Preview: Game #4 Islanders @ Leafs

Cam Charron
January 24 2013 07:35AM

I don't find the New York Islanders a particularly interesting organization to follow, so some of this preview will be dedicated to posting some data from last night's excellent hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Most of this will be an attempt to comment on how much I've enjoyed the way Randy Carlyle has used his bench so far in the season.

I wrote in my preview that unless Carlyle was sheltering the piss out of Nazem Kadri, his line would get steamrollered by the offensive starts of the Penguins. Not only did Carlyle shelter Kadri and keep him and Leo Komarov off the ice for a single Pittsburgh scoring chance against his line, but he managed to get a good defensive performance out of Mike Komisarek to boot.

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"At least the food was free" - Leafs crush Pens 5-2

Cam Charron
January 23 2013 08:56PM

That was one hell of a game.

The Toronto Maple Leafs played Pittsburgh tough four times last season, but didn't string together a performance like this one playing at Hockey's Mecca. The Leafs came out strong, and despite falling down 1-0 in the first on a bit of a softie past James Reimer, battled back to take the lead twice in the second period, pulling away in the third, eventually finishing off with a 5-2 win. 

The themes from this game may be discipline and defence, but the Leafs' big weapon in this one was James Reimer, who faced a piles of shots, many of them scoring chances, in this game. We can get to that below…

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Jake Gardiner to make season debut tonight

Cam Charron
January 23 2013 02:36PM

We knew yesterday that Jake Gardiner, now certified concussion-free, was going to be tagging along with the Toronto Maple Leafs to Pittsburgh, but unclear as to whether or not he'd play.

Gardiner, who had been skating on his own for about a week, took some contact in Tuesday’s practice and said he felt fine. The coaching staff will not make a decision on a decision whether he will play until after consulting with doctors later in the day.

Once he gets the green light, head coach Randy Carlyle said he would not hesitate to throw Gardiner in the lineup.

Evidently, the green light was given earlier this afternoon. Sportsnet's David Alter was the first to report that the young defenceman will, in fact, make his season debut tonight against the Penguins in place of Korbinian Holzer, who will be sent down to the Toronto Marlies.

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Preview: Game #3 Leafs @ "Hockey Mecca"

Cam Charron
January 23 2013 11:57AM

The Pittsburgh Tribune woke us up this morning, apparently, to tell us that Hockey's Mecca is no longer any of the towns connected by the traffic-infested Southern Ontario freeways converging unto  the region professional hockey grew out of, once upon a time.

For those of us who grew up with the sport, we also grew up with tomes on our coffee tables outlining the history of the game. Though the pictures in those books were black and white, the striping patterns and logos on the uniforms were familiar. The simple and distinct patterns remain unchanged since the Original Six era began in 1942.

In the Original Six era, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens each won the Stanley Cup 10 times. No other team came close. There are no two cities hosting professional hockey that can even begin to claim similar history or importance is the establishment of the modern NHL.

Except, evidently, Pittsburgh, where the Maple Leafs play tonight.

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Advertorial: Free Fantasy Contest

Kent Wilson
January 23 2013 10:01AM



Every so often someone approaches the Nations with offers or partnerships because they think we're great and all. A lot of the time this stuff is pretty lame so we don't bother you, our valued readers, with it.

Sometimes something good comes along though (kinda like a trade with the Calgary Flames, for instance). The folks at Draftstreet sent us an email or 10 recently pitching us on an interesting salary cap draft contest that's free to enter. Oh and you can win cash prizes. Free cash is always good, so we want to pass the details along to you.

Anyways, here's the gist:

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