How the Leafs got Kessel away from Chara in Game 2

Cam Charron
May 05 2013 12:00PM

Suffice to say, a major difference between regular season games and playoff games is that coaches stick more to matches in the playoffs. Phil Kessel played less than two minutes in the first game against defencemen other than Zdeno Chara, and if you consult the graph after the jump, you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. Huge difference between Chara v. Kessel in Game 1 of the series and Chara v. Kessel in the two regular season games. 

In Game 2 however, Randy Carlyle worked his bench to maximize the number of shifts Kessel could play away from Chara, and Kessel scored his first five-on-five goal ever against the Bruins on one of them. 

Coincidence? Probably, but that was one of the bigger Leafs goals in the last decade.

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Leafs take second game 4-2, beat Bruins in most complete effort of 2013

Cam Charron
May 04 2013 08:57PM


via Jim Rogash/Getty via NHLInteractive

Coming into the series, the smart money was that if the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to a take a game or two from the Boston Bruins in this series, it would be on the back of James Reimer, especially if the win came at the TD Garden.

What I don't think anybody was expecting was that against Boston, the team's Mt. Kilimanjaro over the last two seasons, and in the playoffs, the Leafs would put together their most complete 60-minute effort with contributions from almost their entire roster. It was an amazing display of hockey and an amazing coaching performance for Randy Carlyle who was able to press all the right pressure points tonight. Using a combination of quick changes, zone matching and line juggling, Carlyle was able to maximize the time his scorers spent away from Zdeno Chara and they all came through. 

Joffrey Lupul scored twice. Phil Kessel scored once and James van Riemsdyk scored an absolute beauty to seal the deal late in the game. Who cares who scored for the Bruins? Both were awful bounces. The Leafs took it to the Bruins in every way they could tonight, picking the right spots to hit, taking shots, and were more aggressive in transition rather than simply trying to collapse every moment in the offensive zone.

Again, while Reimer only had to make a couple of big stops… where the heck was this Leafs team all year?

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Which elite forwards does Zdeno Chara shut down the most?

Cam Charron
May 04 2013 02:36PM

I mis-read Zdeno Chara's stat sheet this morning, mistakenly taking Chara's individual goals statistics against particular players as those players against him, leading to my charge that no player had scored twice with Chara on the ice at even strength since 2010. 

But that's a pretty unbelievable statistic, mostly because it's untrue. I put that claim up in the preview post and was rightfully shouted down by a couple of savvy commenters who read the heading on the section.

What I did do was go through individual player statistics and tallied up non-Boston Bruins Eastern Conference players who have the highest goals per 60 in since the start of the 2010-2011 season. I also included James Neal and Marian Gaborik, even if Neal spent some time in Dallas and Gaborik with Columbus, the idea to get a job at how Chara does against other elite scorers.

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STREAKCRED TRICKIER THAN YOU THINK

Wanye
May 04 2013 02:30PM

 

The leader in streakcred - Rmo2000 - has now crashed and burned and his streak is over at 8 wins in a row. In fact the entire top 20 players in the game have all lost their streaks and everyone is starting again from zero. This is the time for the second wave of people looking to play to get involved.

We need you Nation, team entries are lagging way behind what we thought they would be by now. Keep reading after the jump if you want to see your ol' pal Wanye beg you to support deserving charities.

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Playoffs!!!1 gameday: Game 2 Leafs @ Bruins

Cam Charron
May 04 2013 12:42PM

The good news is that it doesn't appear the Toronto Maple Leafs will try to win Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with Frazer McLaren in the lineup. The bad news is that they'll try to win it without Clarke MacArthur.

Paul Hendrick tweeted out the projected lineup changes this morning: Ryan Hamilton and Matt Frattin in. Clarke MacArthur and Frazer McLaren out.

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