Leafs POSTGAME - Penalties, penalties, penalties: Columbus beats Leafs 5-2

Cam Charron
October 25 2013 08:54PM

 
Wonder how that Indiana-Dallas game turned out?

I'm sorry in advance if this game recap misses key information. In the second period, right after Toronto tied it up, a large intruder walked into my home and knocked me over the head with a large, heavy object. I was knocked out for much of the second period, and awoke to find my intruder gone and miraculously, he hadn't taken anything valuable from my apartment. I did miss most of the second period, however. Perhaps he was from the Illuminati.

Toronto limped into Columbus Friday night with yet another key injury, and limped out a little slower after the Maple Leafs managed to be defeated by the friggin Blue Jackets. If there was a theme to the game that wound up being David Clarkson's debut, it was the parade to the penalty box as the Leafs just couldn't keep their sticks away from Blue Jacket players. The Leafs again were out-shot heavily, 15-5 after the first period and 36-25, but were in the game for long enough that the ending was in doubt until Ryan Johansen's empty-net goal in the final minute.

Final score, 5-2, after a snack goal on the part of Nick Foligno. Not a pretty road performance.

THE RUNDOWN

Hard to know where to begin here. I guess I tuned into the game late, just as Clarkson took that first penalty, and we got to see Ryan Murray score his first ever NHL goal against the Leafs. Jonathan Bernier was very strong all the way through to the end of the period and held the Leafs in the game, enough so that Phil Kessel was able to score his sixth on a centering pass from Tyler Bozak (maybe it wasn't a pass. he was just sort of banging at it). 

I don't know if the Leafs just wore down of if Columbus is just a better team. The Jackets scored early in the third, one of their four goals in the frame. This time it was Marian Gaborik banging home a gift in front Nick Foligno, who made Paul Ranger look less like a potential top four NHL defenceman on this shift: 

The Leafs got a 4-on-3 midway through the period. First, Nazem Kadri and Daulton Prout went off at the same time for tripping and interference minors. Just 61 seconds later, Fedor Tyutin tripped Jay McClement and the Leafs got a decided space advantage. It worked against the Leafs. Brandon Dubinsky went on an end-to-end rush, wisely holding onto the puck coming out of his zone rather than clear the puck down the ice, and caught the Leafs somewhat on a change.

I agree with Anthony Petrelli here:

It was a heck of a play by Dubinsky and a great shot, with no chance for Bernier or for Cody Franson, the lone man back from the Leafs.

All looked lost then, until David Bolland banged home a rebound in front for his fourth, but then he took a penalty on his next shift and the Jackets let the clock wind down. Ryan Johansen eventually scored an empty-net goal, and Foligno scored a 5-2 goal for good measure to close the Leafs out.

WHY THE LEAFS LOST

4:16 David Clarkson (Hooking)
8:07 Nazem Kadri (Cross checking)
11:54 Morgan Rielly (Holding)
24:53 David Bolland (Hi-sticking)
33:40 Morgan Rielly (Tripping)
39:51 Nazem Kadri (Hooking)
57:09 David Bolland (Tripping)

Pretty much it. The Maple Leafs took seven penalties, and no matter how good your penalty kill is that's going to be an issue. The Leafs wound up giving up 9 shots on those penalty kill situations. 9 shots in 11:32 of 4-on-5 time is actually pretty solid, but 11:32 is simply playing with fire. Columbus didn't score on any of their powerplay chances after the first, but the subsequent Leafs penalties really hindered their ability to play offence.

BLUE WARRIOR(S)

Bolland and Clarkson both took costly penalties, but them with McClement was the best line the Leafs had on the night, generating some great zone time. All three players had a Corsi For% of above 50%, and they saw a lot of ice-time as Randy Carlyle's primary defensive zone option. McClement also wound up playing 21:37, a team-high among forwards.

NOTES

  • Cody Franson and Morgan Rielly saw more ice time than Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson, which is curious.
     
  • According to ExtraSkater.com's recap, Phaneuf was mostly matched up against the Gaborik line while Franson saw the Dubinsky line with Cam Atkinson.
     
  • I thought Atkinson was the most dangerous Blue Jacket. Six shots on goal despite not scoring, and the Jackets out-shot Toronto 12-7 with him on the ice at 5-on-5.
     
  • The Leafs have been struggling at the dot this season. Again, just 23-44 tonight, for a 34% rate. Doubt this is why they're getting out-shot so badly, but it can't help.
     
  • Tough night for Bernier, stopping 31-of-35. After his workload this week, have to imagine it's James Reimer tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
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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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#2 leafer2013
October 25 2013, 09:05PM
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Cam great call for being the first to point out the regression of the leafs high SH%, which showed up right on queue in the game tonight against the jackets just like you have been predicting.

I see many main stream media writers and hockey commentators are taking/imitating your work on SH% and some of your other work Corsi and PDO. Too bad that you don't get any credit for much of the work you have completed in discovering, developing and championing the use of advanced statistics pretty much all by yourself for these past few years.

That said, after this game, I have to 100% agree with you as it is pretty clear that the leafs are not a good hockey team and now are finally regressing and will totally collapse and miss the playoffs after the fluke season of last year.

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#3 STAN
October 26 2013, 01:02AM
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It's, what, late October? Leaves fall this time of year.

As for the grammatically incorrect "Leafs" the trend is negative. Down.

There was nothing positive in these 60 minutes of 'work' against the Blue jackets. Nothing.

Good luck against the Penguins.

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#4 bringbacksundin
October 26 2013, 09:54AM
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I have a bad feeling about this season with how this team played. I was hopeful and optimistic given Carlyle's ability to control shot quality and defy regression last season but it seems his luck has run out. And even Phaneuf and Kessel look to be a core part of the leafs possession problem along with Bernier who is a complete failure after his fluke hot start.

I wish Nonis listened to Cam and took his postings more seriously during the off season. The leafs had one lucky single shortened season but based on that success have made a series of moves that will impair them going forward. Changes like extending Nonis, Bozak, Orr and Mclaren, then trading for Bernier and signing Clarkson and retaining Liles on the payroll while buying out Grabbo and letting Eakins walk. Even letting Kostka walk and signing Ranger up looks like a terrible move.

These moves will impair the leafs for years to come and ensure they continue their cellar dwelling/non playoff tradition.

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