely in that area. Weve got to get our defensive game going to a higher level. And maybe part of that is to create a little bit more in the offensive zone as far as time in there." - Randy Carlyle, on his teams struggles defensively. Up Next The Leafs conclude a three-game road trip in Montreal on Saturday evening. [url=http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-carlos-henderson-navy-blue-jersey/]Carlos Henderson Womens Jersey[/url] . 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. [url=http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-brendan-langley-navy-blue-jersey/]Brendan Langley Womens Jersey[/url] . He says he will have the operation Wednesday and be ready in time for training camp in September. Bernier missed five games in March due to the injury. [url=http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-carlos-henderson-navy-blue-jersey/]http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-carlos-henderson-navy-blue-jersey/[/url] . Louis Blues were workmanlike, methodical and -- most of all -- effective on Monday night.The NHLs Olympic roster freeze has been lifted and the countdown to the Mar. 5 Trade Deadline is on. As NHL teams return to business and team decide on whether to buy or sell, check out todays trade-related reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. And follow TSN.ca right through Deadline Day for all the updates. St. Louis In Play? Larry Brooks of the New York Post writes that Martin St. Louis name has been in trade speculation and that the New York Rangers have inquired about a possible deal that would bring him to The Big Apple for captain Ryan Callahan. Brooks, however, adds that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has no interest in dealing away the Olympic gold medallist and two-time Art Ross Trophy winner for a player considered to be a rental. [url=http://www.broncosonlinenfl.com/broncos-demarcus-walker-navy-blue-jersey/]Demarcus Walker Womens Jersey[/url]. . The Post also says Callahans asking price of seven years at about $6.75 million per year is believed to be beyond what the Lightning would be willing to pay to keep him from hitting the open market this summer. Wanting To Stay His name has been in trade rumours, but Colorado Avalanche forward P-A Parenteau has made it clear he wants to stay in Denver. "You try not to think about it, but its not easy, especially when you have a family," Parenteau told The Denver Post. "I love it here. I want to stay here. You dont want to leave a place you love, and you dont want to leave a really good team too, which is what we have here. So, I know this is a really big chance for me now, and Im planning on making it happen." 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