By Craig Hagerman
The 9-2 shelling of the Toronto Maple Leafs by the Nashville Predators Tuesday night crushed fans of the blue and white, shocked hockey fans around the league, and provided a lot of firsts in the process.
For the Leafs, Tuesday’s embarrassing loss on home ice was the first time in the team’s history that they had allowed more than eight goals against at the Air Canada Centre. The game was also the first time since 1991 that the Buds have allowed nine goals in a single game.
St. Catharines, Ont. native, Taylor Beck had the opportunity to play close to home and for the 23-year-old left winger, Tuesday marked his first multi-goal game of his career. Beck found the back of the net twice and added one helper. Over the first 37 games of his career, dating back to the 2012-13 season, Beck has six goals and 12 points. He was drafted in the third round 70th overall in 2009 by the Preds and according to head coach Peter Laviolette, had arguably the best game of his career.
“Taylor played really well tonight, that might have been his best game so far,” said Laviolette. “He was strong down the wing, strong with the shot. He’s really been good in front of the net and were just trying him down on the power play and he does a good job of creating some havoc in front and getting stick on pucks.”
Derek Roy scored his first goal of the season after recording seven assists through the team’s first 17 games. The 31-year-old’s marker midway through the first period helped to make it 2-0 Nashville and was Roy’s first point in his last five outings. The goal was actually a monumental marker for the 5-foot-9, 184 pounder, as it was the 500th point of his career in his 684th career game.
“I’ve been shooting the puck a lot trying to get that,” said Roy. "I didn’t even know I was close to that milestone until my brother let me know.”
Preds rookie Calle Jarnkrok was another who recorded his first goal of the campaign Tuesday. The 23-year-old’s tally just over three minutes into the third period was the Gavle, Sweden native’s third goal of his career. Jarnkrok, like Roy, was also able to use the blowout as a way to get the monkey off his back, scoring for the first time in 14 games this season after Colin Wilson made a great cross ice pass on a 2-on-1 break.
Toronto entered the game after also being wiped across the ice in Buffalo Saturday to the last-place Sabres. Following Tuesday’s dismal performance many disgruntled fans have questioned if first-year president Brendan Shanahan and company should make a move in the front office.
For disappointed Leaf fans, hopes are that displays like this will be rare, and if not, expect a few more teams to pile up a few more firsts.