TORONTO – Just when it seems that it cant get much worse for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Saucony Shoes Factory Outlet
... Not good enough again, said Phil Kessel after the latest defeat. Another 18-wheeler is veering off the cliff in what seems to be slow motion for all of Toronto to witness. And theres no stopping it. The Maple Leafs losing streak hit eight games Thursday night in a manner that left many in the building and in the home dressing room shaking their heads in continued befuddlement. Its just like these situations where were finding ways not to win, said Peter Horachek after his teams 16th loss in 19 games, a 3-1 defeat to the equally reeling Coyotes. Weve got to find ways to win now. Just when it seems that it cant get much worse for the Leafs does Oliver Ekman-Larsson fire the most innocent of shots from his own blue-line, a knuckler that dipped and dived and eventually found its way underneath the glove of a stunned Jonathan Bernier. I didnt see it, Bernier said afterward of the shorthanded marker that ruptured his teams tentative 1-0 lead. It just dipped in front of me. Still rattled – jeers from the ACC crowd thrust his way – the 26-year-old yielded another bad one just a few minutes later. Martin Hanzal tucked that one in from just above the goal-line. It was enough to sink the fluttering Leafs, who cant seem to find a way not to beat themselves in some way or another. Just one night earlier in New Jersey did they surrender a game-tying goal with less than three minutes to go in regulation, only to lose again in the shootout. Bernier was enjoying a fine night up until the point of that fluttering goal, turning aside each and every one of the first 32 shots he faced in a 40-minute stretch that was increasingly controlled by the suddenly rebuilding Coyotes. His performance has certainly slipped in recent weeks – he entered the All-Star break with a .891 save percentage in a span of 10 starts – coinciding in ill-timed fashion with a flailing offence. The Leafs have mustered one goal or less now in seven of 10 games since Horachek took charge, totaling less than two goals per game since the middle of December. Its been an incredible stretch of futility for a team that all too recently led the league in scoring, one that punched back more than four goals per night during a mesmerizing 10-1-1 run. Kessel, who hadnt scored an even-strength goal in more than six weeks, was the lone Leaf to actually beat Mike Smith, who entered the night as perhaps the worst starting goaltender in the league this season. Were struggling, said Kessel afterward, as perplexed as anyone after another loss. Just when it seems the Leafs have lost in every manner possible during a run thats dashed another years worth of playoff hopes does something even stranger arise. Ive seen a lot of things now, Horachek said. Five Points 1. The Goal Bernier still appeared in some shock after the loss. His response to the back-breaking goal – yielding another to Hanzal a few minutes later – was certainly not what he desired. Its tough to stay in, said Bernier, especially when I thought I was playing pretty good and fans get on you. It gets frustrating, but Ive got to be stronger mentally and stay in it. Its going to happen, he added of the Ekman-Larsson goal. Its how you bounce back from it. The puck kind of went high and knuckled and dropped down, added Horachek, but you cant give yourself excuses, youve got to say thats his job and hes got to have that. 2. Kessel Breaks Spell Kessel hadnt scored at even-strength since Dec. 16, but came through with his 20th this season late in the first period. Reunited with James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak, he curled into the high slot and beat Smith for the games first goal. Hopefully I can get going, he said afterward. Its frustrating right now. It was just Kessels third goal in 19 games. The Leafs struggles to score though go well beyond just one player: ? Tyler Bozak has gone eight straight without scoring and has just one goal in 15 games. ? Nazem Kadri has two goals in the past 10 games. ? James van Riemsdyk had two goals in nine games before scoring in back-to-back games. ? Mike Santorelli has gone 10 straight without a goal. ? Daniel Winnik has gone eight straight without a goal. ? David Booth has gone 18 straight without a goal. ? David Clarkson has just two markers in 24 games. ? Trevor Smith has gone nine straight without a goal. ? Richard Panik had gone 11 straight without a goal before being scratched against Arizona. The Leafs have fallen to 12th overall offensively, after rising to first at one point this season. 