"Never in doubt" - Toronto hang on for 5-4 win vs. Ottawa

Cam Charron
March 06 2013 08:59PM


Photo via Abelimages/NHLInteractive via Getty

First the good news.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won enough games during this percentage-driven run that they can go .500 from here on out and probably make the playoffs. The beauty of getting red-hot goaltenders at the start of a short season.

Now for the bad news.

Toronto got out-shot, out-played and out-chanced pretty bad against the Ottawa Senators, and even for fans who are watching this team without the blanket of a spreadsheet to form good and bad opinions about the hockey game, this is one they probably shouldn't have won. Ben Bishop looked out of sorts in the first period and didn't come up with any big stops. Opposite number James Reimer was excellent, with only Colin Greening's snack goal in the final two minutes marring his statistics in an otherwise fantastic performance.

More numbers and analysis below from the Leafs 5-4 win over the Sens…

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Preview: Game #24 Senators @ Leafs - Defensive struggle

Cam Charron
March 06 2013 03:25PM

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Matt Frattin again tonight, and have been without Joffrey Lupul for most of the season. That said, neither player is the play-driver on its respective line. Frattin's scoring has been immediately replaced by Nazem Kadri himself who has gone from setting up goals to scoring them himself. James van Riemsdyk, though he's scored just once in his last five, has done everything Lupul was expected to do, and more, for the Leafs on their first line.

The Ottawa Senators, concurrently, have sent a good number of players to the all-injured All-Star game. They're without their best forward in Jason Spezza, best defenceman in Erik Karlsson and best goaltender in Craig Anderson. After a five-game win streak at the start of these issues, the Senators have dropped three straight games to Boston, Philadelphia and the New York Islanders, although they've all been one-goal games.

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Maple Leafs Penalty-Kill

Gus Katsaros
March 06 2013 11:41AM

The Leafs penalty kill has improved, sitting at the halfway mark, 15th (heading into the game versus the Devils) after sitting at the bottom of the league for the past few seasons.

They moved up a tick to 14th, the upper half of the NHL, 82.7% after blanking the Devils on four opportunities Monday night.
 
It’s a little strange to see them in the middle of the pack. They have played the 14th most minutes down a man at 127:43.   At home, they have played the fifth least minutes (52:52) and 19th on the road.
 
The improvement on the penalty kill is vital to success this season. Better defensive efforts at even-strength limit the effects being afraid to take a penalty that would likely lead to a goal against. They started off fairly well climbing to as high as sixth before dropping to 27th two weeks into the season before bouncing back to the mid-mark.

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Korbi's Kontrakt

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 05 2013 04:35PM

Two contract related moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs in two days? It’s talking point Christmas in Toronto! Today, the Leafs signed Korbinian Holzer to a two year contract, with a cap hit of $787,500.

The general reaction right now could and should realistically be indifference, with some outliers. But as it stands, the feeling is negative. Let me try to slow this one down a bit…

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Toronto re-signs Korbinian Holzer for two years

Cam Charron
March 05 2013 03:34PM

When Dion Phaneuf and Korbinian Holzer are together, the Toronto Maple Leafs take just 43.2% of the total shots. It is worth noting that the pairing play often against other teams' top lines.

That said, with Phaneuf on the ice with Michael Kostka in a similar role, the Leafs manage slightly better, 45.8% of all shots. When Dion Phaneuf and Carl Gunnarsson were together last season in an identical role, the Leafs managed 49.8% of all shots.

That third number is a hair short of even, and despite tough minutes, Phaneuf and Gunnarsson kept the Leafs' head above water last season as the second and third pairings struggled a little more with puck-possession relative to where they started on the ice.

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