Photo via Claus Anderson/NHL Interactive
Sometimes you can nitpick certain aspects of the game. Sometimes you can just throw out the spreadsheets and enjoy a perfectly good game of hockey. Not a lot to comment on here—this was a hockey game with minimal structure from both teams, some hilarious coaching decisions on both ends, lots of goals, and an interminable shootout.
Winnipeg beats Toronto 5-4, but Toronto, for the second straight Saturday night, came back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime and the shootout. They got their chances in the OT, but Nik Kulemin missed an empty net and Nazem Kadri failed to convert a gorgeous play set up by Phil Kessel and John-Michael Liles. They couldn’t get anything done in the shootout and James Reimer could only hold off the Jets for so long before Zach Bogosian scored the winner.
-The scoring chances were 19-13 for Winnipeg and 17-11 at even strength (16-9 at 5-on-5, which is what’s represented in the charts below). Other than the first two thirds of the second period, Toronto played Winnipeg evenly, but that sequence at the start of the second where the Jets scored all four of their goals was some of the worst hockey I’ve seen out of the Leafs this season. That said, they converted on their opportunities at the end of the period, thanks to one sloppy goal allowed by Ondrej Pavelec and a great play from Nazem Kadri.
-Joffrey Lupul had his first game back from the forearm injury and his shot didn’t seem to be affected. He scored on a weak backhander on his first touch of the game, and had another goal at the end of the second period. Five shots, three attempts blocked and a miss, with three of his shots coming in the scoring zone in 16:43 of ice-time. The Leafs out-shot the Jets 9-6 when he was on the ice, although that helps when playing Nazem Kadri this year.
-Again, some large gaps in minute quality. Mikhail Grabovski played 8 minutes against Winnipeg’s top line, Bozak played 3 and Kadri played 2. Dion Phaneuf played 12 minutes against that line, Cody Franson played 10 minutes against Kyle Wellwood. Sometimes that’s all it takes to be among the league leaders in +/-.
-Nik Kulemin, who had a good game defensively against those guys on Thursday after the first line was roughed up, had a stinker Saturday. 9 scoring chances against when on the ice. Regardless of how tough the minutes are, you should be holding the other team’s top line to no more than 6 scoring chances at most, but again, the combination of Andrew Ladd-Blake Wheeler-Bryan Little had its way in Toronto’s end. They’re quite good.
-Kulemin drew the short straw when Randy Carlyle flipped his bench around, spending a lot of time with Jay McClement and Leo Komarov towards the end of the game as Colton Orr got to play with Matt Frattin and Nazem Kadri.
-Of Jay McClement’s 13 face-offs, 8 were in the defensive zone and 4 were in the neutral zone. The one in the offensive end? It was the win that led to Nik Kulemin’s goal.
-Mikhail Grabovski has been getting more offensive zone minutes, but his line didn’t factor in offensively in this one: Grabo had 2 shots, Clarke MacArthur had just 1.
-It’s really time for Korbinian Holzer to head to the AHL. After killing Dion Phaneuf’s Corsi number during his time spent on Toronto’s top pair, Holzer made John-Michael Liles look human Saturday after Carlyle flipped his pairings for this one. Liles was real good against Pittsburgh alongside Carl Gunnarsson. Holzer left James Wright wide open on one of Winnipeg’s goals, but the play I didn’t like was in the first period when he tried to start a fight with Evander Kane, allowing Olli Jokinen an unabated path to the net. That was right before Bogosian came in to fight Holzer, nixing the penalty.
-Why did Phil Kessel serve Ben Scrivens’ penalty and not Jay McClement or Leo Komarov? The Leafs weren’t even going to the penalty kill. It would have made sense in that scenario, but since the game was going to be played at 5-on-5, it was a fairly curious move. After a minute, the Leafs actually got a power play, but Kessel was in the box serving a minor penalty and couldn’t join his teammates.
-Hilarious coaching move by Claude Noel to call a timeout to let the Leafs rest their tired unit. Sure, Carlyle probably would have called his timeout regardless, but it cost Noel the chance to use it after an icing call in overtime.
-Individual scoring chances:
|Chances For||Chances Vs.||Chances +/-|
|James van Riemsdyk||1||3||-2|
|Chances For||Chances Vs.||Chances +/-|
|Toronto (EV)||8 (6)||3 (3)||2 (2)||0||13 (11)|
|Winnipeg (EV)||6 (4)||9 (9)||2 (2)||0||19 (17)|
LeafsNation Three Stars
- Blake Wheeler
- Joffrey Lupul
- Andrew Ladd