February 28 2013 09:01PM
A lot of weird things happened in this game between the Maple Leafs and Islanders. The Leafs got a win, which isn't that weird this year, and continued their impressive start to the shortened season. It was a 5-4 overtime win on a goal by Dion Phaneuf 1:11 into the OT period that somehow snuck through Evgeni Nabokov's equipment.
But look at me, burying the lede. Nazem Kadri played phenomenally, scoring three goals on his lonesome, all three of them individual efforts. He got his first NHL hat-trick. James Reimer looked like Ben Scrivens did last night, allowing shots from the outside and coughing up some easy rebounds, and once New York came back from 4-2 to tie it up, it looked like it was going to be a game the Leafs were going to let slip away.
But, no. Phaneuf scored in the OT, the team played shut-down after the tying goal, and the team proverbially held-on for the an overtime win, as odd as that sounds.
February 28 2013 02:52PM
I have some thoughts about the Rick DiPietro saga today buried a bit deeper in the preview, but just to set up the Maple Leafs game on Long Island tonight, there was a glorious time at the start of the season when a game involving the Toronto Maple Leafs would have more than three scoring chances per team, per period. During this small stretch at the start of the season, the Leafs played a game against the New York Islanders.
The Islanders aren't necessarily a one-line team, but they do have a pretty good top scoring line. In their last contest, Matt Moulson led the Islanders to firing 19 scoring chances at the Toronto Maple Leafs' net, and Ben Scrivens was mercifully pulled late in the contest en route to a 7-4 loss for Toronto.
February 28 2013 12:14PM
Bad officiating? Sure. But the effort sucked just as bad, if not worse.
February 27 2013 09:34PM
I commented after the game that nothing is at stake with the Toronto Maple Leafs, just the prime years of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Mikhail Grabovski. Those three are legitimate stars in the National Hockey League, if only they could be surrounded with a supporting cast to help them win.
In some ways, they do. Clarke MacArthur is a versatile player. Nik Kulemin has stopped shooting, but he's still strong on defence and moving the puck around in the offensive zone. Jay McClement is a top defensive centreman and he's stabilized the Maple Leafs penalty kill.
Colton Orr played a career-high 14:55 at even strength in this game. That was more than Kessel and van Riemsdyk. The Leafs were out-shot 32-21 at even strength. In shot attempts at net, or "Corsi" events, the Habs had 74 events to Toronto's 56.
February 27 2013 04:06PM
Who are these Montreal Canadiens the Leafs are playing tonight? They've played two games so far this season, both at le Centre Bell, and the Leafs decisively won both games, the first 2-1 and the second 6-0. The first game was less close than it appears based on scoring chances data, and Montreal had a very poor showing.
Le Club Hockey has played just seven road games this season and have performed well in them, but haven't necessarily played well. Absent a dominant performance against the Ottawa Senators earlier this week, they were generally on the losing end, puck-possession wise, in road games. Was that just a beast of small samples and is their 2-1 win over the Senators on Monday more indicative of a better, tough, road Habs team? We'll find out tonight…