March 18 2013 02:59PM
Something funny happened on Joffrey Lupul's second goal Saturday night. As you can see from the video above, Colton Orr gets in quick, makes a hit that forces a turnover and allowing Nazem Kadri to recover the puck, set up Joffrey Lupul for a Leafs goal. Easy, right, just how Randy Carlyle drew it up, with Orr creating space for the young Kadri.
The problem is that when he's playing away from Colton Orr, Nazem Kadri scores more goals, records more points, and fires more pucks at the net, it's close, but Kadri's been better away from Orr this season:
|TOI||GF/20 MIN||Goals/20 MIN||Points/20 MIN||Attempts/20 MIN|
March 18 2013 04:34AM
A few thoughts to kick off your week, and previewing the things we'll look at on this blog in Toronto Maple Leafs analysis…
No. 1 - Nikolai Kulemin's scoring: Where did it go?
One of the major concerns this season has been the lack of production from Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin. In 2011, those two were 3-4 on the Leafs with 58 and 57 points apiece. This season, the two are on pace for just 31 and 44 points apiece. Bob Mitchell in the Toronto Star brought it up in a column yesterday, with a quote from Randy Carlyle:
“From my memory before I got here, Kulemin had a big-time shot and I don’t see him shooting the puck as often,” Carlyle said before Saturday’s game. “He used to step over the blue line and his wrist shot had the ability to beat the goalie from the top of the circle . . . I don’t see that happening anymore.
March 16 2013 09:10PM
Photo via Claus Anderson/NHL Interactive
Sometimes you can nitpick certain aspects of the game. Sometimes you can just throw out the spreadsheets and enjoy a perfectly good game of hockey. Not a lot to comment on here—this was a hockey game with minimal structure from both teams, some hilarious coaching decisions on both ends, lots of goals, and an interminable shootout.
Winnipeg beats Toronto 5-4, but Toronto, for the second straight Saturday night, came back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime and the shootout. They got their chances in the OT, but Nik Kulemin missed an empty net and Nazem Kadri failed to convert a gorgeous play set up by Phil Kessel and John-Michael Liles. They couldn't get anything done in the shootout and James Reimer could only hold off the Jets for so long before Zach Bogosian scored the winner.
March 16 2013 04:21PM
The Leafs get Joffrey Lupul back, but since scoring hasn't been Toronto's issue in his absence, the bigger story to tonight's game is that Toronto gets to set the line matchups in contrast to their two earlier games this season against Winnipeg in Winnipeg. Other than that, not a whole heck of a lot else changes, even if this game is stepped up in importance due to Winnipeg being a team competing for a playoff spot with Toronto, and that fact is a little more apparent:
*3rd - Carolina - 31 pts / 22 games remaining
5th - Ottawa 34 pts / 21 games remaining
6th - New Jersey 32 pts / 20 games remaining
7th - Toronto 31 pts / 20 games remaining
8th - Winnipeg 30 pts / 21 games remaining
9th - NY Rangers 28 pts / 21 games remaining
10th - NY Islanders 27 pts / 21 games remaining
11th - Philadelphia 27 pts / 19 games remaining
I'll get into more detail in all of those team's chances later this week, but those are the eight teams realistically competing for the final five spots barring a crazy run from the Lightning or Capitals. As much grief as the hockey blogosphere gives Winnipeg, they're a pretty good team, and I gave them a good shot to make the playoffs last season. Their issue was goaltending, but they're a very well-coached, even-possession team with two good lines.
March 15 2013 12:45PM
The bad news, as pointed out by James Mirtle, is that Tyler Bozak is averaging more than three minutes a game more than Mikhail Grabovski this season. That can mean that Randy Carlyle actually-factually thinks Bozak is a better player than Grabovski.
Worse, as I've seemed to notice, it seems as if Grabovski has been held to such a low number based on a statistic. Like has been pointed out to me many times before in comment sections, you can't build a team based on a spreadsheet, whether it's Corsi, Offensive Zone Start %… or face-off percentage.