Leafs POSTGAME - Lupul's heroics set stage for Bolland's OT clincher

Cam Charron
October 12 2013 08:30PM

 

So, uh, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins fell over in overtime, which led to a three-on-one in overtime with Mason Raymond and Cody Franson, and after a give-and-go, the puck landed on the stick of David Bolland, and he put the winner right through the legs of Devan Dubnyk for the 6-5 winner.

This was one of the weirdest and most entertaining games I've seen in years. Regardless of whether you love the Leafs, hate the Leafs, think the Leafs are going to stink this year or have bought into Randy Carlyle's Great Experiment, it's undeniable that this team is the most fun its been in a long time. The score was 4-4 midway through the third period and the broadcasters were talking like this was a normal occurrence. After an incredible save by Jonathan Bernier on Marc Arcobello that kept Toronto in the game, Joffrey Lupul tied the score with 21 seconds left on the clock, leading to a wide-open, sloppy overtime period that concluded a wide-open, sloppy game.

THE RUNDOWN 

When there are 11 goals in the game, you tend to forget what happens at the start. The Internet blew up because Nail Yakupov was scratched in favour of Jesse Joensuu. Ryan Smyth scored his first of two off of a mix-up behind the Maple Leafs net. Nazem Kadri made it 1-1 on the powerplay, somehow doing this:

I still don't know how there was room for that.

James van Riemsdyk scored his first of two on the night on a brilliant tip on a shot from Franson. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on a 5-on-3 on a weak wrist shot that went right through Bernier's equipment. That ended the first, and somehow it wasn't ridiculously out of place.

In the second, Boyd Gordon scored an early marker, again off of some confusion behind the Leafs net. Nazem Kadri set up Joffrey Lupul a few minutes later. Lupul was just a biiiiit open:

Then, *gasp* the game went a full 20:09 before the next goal. Jordan Eberle scored his first on the season on a two-on-one. Van Riemsdyk scored on a wrap-around. Kadri failed to get a puck deep and the Oilers turned that into a sweet odd-man rush, with Eberle setting up Smyth for his second. After Franson iced the puck late, Tyler Bozak won a faceoff in his own end and Phil Kessel rushed through centre to gain the zone. Lupul shot a puck right at Dubnyk's right pad, but that poor guy can't buy a break this year, and it ricocheted off the ice and in for a late tying goal.

I don't know. Did I cover everything? Lupul nearly scored right as time expired and the game went to overtime. Edmonton probably had the early run of play. They got three offensive possessions in the attacking zone before the Leafs got any, but the Leafs capitalized on their second that began on a rush started by Raymond. Nugent-Hopkins probably had a case for a penalty, but meh. Let Oilers Nation complain about that. 

Colton Orr also threw a hip-check on Taylor Hall, which was hilarious.

WHY THE LEAFS WON

Pure sorcery.

You can't say that the Leafs won thanks to their goaltender. Bernier stopped just four of his first six shots against and looked utterly vincible for the first time all season. He stopped just 83.9% of his shots, and while he made the huge save against Arcobello late, the Leafs were in a bad position mostly because Bernier had a lot of difficulty early on.

Here's that save, if you missed it:

Maybe Arcobello could have got a little more juice on it.

As I mentioned, Lupul's second goal hit Dubnyk in the pad before it bounced in. On this night, Dubnyk was a little worse, or a little more unlucky, than Bernier. It was a weird game, as mentioned in the first line of this post. Perhaps there was no reason the Leafs should have won this game. Perhaps they simply won this game and there's no reason to question why.

Toronto have two exciting, overtime, comeback victories on back-to-back Saturday nights. I hope we get a full season of these.

BLUE WARRIOR

Nazem Kadri played his best game on the season tonight. He had the failed dump-in that led to the original go-ahead goal, but he was excellent through the neutral zone all night. He had six controlled zone entries, a team-high (tied with Lupul and Kessel) four shots on goal and five more attempts. Just 3-for-11 in the faceoff circle, which too many analysts will unfortunately focus on. Kadri had a great game between the faceoffs and scored the most unlikely goal of the season so far with that brilliant snipe in the first.

