December 09 2013 11:20AM
The big news, I guess, is that Dion Phaneuf is facing a hearing for his hit on Kevan Miller at the conclusion of the Sunday game against Boston. While the Leafs were lucky enough that Nazem Kadri was suspended for a series of games that included Buffalo twice and the New York Islanders, the Maple Leafs can ill-afford to play Los Angeles and St. Louis without their top defenceman. So this could get interesting.
Onto other things:
I wasn't able to watch most of the Saturday game with sound, but I heard CBC's David Amber set up the game when the teams were skating onto the ice. He mentioned that the Ottawa Senators had been shorthanded more than any team in hockey. That can't be disputed, but it should be worth pointing out that the Senators (as of Monday morning) are fourth in the league in powerplay opportunities while the Toronto Maple Leafs are 28th.
December 08 2013 08:05PM
The Leafs began the toughest stretch of what many are calling "Deathcember" with a rare Sunday tilt in Toronto against the Bruins tonight. With their next games against the Kings, Blues, Hawks and Penguins, two points against Boston would be big, especially since the Bruins are a team the Leafs played fairly well against in their first meeting this season.
December 08 2013 12:09PM
To quote Steve Dangle, the Leafs "have now won back-to-back games, and given up 50 shots in each of them, and had a different goalie win each of them. This goofy friggin' team."
Even when the Leafs win, they can't do so without escaping criticism. They've blown leads in their last two wins, but have wound up with two points against two teams that they won't have to chase come playoff time. In fact, the win before the one against Dallas, they also gave up 50 shots, this time to Washington. Every game, they gave up a late lead, 50 shots, and won in overtime. They haven't won in regulation in nine games now, and haven't beaten a playoff team in regulation in 19!
So yes, despite a two game win streak, everything isn't rosy in Leaf-land, although "winners of their last two" looks a hell of a lot better than "losers of their last five" which is what everybody was writing on Thursday. The good news is that there's enough games played that trends reverse rather quickly, which was a point I made in the Dallas pre-game.
December 08 2013 11:25AM
It brings all the shots to the yard.
December 07 2013 08:44PM
If the Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs this season and everybody asks why, just show them the tape of this 3-2 win over Ottawa. No game will probably match this one in showing off the Maple Leafs' outstanding strengths and horrible flaws. They got two goals and five points from James van Riemsdyk. They blew a 3-1 third period lead. They had the better goalie. They allowed 50 shots. They scored on the powerplay. They took too many penalties.
It all added up to a shootout win by the Leafs over the reeling Ottawa Senators, whose playoff hopes are in all likelihood, ended after tonight. 8 points back with 50 to play is a tough task for any team, and a tougher one for a team that hasn't been able to buy a save, or defence, or win against teams within the division.
Not pretty because the Leafs dropped a point, but harmless, lest that 'ROW' category comes back to haunt them on the final day of the season.