3. Quality Chances? After mustering just a goal against the Devils on Wednesday night, Horachek opted to check the tape to determine if his team was still getting the same number of scoring opportunities as before he took over. Are we getting the chances that we want? Are we getting the quality of chances that we want? And I think were getting that, he said. But we have to then push the envelope a little bit more. We have to spend more time in those areas, whatever you want to call it – the lions den, the house – and get more people in those areas. The Leafs entered Thursdays game scoring only 1.6 goals per game under his watch, unmistakably struck by a drastic swing in luck along the way. Torontos PDO (a measurement of luck) is the lowest in the league since the Randy Carlyle firing. If youre getting the same number of chances as we were when we were not playing as well defensively you would think that the message should be just finish your chances because were not getting less chances, were getting the same number of chances, Horachek added. Torontos goal-scoring issues began bubbling even before Horachek was hired though. In their final nine games under Carlyle the club scored just 2.1 goals per game, a good chunk coming on a since sunken power-play. 4. Power-play Adjustments Torontos coaching staff continued tweaking a struggling power-play Thursday, both in terms of personnel and strategy. Peter Holland got a look on the point of the first unit against the Coyotes – alongside Cody Franson – reclaiming a role he played both in junior with the Guelph Storm and during stints in the AHL. What the coaching staff identified strategically, meanwhile, was a need for more shots from the middle of the ice. Horachek and company believe theyve become too predictable on the power-play, too reliant on the Kessel left half-wall shot attempt. The approach was apparent on the Leafs first power-play opportunity versus Arizona, attempts from Holland and Franson in the middle of the ice creating a few quality chances on Smith. We have to change maybe the direction of how were attacking, Horachek said. Were getting the shots from Phils side or getting the shots from off the side on the half-wall but I think weve got to start now getting more shots down the middle. While resulting in more opportunity Torontos power-play ultimately did not score for the eighth time in 11 games. The Leafs have fallen to 14th on the power-play this season, going 0-3 versus the Coyotes. 5. Bernier Back-to-Back Bernier started back-to-back games for just the third time in his career Thursday night. He has yet to win under such circumstance. Bernier gave up three goals on eight shots and was pulled in his first bid (Mar. 5, 2014); yielded four goals on 28 shots in his second attempt (Mar. 29, 2014); and lost again Thursday despite an array of 42 saves. Stats-Pack 14 – Goals scored by the Leafs in 10 games under Peter Horachek. 7 – Consecutive seasons of at least 20 goals for Phil Kessel. 10:30 – Ice-time for Joffrey Lupul, who played for the first time since Dec. 31. 3-15-1 – Leafs record in the past 19 games. 2.82 – Goals per game for the Leafs this season. 4-37 – Toronto power-play in the past 11 games. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3 Season: 18.8 per cent (14th) PK: 3-4 Season: 83.2 per cent (8th) Quote of the Night Both goals I think were bad goals; one from the goal-line, one from their blue-line. -Peter Horachek on the two goals Jonathan Bernier allowed Thursday night. Up Next The Leafs visit the Flyers on Saturday night. Saucony Shoes Clearance
. He spent the rest of the game making up for lost playing time. Green scored a career-high 36 points, including eight in overtime, and the Phoenix Suns beat Denver 112-107 on Tuesday night to hand the Nuggets their fifth consecutive loss. Buy Saucony Shoes Australia
. The ninth-seeded Safarova doused Swede Johanna Larsson 6-2, 6-3 on the green clay at Family Circle Tennis Center. The Czech player was a finalist here two years ago and captured back-to-back doubles titles in 2012 and last year. http://www.cheapsauconyaustralia.com/
