At about the same time the Leafs were spotting the Flames a two goal courtesy lead I was enduring a turbulence filled landing at Billy Bishop Airport.
By the time I picked up my bags JP Nikota had informed me that the Leafs were looking a little rusty. I was a little relieved that I was missing the game. I asked JP for updates and tried to avoid checking Twitter every 30 seconds on the ride home from the airport. I was going to miss the entired game, but needed the updates, no matter how grim. Much to my surprise the Leafs crawled back into the game and took the lead early in the third period. Then my phone died. I was forced to endure another hour in the car with no way of knowing the score. I received the good news as soon as I arrived home, 3-2 for the Leafs, and a 3-0 record to start the season. I was supposed to write the re-cap for the game, but was obviously unable to do so. However, my travel imposed blackout provided me with the opportunity to see just how useful the shift charts from timeonice are. Would they give me an accurate represenation of the game? Would the insights gained match up with what actually happened? Here is a re-cap of a game I did not even watch.
- With no Orr or Rosehill every single Leaf played past the 15 minute mark of the third period for the first time this season.
- The Kessel-Bozak-Lupul line matched up against Iginla and the Flame’s top D pairing for most of the game. This is a good sign as one knock on that line last season was that they were facing "weaker opposititon" although we can agrue whether or not the Flames top pair of Bouwmeester and Butler count as "tough".
- Franson was the first to see his night end with about 3 and a half minutes left in the third.
- Neither Grabovski or Kulemin saw any time on the PK tonight, a first this young season. I didn’t watch the game, so does anyone have any thoughts on why that may be?
- One potential reason: Steckel, Dupuis, Lombardi, and Armstrong give the Leafs 4 cromulent PK forward options. While JP questions the wisdom behind the idea of a “PK Specialist” Ron Wilson is enjoying the ability to use his bottom six in a defensive role.
- Once again Phaneuf and Gunnarsson played tough minutes in all situations. Iginla saw a whole lot of both of them as well as the Kessel line last night. Again, it’s early but a top pairing of Phaneuf and Gunnar that can play in all situations against the other team’s top players and provide some offence would go a long way to making the Leafs a playoff team.
- For the Flames both Roman Horak and Tom Kostopolous saw their night end with a little under ten minutes left in the game. Tim Jackman was done early as well. With the Flames trying to mount a comeback it makes sense, but they were doing so against a Leafs team rolling four lines.
So how did I do? Obviously Kessel was difference maker last night as he continues his dominant start. Did I miss anything? Who or what stood out to you? Be sure to take a look at the shift chart over at timeonice.
3-0 Baby. Go Leafs Go.