January 28 2014 08:37PM
Any other team, and we might suggest that the winner of the Tampa Bay and Toronto game taking place on Tuesday night was lucky—that the winning team benefit from four goal posts and a memorable goaltending performance from their starting goalie. But this is the Toronto Maple Leafs were talking about, and they've managed to pull games out like this since the dawn of 2013.
And it was a good thing, too, that the Leafs were able to capitalize on a late third period chance and eke out the 3-2 victory. The out-of-town scoreboard was not friendly to the Leafs on the night, with several teams behind them in the standings pulling out victories, but unable to gain any ground on the Leafs, who somehow find themselves closer to second place in the division than they do ninth place in the Conference.
I don't understand it, but it's sports. If you want fairness, or expected outcomes, go watch chess or pro wrestling. Recap below.
January 28 2014 01:26PM
Who is Troy Bodie? Sadly, a lot of people don't know because he hasn't been a regular in Toronto's lineup. Over the years, Carlyle has chosen to employ facepunchers as opposed to hockey players who can punch faces, which is the difference between a guy like Bodie and the likes of Orr and McLaren. Yes, he's Tim Leiweke's son-in-law. But no, he hasn't been handed anything he's been given. He's earned his current role on the Leafs and fans should be hoping he sticks in the lineup even when David Clarkson, the guy he replaced, returns.
January 28 2014 11:19AM
When Steven Stamkos went down, I think too many people were willing to write off the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos is many things: he's a generational talent, probably the best scorer in the game, a deserving Olympian and, as it turns out, pretty inconsequential to the success of the Lightning.
Not to say the Bolts are better off without Stamkos, but Steve Yzerman has built up his minor league system with so many young, skilled players that the difference isn't felt that much. When a player gets injured, you don't lose his production entirely—you lose the difference between that player and whoever his replacement is, and as it turns out, Stamkos' replacement on the top line, Tyler Johnson, is having a fine season and has been red hot lately.
Like the Leafs, however, the reason for Tampa Bay's record lies between the pipes: Ben Bishop leads all NHL starting goalies in save percentage.
Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
January 27 2014 09:03PM
Hey! We tried this thing during the offseason, where I answered people's questions about the Leafs and Marlies once per week. It lasted two consecutive weeks. I tried to revive it a month or so later, which lasted one week. Moral of the story?
Jeffler sucks. Don't do a hockey mailbag when people aren't playing hockey. Also, Jeffler Sucks. Let's go for three weeks and beyond this time! Mondays are the goal, though it could slip into another day if gamedays or major stories get in the way.
From this point forward, if you'd like to submit a question, email me at email@example.com, or tweet your question with the hashtag #TLNMailbag. Tagging @Jeffler would be a fun courtesy, but unneccessary, especially if you're closing in on character limits. You can also leave your question in the comments of this post. Without further ado...
January 27 2014 08:25PM
The cat's out of the bag: This kid's good!
Leafs prospect Connor Brown just became the first player in Erie Otters history to score 100 points in a season. Even more insane: He did it in just 48 games. Um... Wow. Holy crap.