NOTES

  • Coming into the game, the Leafs were 9th in the NHL in powerplay scoring rate, with 9.55 goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-4 time. They improved on that tonight, bumping it to 9.90 after scoring a goal on their only 4:57 of action.
     
  • Despite the one powerplay goal, the Leafs scored 6-on-5 and 4-on-4, so they only scored three of their goals in 5-on-5 situations. They were out-scored in that regard, but special teams, again, making a big difference.
     
  • Randy Carlyle is not a believer in the "pull the goalie early" strategy employed by Dallas Eakins. Bernier left the net at 1:09 for Joffrey Lupul, who was the guy that scored the tying goal.
     
  • Toronto were out-shot 31-26 in this one, but at even strength it was closer, 22-20. The Leafs also had 34 shot attempts either blocked or missed and the Oilers had just 26.
     
  • Per Extra Skater, the Leafs out-Corsi'd Edmonton 46-40 at evens, and it was pretty even, 32-33, in score-close situations.
     
  • Glenn Healy talked early on about how the Leafs had only a few blocked shots and didn't have many hits, or something. Blocked shots and hits are the absolute worst ways to judge a hockey team.

The Leafs take to the ice again Tuesday at home against Minnesota

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Haitah
October 12 2013, 08:56PM
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"Blocked shots and hits are the absolute worst ways to judge a hockey team."

No actually it is one way to measure team toughness, blocked shots are an amazing way to judge a team. These stats are on the same level on importance as corsi, just a stat.

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#2 Thomas
October 13 2013, 04:45AM
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Haitah wrote:

"Blocked shots and hits are the absolute worst ways to judge a hockey team."

No actually it is one way to measure team toughness, blocked shots are an amazing way to judge a team. These stats are on the same level on importance as corsi, just a stat.

Agree. You see it more in playoffs but blocked shots and hits usually an indication of team compete level or team toughness. The Leafs Pat Burns employed team with a focus on team defense. New Jeresy Devils played the trap, but they also emphasized team toughness. Most successful Cinderella teams in playoffs did this well. Most recent memory of this was the L.A. Kings

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#3 Justin
October 12 2013, 09:04PM
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Haitah wrote:

"Blocked shots and hits are the absolute worst ways to judge a hockey team."

No actually it is one way to measure team toughness, blocked shots are an amazing way to judge a team. These stats are on the same level on importance as corsi, just a stat.

Blocked shots and hits are pretty useless. I mean, blocked shots and hits are important when they are needed, but otherwise high amounts of blocked shots and hits just means you have the puck less or are chasing after players for hits.

As for Glenn Healy, I cannot stand the guy. Did anybody else hear his not so subtle dig at Reimer. On Bernier's third goal when he was flailing around Healy said something about how that was how Bernier looked more like Reimer and not Bernier.

I just don't understand how the CBC can employ actual great analyst and broadcasters like Ron Maclean and Elliot Friedman but than scrape the bottom of the barrel with Healy, Stock, and Don "Xenophobic and Senile" Cherry.

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#4 Haitah
October 12 2013, 09:37PM
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Cerdis wrote:

Um... blocked shots aren't needed when you have the puck...

Thanks for the intelligent observation. A team could potentially have 14 shots against and block all 14, right? So the stat is useful as any other stat on any other night.

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#5 STAN
October 12 2013, 10:05PM
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So, will this team be better with Clarkson, Kulemin and McLaren? I doubt it.

Reimer will almost certainly get the next start. He can't sit forever. Now's the time.

Don Cherry insists Morgan Rielly is already the Leafs best defenceman. O think he MAY be, in a few months, with Franson and Gardiner not far behind.

Kadi and Raymond see the ice, rag the puck and set up mates better than any other Leafs forward.

The Hot Stove gang was talking about Phaneuf's agent talking contract with Nonis & Co. and MIGHT be considering a "reasonable" salary in return for a 6-8 season deal. Am I the only one who thinks that money could be much better spent?

