February 09 2013 12:18PM
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in the opening game of the season, with Ben Scrivens of all people recording the opening night victory. Both clubs have been good since that night: Toronto having gone .500, escaping the fact that they only have three forward lines, and Montreal has gone 6-2-1, although they have the second highest team PDO ranking in the NHL as of February 4.
Montreal however look a lot better than most pundits predicted coming in to the season. They were horrible last season, particularly down the stretch and it was generally assumed that they weren't as bad as their record indicated. That said, they've been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season, have seen the return of Andrei Markov, escaped holdouts from P.K. Subban and an injury from Max Pacioretty, and are getting excellent 5-on-5 goaltending. They are third in the East in "points per game" although it is still extremely early in the season.
February 08 2013 10:34AM
What a way to end a streak, eh? The Leafs, and Kessel, surge late in the third to take down the Jets.
February 08 2013 07:33AM
It is expected that the NHL will announce expansion of the league, presumably by two teams, at some point in the not so distant future. Markham and Quebec are the anticipated locations, with arenas being built, and an expansion draft to follow.
February 07 2013 09:34PM
This was one of those hockey games that was absurdly memorable, except that it really wasn't. For two periods, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets fought to a total stalemate, a timid display of outside attempts that resulted in few shots, fewer scoring chances, and fewer Leafs fans in our nations more Eastern timezones even bothering to stay up until the end of the game.
The Leafs won 3-2, as Matt Frattin deflected in a Cody Franson shot with five minutes to go and Phil Kessel scored his first on the season on a powerplay less than a minute later. The late-game comeback doesn't particularly work in the storybook concept of the dull 55 minutes that preceded it. But that's what sports is, you'll have several stretches of inaction punctuated by bursts of elation and despair.
The only problem is if you attempt to objectively define players and teams based on those small bursts.
February 07 2013 01:06PM
Penalties and power play opportunities have increased significantly. With the Leafs penalty kill falling into that familiar territory at the bottom, sitting 27th with a 71.9% rate, I wanted to look closer at what kinds of penalties were being called.