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.
January 26 2013 10:54AM
Photo Credit: Abelimages/Getty
Indubitably, Nazem Kadri is saying all the right things about his early season scoring success, and why wouldn't he? Carlyle has put his young forward in a position to succeed, unlike Ron Wilson, and Kadri is cashing in with three goals in four games and all around impressive play. Why? He's transitioned from a two-way role to an offensive role this season.
Wilson chose a tough-love approach. The coach, who was fired last March, made a habit of questioning Kadri’s commitment to defence in public, as well as his commitment to the physical demands of the NHL. (While declaring the then-20-year-old as a healthy scratch for a home game in December 2010, Wilson said Kadri lacked “hockey strength.”)
The questions about fitness lingered into training camp with Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate last fall. But they seem to have been eased.
It's an all-around excellent piece worth reading because it shows the trust that the Toronto Maple Leafs have in their coach. Player roles are more strictly defined in this regime than the previous one. Carlyle is a stickler with his lines, his opponents' lines, his matchups and his zone matchups, and Kadri is benefitting from it.
January 25 2013 12:58PM
Interesting bit of news today:
Gardiner sent down to Marlies.Long lay off because of concussion. Needs time to adjust.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 25, 2013
I don't think Gardiner has had it too rough this season. His scoring chances +/- in the last two games is +8 chances for, -12 chances against. Comparatively, Mike Kostka, who has played easier minutes, is a +7 for and -14 against. Gardiner was doing well in all even-strenght situations with John-Michael Liles against New York.
Conditioning stints typically last a couple of games, although after tomorrow's game at Ricoh against Wilkes-Barre, the Marlies are off until Friday in Rochester. Perhaps the Leafs wanted to get Gardiner skating, but preferably not against one of the conference's toughest teams in the New York Rangers.
January 24 2013 08:38PM
A moral victory to anybody who stuck through to the end of that one.
The Toronto Maple Leafs came out swinging in the first period with three goals, got a couple of unlucky ones in the third and went into the third tied 3-3. At that point, many people will blame Ben Scrivens, but the Leafs as a whole were pretty bad. They were eaten alive all game by the top line of the New York Islanders consisting of John Tavares, Matt Moulson and Kyle Okposo.
In the end, a 3-1 lead for the Leafs turned into a 7-3 defeat, at the hands of the worst period the Leafs have played all year. I have some data below. Figure out who to point fingers at. (This guy)
January 24 2013 07:35AM
I don't find the New York Islanders a particularly interesting organization to follow, so some of this preview will be dedicated to posting some data from last night's excellent hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Most of this will be an attempt to comment on how much I've enjoyed the way Randy Carlyle has used his bench so far in the season.
I wrote in my preview that unless Carlyle was sheltering the piss out of Nazem Kadri, his line would get steamrollered by the offensive starts of the Penguins. Not only did Carlyle shelter Kadri and keep him and Leo Komarov off the ice for a single Pittsburgh scoring chance against his line, but he managed to get a good defensive performance out of Mike Komisarek to boot.