January 29 2013 08:55PM
Well that was unlikely.
Not only has Ryan Miller typically been a beast against the Toronto Maple Leafs in his career, but the Toronto Maple Leafs got in no small way out-played by the Buffalo Sabres at the First Niagara Center Tuesday night, but walked away with a 4-3 overtime win thanks to Matt Frattin's second goal of the contest.
Jay McClement and Cody Franson also scored for the Leafs, who won a real weird one, but you knew that already. I have some detailed scoring chance data ahead, which I guarantee you is information you won't see anywhere else on the World Wide Web.
January 29 2013 02:00PM
The hilarious thing is that Mike Komisarek suffered a freak injury doing "something he regrets" according to Randy Carlyle.
Carlyle wouldn't elaborate on how Komisarek suffered his injury, but said it was doing something he regrets.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 29, 2013
The not-so hilarious thing is that apparently his injury involved a fibreglass shard to the eye, which seems like it would hurt a lot. The other not-so hilarious thing is that Mike Komisarek is one of the five legitimate NHLers the Maple Leafs have on defence. Komisarek has been useful on the penalty kill this season, on a team of defencemen that don't have an awful lot of experience playing the penalty kill.
The Leafs lineup isn't yet set, and isn't exactly known which defenceman will take Komisarek's spot, but Jake Gardiner was recalled from the Toronto Marlies earlier today and will be a "game-time decision". Hopefully, both Gardiner and Franson will slot into the lineup at the expense of Mark Fraser, Gardiner can play limited offensive minutes with Marlies defensive partner Mike Kostka, and the Leafs can return Dion Phaneuf to his comfort zone alongside Carl Gunnarsson. The Leafs may need a five-man checking unit tonight.
January 28 2013 01:18PM
The negatives of the Leafs season so far have overtaken the positives after Toronto put up two stinkers against both New York teams to finish last week at 2-3-0. In a vacuum, the 2-3-0 record isn't jarring or worrying. It's a long season, despite what the pundits tell you, and usually in an 82-game season the teams that make the playoffs are the ones who are in playoff position after Game 48.
There's a slightly larger cushion for bad games or bad weeks, but the Leafs can get away with two or three weeks scattered throughout the season of poor performances. That's not what I'm particularly worried about, but the way the team has played this season, they've been heavily relying on their goaltending.
January 27 2013 03:50PM
The Fan 590, in its efforts to incite reactions out of Torontonians rather than educate, asked this question on its sports radio station today:
Our answer is unequivocally "no". Dion Phaneuf took some heat in our comment threads for his play against the New York Rangers. One commenter referred to him as a "better version of [Brett] Lebda".
Most defencemen are better versions of Brett Lebda, of course, but that's not really the question asked. Phaneuf is paid $6.5-million over the next two seasons and is hardly a buy-out candidate. While he may not be worth every penny on his deal, he's the best defenceman on Toronto and he doesn't play a position the Leafs can afford to give up good players.
Consider the following about Phaneuf's play so far this season:
January 26 2013 08:46PM
Not often when you go into a road building against one of the conference's elite teams do you have a chance to win. Seldom do you even hold a one-goal lead into the third period.
Whether it was fatigue from playing their third game in four nights, or simply by being a group with several glaring holes in the lineup, the Maple Leafs had another third period to forget, and walk out of Madison Square Garden with a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers, falling to 2-3-0 on the season.
Toronto got out-shot, badly. They got out-chanced, badly, and after the final buzzer, they got out-scored, badly. The lone positive in this one may have been the play of one James Reimer, the 24-year old goaltender who has looked every bit an NHL starter in his appearances this season.