.C. -- Marcus Paige and his North Carolina teammates have endured so many wild swings -- big wins, surprising losses, NCAA drama -- that no one can blame their Hall of Fame coach for wondering whats next. CLEVELAND -- Terry Francona thinks nerves are a good thing at this time of the season. If thats the case, the Indians manager hopes his players are on edge sometime into October. Scott Kazmir struck out a season-high 12 in six innings, Nick Swisher hit a grand slam and the Indians continued their playoff push with an 8-1 win over the New York Mets on Friday night. "This is a fun time of year," Francona said. "When you show up to the ballpark and youre nervous about the game, thats really exciting." Kazmir (8-7) struck out at least one batter in each inning, including the side in the first, third and sixth. The left-hander, who has been pushed back in the rotation for extra rest over the last month, held the Mets to four hits, allowed no walks and hit a batter in winning for the first time since Aug. 4. The Mets took Kazmir with the 15th overall pick in the 2002 draft, but he never pitched a game for them. Kazmir was dealt to Tampa Bay two years later for pitcher Victor Zambrano. The trade turned out to be one of the worst in Mets history as Kazmir made the All-Star team twice with the Rays and Zambrano went 10-14 in parts of three seasons in New York, and was out of baseball in 2007. "Its great it was against the team that drafted me, but that definitely wasnt crossing through my mind when I was out there on the mound," Kazmir said. "Were playing for a playoff spot right now. Thats the one thing Im thinking about when I go out to the mound." Kazmir, signed as a minor league free agent after pitching in an independent league last season, fell one strikeout short of his career high, which came when he struck out 13 against Oakland on Aug. 25, 2007. "Getting 12 strikeouts, thats the most Ive gotten in a long time," he said. "Just to be able to throw my fastball consistently in the location I wanted to, thats something I was very pleased with." "Thats the best Ive ever seen him pitch and I saw him pitch in Tampa for a while," Mets manager Terry Collins said. Swishers grand slam came in the eighth and Carlos Santana added two RBIs. Cleveland entered Friday three games out of the second wild-card spot. The Indians have won three of four on their homestand after losing ground in the playoff chase during a difficult road trip. "I wish we had a better record, but were in this every bit as much as about four or five other teams," Francona said. Swishers grand slam was the eighth of his career and produced firewworks exploding from the scoreboard. Cheap Saucony Shoes Australia
. Earlier in the day, the team announced that Swisher, as a thank you to the fans, is paying the bill for the team to have an extra fireworks show on Sept. 21. "Weve got to keep winning games," he said. "This team lost close to 100 games last year. For us to just be in this spot, it goes to show you what this organization is doing." Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler (7-4) allowed three runs in five innings and lost for the first time in his career on the road. The right-hander, who was called up on June 18, won his first five decisions away from Citi Field. Justin Turners seventh-inning homer, his first of the season, accounted for the Mets run. The Indians played the game without outfielder Michael Brantley, who returned to his home in Florida to be with his wife, who is expecting their first child. Clevelands first two runs came on sacrifice flies by Santana in the first and Michael Bourn in the second. Santana added an RBI single in the fifth and Lonnie Chisenhall had a run-scoring double in the sixth. Wheeler, 23, is considered one of the top prospects in baseball. The Mets won 10 of his first 14 starts and hes only the second rookie in team history to win five straight road decisions in one season. Jerry Koosman won his first six road decisions in 1968. NOTES: While the live chicken the Indians used as a good luck charm Wednesday has been returned to its owner, the bird was still being talked about Friday. Rumours of Boston players eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in 2011 surfaced after Francona was let go by the Red Sox following that season. Asked if he enjoyed his most recent chicken experience better than the first, Francona laughed and said, "As long as the chicken wasnt drinking beer, were good to go." ... Mets LHP Scott Rice, who leads the majors with 73 appearances, will have sports hernia surgery and miss the remainder of the season. ... Niko Lanzarotta, an 8-year-old Indians fan with cerebral palsy who had a special wish granted last month at Progressive Field, will return to the ballpark Saturday. Prior to the July 24 game, Lanzarotta asked Santana and 2B Jason Kipnis if they would hit a home run for him. Both players did and Niko will receive the home run balls from the fans who caught them. ... RHP Corey Kluber, who has been out since Aug. 6 with a sprained middle finger, will be activated to start Saturday for the Indians against LHP Jonathon Niese. ' ' '