Antropov's bonehead tripping penalty in the dying minutes of the 3rd when Carolina was on their heels can only be explained by one word: Fatigue. It was physical and mental laziness. With 4 games in 6 nights, you can easily understand how a team as feisty as the Leafs could be tired.
While the penalties taken in the second stanza certainly were troubling, it wasn't nearly as troubling as the play of Cujo.
Once a premier goalie in the league, Cujo has looked merely a shell of his former self. He's been out of position, appears reactive rather than proactive and cost the Leafs 2 points tonight. While the Toronto defense certainly isn't without blame, the stabling force of solid goaltending props up your defensive core. Joseph has looked shaky and had Toskala been between the pipes, this likely would have been a win.
The Ruutu goal was a direct result of Joseph being out of position. As Ruutu came out from behind the net, Joseph was down to cover the wrap around nicely. When Ruutu didn't complete the move and instead headed out towards the faceoff dot, a goalie is supposed to go upright again then step out and cut down the angle. Joseph remained in the wrap around prevent position which totally exposed the short side high portion of the net. Not surprisingly, Ruutu buried it in this exact spot. Even Tommy Salo would have made that save... Ok.. maybe not.
The Larose goal was also a result of Joseph being out of position. Joseph has lost some agility that he has been trying to compensate for by going down early as he tries to make cross crease plays. Unfortunately, that lack of agility makes it hard for him to recover. Larose made it count by going high on the resulting scrambling.
While these 2 were glaring errors, it was a common theme all night. Joseph went down early time after time and on many of those, look awkward trying to get back into position. He didn't come out and challenge shooters leaving many corners open and seemed to be lacking a lot of confidence.
He needs to get a win soon to get his confidence back, or this could be a very trying season whenever Toskala is given the backup role. There is of course, the possibility that the NHL has finally passed him by. I love Cujo, however, if this trend continues as the season goes on, it will be his last.
Leafs get a day to recoup and will have a chance to redeem themselves on Tuesday against these same Hurricanes.
I suspect they will.