Bolland has two game-winners in 6 games, perhaps proving he was worth those draft picks.

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#6 Cole
October 13 2013, 08:01AM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

We are all still in the dark ages when it comes to stats. Hits and Blocked shots are similar to tackles in football.Teams with the least possession have more.Its not a positive.The same logic works in reverse for Giveaways.Players who have the puck more often turn it over more.It sounds so simple.

Blocked shots are similar to tackles in football.... I'm not even sure what to say to that, perhaps the worst comparison I've ever seen. Not at all similar stats. And while teams with the lower posession numbers sometimes have higher blocked shots and hit numbers, it can easily be the opposite. It's about as useful as corsi, a reference to look at but you obviously can't judge a game from numbers alone.

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#7 leafer4life
October 12 2013, 11:57PM
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Cerdis wrote:

Um... blocked shots aren't needed when you have the puck...

and extending this thinking fully, a decent corsi is not important so long as the team keeps winning

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#8 Haitah
October 12 2013, 09:11PM
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Justin wrote:

Blocked shots and hits are pretty useless. I mean, blocked shots and hits are important when they are needed, but otherwise high amounts of blocked shots and hits just means you have the puck less or are chasing after players for hits.

As for Glenn Healy, I cannot stand the guy. Did anybody else hear his not so subtle dig at Reimer. On Bernier's third goal when he was flailing around Healy said something about how that was how Bernier looked more like Reimer and not Bernier.

I just don't understand how the CBC can employ actual great analyst and broadcasters like Ron Maclean and Elliot Friedman but than scrape the bottom of the barrel with Healy, Stock, and Don "Xenophobic and Senile" Cherry.

I didn't mention Healy once, personally not a fan of his annoucncing skills either but hey... If you need to rant, go ahead and rant.

And they're "important when they're needed". When is a blocked shot not needed? If it's not going towards the net then it's not recorded, you're not making any sense. It's quite clearly a stat that represents a certain aspect of defensive play, hence why it's recorded by the NHL

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#9 Grabovski
October 13 2013, 06:21AM
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Haitah wrote:

"Blocked shots and hits are the absolute worst ways to judge a hockey team."

No actually it is one way to measure team toughness, blocked shots are an amazing way to judge a team. These stats are on the same level on importance as corsi, just a stat.

A blocked shot isn't on the same level as Corsi. Do people really still believe this?

Teams that rank high in Corsi have an overwhelming tendency to at least make the playoffs. Teams that rank high in total blocked shots tend to miss them, and give up more shots in general.

Lost in all of this is a lousy performance from Morgan Rielly. He showed some flashes of offense but made all the defensive positional mistakes expected from a 19 year old. This game was a perfect illustration of why he could use another year in junior, and saving a year on his ELC couldn't hurt.

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#10 Turkduckin
October 13 2013, 10:07AM
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Grabovski wrote:

We can DEFINITELY judge a game from numbers alone, in fact you depend on them whether you know it or not. Unless of course you watch and remember the details of every single NHL game.

The numbers are objective. Your eyes are not.

Maybe if you know absolutely nothing about the sport, then I can see how someone would think that they depend on stats to judge a game. Personally, my eyes see more then any stat can show.

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#11 Cerdis
October 12 2013, 09:33PM
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@Haitah

Um... blocked shots aren't needed when you have the puck...

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#12 Jordan
October 13 2013, 02:53AM
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I think Healy was referring to the Leafs overall style of play tonight when he brought up blocked shots and hits. Normally they excel at sacrificing the body to make a hit and block a shot when required. They didn't seem to want to do this against the Oilers, which probably lead to the many defensive break downs they had. I think stats. People tend to misinterpret this type of analysis sometimes.

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#13 Cole
October 13 2013, 10:22AM
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Grabovski wrote:

We can DEFINITELY judge a game from numbers alone, in fact you depend on them whether you know it or not. Unless of course you watch and remember the details of every single NHL game.

The numbers are objective. Your eyes are not.

