COLUMBUS, Ohio – David Clarkson’s return was supposed to help the Toronto Maple Leafs find an identity.
In his first game in a Leafs uniform following his suspension, Clarkson set the tone for a penalty-filled effort in a 5-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night at Nationwide Arena.
Clarkson was the first Toronto player to take a penalty, less than five minutes into his debut, and Ryan Murray scored his first NHL goal shortly after. It was the only power-play goal the Blue Jackets scored, but the Leafs’ parade to the penalty box hurt the flow of their game.
Centre Nazem Kadri took three penalties, and defenceman Morgan Rielly and forward Dave Bolland had two apiece. The Leafs spent 11 minutes 23 seconds shorthanded and were outshot largely because of that.
Brandon Dubinsky scored what turned out to be the game-winner shorthanded at the 12:27 mark of the third. It was a 4-on-3 situation in part because of Kadri’s third penalty of the night.
Clarkson finished with four shots, two penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating in 15:10 of ice time.
© The Canadian Press, 2013