April 23 2013 07:30AM
After about one third of this season was in the books, I wrote here that while the bounces had clearly gone Toronto's way to start the season, it was tough to say if there would be enough time for them to fall way down the standings. Mainly, the goaltending looked strong and I figured if it could stay that way then the Leafs would drop a bit and still be floating around eighth down the stretch. A steal here, a steal there, and they could get in.
April 22 2013 03:24AM
Scattered thoughts that I could expand on later this week... we talk Joffrey Lupul, more Corsi crap, James Reimer and the Vezina Trophy, a Leafs defenceman who belongs in the lineup, and Garret Sparks' highlight from Sunday's game.
No. 1 - Joffrey Lupul keeps going
The above image is a screen cap of Joffrey Lupul after he scored the clinching goal against Ottawa. It put Toronto up 4-1 and gave them a playoff berth.
April 21 2013 04:34PM
I'm hearing it everywhere this season, well, mostly on Coach's Corner and on the comment section of my website. "The Leafs are winning because they're tougher and fighting more."
In fact, the New York Rangers lost their fighter Brandon Prust in the offseason. They've gone from 1st in the league in fighting majors to 24th (through Saturday, according to HockeyFights.net) and have gone from Presidents' Trophy contenders to bubble team.
Prust went from New York to Montreal in the offseason. Montreal went from 22nd in fighting majors last season to seventh, and have since gone from a lottery team to a team competing for the title in the tough Northeast Division with the likes of the Boston Bruins! The other team in that division, Toronto, lead the league in fights and are going to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years!
Clearly, fighting means something right?
April 21 2013 02:27PM
PLAYOFFS. PLAYOFFS! FEELINGS! EMOTIONS! BAHH!!UjfndkjsnvkjNSFkdjgnjvi
April 20 2013 08:59PM
Photo by Jana Chytilova/NHLInteractive via Getty
To be quite honest, I didn't think that Bob Cole's call of Joffrey Lupul's clincher was his best work. I remember a similar goal in 2002, when Joe Sakic scored on a breakaway with just over a minute to go for Team Canada in the Olympic Gold Medal Game. Cole blurted out "JOE! SAKIC! SCORES! SURELY THAT'S GOTTA BE IT!" as the visiting fans in attendance celebrated.
Joffrey Lupul's goal wasn't as big as Joe Sakic's that afternoon, but it may be remembered in Maple Leafs lore. He capitalized on a giveaway from whatever remains of Sergei Gonchar's corpse, sped past him and Chris Phillips and powered a wrist shot at Craig Anderson's shoulder.
And, like the snows of yesteryear, the Toronto Maple Leafs' playoff drought is gone from this earth. I understand that the residents of Oilers Nation are accepting donations for their second degree burns—they accidentally dropped the playoff drought torch when we passed it over to them earlier this evening.
Leafs win 4-1. In the words of Navin Vaswani: "Playoffs!!1"