Actually there are many times when numbers can be skewed, for example the current debate on what qualifies as a "scoring chance" has led to mixed statistics and numbers that aren't the same across the board.

Yes I do watch every (leafs) game, and pay attention to every detail and am able to form my own opinion based off that.

If you need statistics (some of which differ depending on who recorded them) to form your opinion based off someone else's analysis... Then that's just sad really.

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#14 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 13 2013, 07:33AM
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@Grabovski

We are all still in the dark ages when it comes to stats. Hits and Blocked shots are similar to tackles in football.Teams with the least possession have more.Its not a positive.The same logic works in reverse for Giveaways.Players who have the puck more often turn it over more.It sounds so simple.

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#15 Grabovski
October 13 2013, 09:56AM
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Cole wrote:

Blocked shots are similar to tackles in football.... I'm not even sure what to say to that, perhaps the worst comparison I've ever seen. Not at all similar stats. And while teams with the lower posession numbers sometimes have higher blocked shots and hit numbers, it can easily be the opposite. It's about as useful as corsi, a reference to look at but you obviously can't judge a game from numbers alone.

We can DEFINITELY judge a game from numbers alone, in fact you depend on them whether you know it or not. Unless of course you watch and remember the details of every single NHL game.

The numbers are objective. Your eyes are not.

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#16 Steve
October 13 2013, 05:34PM
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For those of you arguing the about the usefulness of stats, please stop. You guys are arguing about extremes. This isn't Republicans vs. Democrats. For the traditionalists, no, stat-guys are not turning their tvs off as soon as the game comes on and just looking at numbers on a computer screen. And stat-guys, no, traditionalists are not a bunch of cavemen who need your pity for their simple-minded view of the game. Stats are a way to explain why the game turned out the way it did. Corsi is a good way to define an entire game while block shots are not; blocked shots and hits might define your team's defensive play, but if that's how you spend the entire game, your team isn't winning.

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#17 Gambo Rambo
October 12 2013, 09:18PM
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Man, what a game! There may have been some negatives to the game but it's always nice to see the leafs pull out a win like that. It wasn't too long ago where the leafs would be the ones being thwarted in the 3rd but in all honesty I had full confidence in their comeback tonight which is a trust I haven't felt in years.

And Bernier let in 5 tonight, but I still think he made some quality saves. So what, put Reimer in next game to show how awesome he is! Two young, great goalies with tons of potential, what a good problem to have!

Good things are coming! Go Leafs Go!!!

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#18 BCLeafFan
October 13 2013, 08:55AM
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Just another wild and crazy night at the ACC. Jonathan Bernier is human after all - time to give James Reimer another start. Not sure why people listen so carefully to Don Cherry and Glen Healy - are there no bathrooms, are there no refrigerators? Edmonton remind me of the Leafs under Ron Wilson - so did the Leafs last night. Sure would like to see how the Oilers would play with a solid goalie behind them. Methinks Craig McTavish will make a move soon. Who comes out of the Leaf lineup when Clarkson and Kulemin come back? Interesting times.

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#19 nick
October 13 2013, 10:34AM
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@BCLeafFan

would love to see Orr sit and I think Leivo needs some time in the AHL, making room for Kulie and Clarkson, but unfortunately Orr will probably play every game this year, and the much more talented Broll will get sent down.

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#20 Old Leaf Fan
October 13 2013, 02:28PM
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@STAN

Phaneuf logs real tough minutes and a lot of them. Right now he is +2 and is 12th in D men scoring. He offers something that the Leafs are not deep in tough, hitting D men with a scoring touch. He may not be the best liked by other teams, but that means little. For the right price I would sign him.

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#21 Back in Black
October 13 2013, 10:32PM
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@BCLeafFan

"Are there no bathrooms? Are there no refrigerators?"

That is an awesome line. I caught the late game with Hrudey instead of Healy and it made a huge difference.

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#22 Back in Black
October 13 2013, 10:33PM
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@BCLeafFan

"Are there no bathrooms? Are there no refrigerators?"

That is an awesome line. I caught the late game with Hrudey instead of Healy and it made a huge difference.

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