November 28 2013 02:57AM
"Score effects" is the term used by hockey analysts to explain why teams that are behind by a goal tend to out-shoot the opposition. You may notice in the third period, often a team will rally but come up just shy. I'll point to examples last night, such as Carolina, leading 4-1 into the third period against New Jersey, were out-shot 9-3 and held on for a 4-3 win. Winnipeg, up 3-1, were out-shot 10-7 and won 3-2. Phoenix was up 2-0, was out-shot 14-11 and won 3-1.
Not to say this happens every game, but comebacks happen. We don't know why, but in almost any sport, the trailing team generates some artificial momentum and does better.
That doesn't explain what's up with the Toronto Maple Leafs when they attempt to hold a lead. Nevermind getting out-shot 19-0 by the Penguins in the third period and overtime after being up 5-3 going into the final 20, the last time the Leafs held a lead going into the third, against the Islanders, they were out-shot 17-10. (I incorrectly wrote that the Leafs had been out-shot 36-4 in third periods their last two times going in with leads in a comment on the postgame thread. It's really 36-10. Misread something).
November 27 2013 08:44PM
The Leafs and the Penguins, two dominant QMJHL (apparently?) franchises, met up at Consol Energy Centre Wednesday night for the drunkest game of the season. Despite throwing everything at Jonathan Bernier in the second half of the game, the Pittsburgh Penguins could not skate away with a regulation victory. Despite scoring five goals on 24 shots, chasing the starting goaltender and scoring on the first shot the backup faced, the Maple Leafs couldn't hang on in the end.
There's some wonky strategy employed by Randy Carlyle in the way he defends leads. Again, Toronto didn't get a shot in the final 25:04 of the game, yet skate out of Pittsburgh with a point, falling 6-5 in a shootout.
November 27 2013 11:15AM
As an early Christmas present, the Maple Leafs get to hit the hardest part of the schedule. Between now and the time Santa comes around, Toronto gets to play 15 games in 27 days, including four back-to-backs, five against current Western Conference playoff teams, and every other Eastern Conference playoff team except for Washington. If the margin for error was thin before, it's even thinner now. The Leafs have been banking points in November for precisely this purpose, this three-week stretch that could make or break the team's playoff fortunes.
It all starts tonight in Pittsburgh. After conceding six against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, James Reimer won't get a chance against a team he's done pretty well against. Don't sweat it. Like I've said many, many times before, don't pay too much attention to a goalie's numbers in a small sample of games against a particular team.
But the grind begins tonight, and this is the type of stretch where Randy Carlyle is going to be glad he has two goalies. Both will get an ample chance to prove themselves in the next three weeks.
November 26 2013 10:36AM
Let's sweep that loss to Columbus under the rug. I woke up strangely sick Monday morning and wasn't myself, so I can't blame the Leafs for putting together such a stagnant effort against Columbus. The beauty of an 82-game season is that a 6-0 loss in November counts the same as a 3-1 loss once all is said and done, and the reality is that teams don't really dwell on losses as much as they're perceived to. After a 7-0 defeat at home to Washington earlier this season, all Philadelphia did was win the next game 4-0, then lost consecutive games, then won three straight… almost as if games are independent of the last ones.
I want to talk about Mason Raymond.
November 23 2013 10:08AM
Maybe LGD threads should all be titled after movies
Disclaimer: One thing I'd prefer not to do in this preview is discuss the fate of a certain former Leaf centreman, his merits or his flaws, with respect to the reader, he is a member of the Washington Capitals now, and he plays on a line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, and that is all that matters.
It must be hockey season, since the Washington Capitals are a bit of an on-ice disappointment. I projected them to be pretty high in the standings at the start of the season, but they're 16th in the league with 25 points, and I'd think part of that success is a bit of an illusion. I thought they'd be towards the top of the table in the Eastern Conference, but they're already five points back of first in the Metropolitan (or PatrickPlus) and 16th in the league, well-back of contender status.
Of course, I've also learned that when a team betrays your expectations, usually it's because your forecasting methods were off, not because there's something wrong with the team or players.