January 22 2013 09:23AM
Photo credit: Abelimages via MapleLeafs.com.
A note or two before getting to our inaugural scoring chances data dump of the 2013 season…
I've been paying not as much attention as intended at the way Randy Carlyle is matching up his lines just yet in the season. I've been pre-occupied with counting scoring chance events, so I haven't been able to jot down in my notebook who is matchup up against who, and where on the ice, at what time in the game.
Luckily, the NHL.com play-by-play sheets have this data. When I was totalling up the scoring chance numbers for the first two games of the season, I noticed something strange. The scoring chances coming against Nik Kulemin didn't all come when he was on that MGK unit with Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur.
January 21 2013 09:04PM
Well… that was some game. Down 2-0 to the Buffalo Sabres late, the Toronto Maple Leafs nearly came all the way back against a red-hot Ryan Miller and a strong Sabres' defensive performance. After Nazem Kadri made it 2-1 with 1:42 to go on a 6-on-4, Joffrey Lupul had a goal waved off after batting in an elevated puck with his glove. Phil Kessel had a wide open backhand that was stopped by Christian Ehrhoff. Way back in the first period, the Leafs had a string of power plays that resulted in a couple of two-man advantages, but Miller stopped them all.
So the Leafs meet the same fate as their division rival Montreal Canadiens and drop their opener at home, although they gave their fans a show, opening up the plan in the third period. Some details below.
January 21 2013 11:45AM
Photo credit: David Sandford/Getty Images via NHL
Holy moly, is it really time to write another game preview? Toronto have their home opener tonight, against another Northeast Division team, the Buffalo Sabres. Ben Scrivens is slated to start in net again, and he'll look to build on a first game performance where he stopped 21 shots, including every single attempt at even strength, but looked real shaky doing it. I guess that's what happens when you have an unconventional style, or when you're a goalie with minimal NHL experience opening the season in a game between Original Six rivals.
Either way, he got the job done. After going head-to-head with Carey Price on Saturday, he gets the call against another all-world goalie in Ryan Miller tonight. Scheduled puck drop at 7:00, but I have a feeling that could be a few minutes late.
Who are the Buffalo Sabres? Well, much like the teams in the rest of the Northeast Division, they lack an identity right now. Remember coming out of the last lockout when the Sabres were the young, high-flying team that cut through opponents like butter and scored oodles of powerplay goals every game? Ryan Miller got run over by Milan Lucic last season and the Sabres responded by bulking up, adding Steve Ott and John Scott to a roster that failed to make the playoffs last season.
January 20 2013 02:26PM
Finally! The Leafs are back and so are LFR videos! Check out game one!
January 20 2013 11:36AM
Not a bad weekend for Joffrey Lupul. A win on opening day, and a $26-million payday.
Toronto was rumoured to be in discussions with Lupul last night, and today they inked him to a five-year extension. Lupul was slated to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Joffrey Lupul has some offensive talent and bounced around the league with stints in Anaheim, Edmonton, and Philadelphia before clicking on Toronto's top line with Phil Kessel. Since then, he's boosted his assist totals, and has produced like a dynamic offensive player worth of extension.
But the contract is problematic, especially locking up a player with a track record like Lupul's. Here's why: