Economic Mittens: Kadri’s hat-trick paces Leafs 4-0 win on Hockey Night

Andre Ringuette/NHLInteractive

Apparently, former No. 1 overall pick Chris Phillips couldn’t contain Nazem Kadri tonight. But hold on to something, it gets weirder.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are now two points back of the Boston Bruins. They are five points back of the division lead. There are 12 games to go in the season. This season is nothing short of incredible so far, and the Leafs have quickly turned a five-game slide into “points in eight straight games” and have now won four of five, and two of those wins have come against likely playoff opponents.

Latest victim was the Ottawa Senators. The Leafs got a hat-trick from Nazem Kadri and another goal from Joffrey Lupul, who was dipped in the River Styx as a child and was made immune to shooter regression. Final score 4-0. James Reimer with the shutout and the Leafs clinch the season series against the Sens.

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-Pretty incredible performance by the Maple Leafs tonight, who won my scoring chance count for the second straight night. It was 13-9 at even strength, although two of those came during a delayed penalty that was technically 6-on-5…

-That said, penalty kill was a little shaky and the team was bailed out by a couple of missed shots and calm play by James Reimer, who didn’t look spectacular by had a very sound positional game, particularly in scrambles, not allowing any second chances.

-Now. Nazem Kadri. Roll the video, Ron:

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-How did… how did this Wilson character let him in the minors… for SO long…

-Just look at that, eh, silky smooth, you know what the kids call him?

-They call him… and I don’t get this, they call him NIFTY MITTENS!

-Anyway, kids, like we’ve been saying all along, Nazem Kadri’s minor league production was consistent with other players in his draft class. Even if he didn’t make the NHL full-time until he was 22, doesn’t make him a bust, eh, ya know? Not everybody drafted in the top ten becomes a star by the time they’re allowed to drink on road trips. Getting good young players is tough in the NHL, and sometimes requires a little patience. Sometimes getting the right guy depends on taking a risk on a guy who hasn’t 

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-I’m not sure how good Kadri would be if the Leafs hadn’t eased him the way he did. Randy Carlyle has been gradually playing him to be more comfortable with certain situations. It’s one of the right things he’s been doing this year, and during a run like this for the Leafs, it’s hard to find any substantial way to criticize the guy for his choices.

-So to that, I think I’ll just tip my hat and call Randy Carlyle a genius, presuming his second line is going to score at similar rates to the 1980s Edmonton Oilers for the rest of the season and through the playoffs. If that fails, however, we’ll start to nit-pick at the ways he manages his bench sans Kadri. Deal?

-Not too many matchups or shot differential statistics… by the time the game was 4-0, everything sort of fell out of whack because the Senators, predictably, mixed up their lines (splitting Guillaume Latendresse, Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad considering they’ve been a firewagon lately is pretty surprising) and started throwing everything at the net. The Leafs ended with a minus-13 even strength shot differential, but I wouldn’t read too much into that. Hilariously, Jay McClement was minus-12 and I thought he was one of the stronger Leafs defensive players tonight, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles when you have to play a lot of garbage time minutes with a 4-0 lead.

-Paul MacLean didn’t match lines, just defensive pairings, and only his Sergei Gonchar-Patrick Wiercioch pairing was dangerous at all. They didn’t give up anything to the Mikhail Grabovski-Matt Frattin combo that’s been pretty good on “O” lately. Other than that, it’s pretty tough to find too many bright spots on the Senators not counting the relative paleness of one of their many Scandanavian players.

-Had an older cousin pass through town. I didn’t know that these were originally going to be the Sens jerseys:

-We ranked the Leafs jerseys a while back, but how would you rank anything Ottawa’s ever worn? The only thing they’ve had in their existence I didn’t think looked awful was their red jersey with the black swish through the middle. To put the Sens jerseys from a historical context into perspective, tonight’s “heritage sweater” was the second least offensive thing the team’s ever worn.

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-Individual scoring chance differential:

  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
Tyler Bozak 2 3 -1
Phil Kessel 4 4 0
James van Riemsdyk 4 3 1
Nazem Kadri 8 3 5
Joffrey Lupul 8 3 5
Nik Kulemin 7 3 4
Mikhail Grabovski 2 3 -1
Jay McClement 0 3 -3
Matt Frattin 1 2 -1
Ryan Hamilton 1 0 1
Colton Orr 1 0 1
Frazer McLaren 1 0 1
Dion Phaneuf 2 1 1
Carl Gunnarsson 3 2 1
John-Michael Liles 6 7 -1
Mike Kostka 6 4 2
Cody Franson 5 2 3
Mark Fraser 4 2 2
  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
Kyle Turris 3 6 -3
Daniel Alfredsson 3 5 -2
Mike Hoffman 2 2 0
Mika Zibanejad 2 1 1
Jakob Silfverberg 2 1 1
Guillaume Latendresse 3 2 1
Jim O’Brien 2 4 -2
Colin Greening 3 6 -3
Chris Neil 4 6 -2
Zack Smith 2 3 -1
Erik Condra 0 1 -1
Matt Kassian 1 2 -1
Marc Methot 3 5 -2
Eric Gryba 3 5 -2
Chris Phillips 3 8 -5
Andre Benoit 3 7 -4
Patrick Wiercioch 3 0 3
Sergei Gonchar 3 1 2

-Team totals:

  1st 2nd 3rd Total
Toronto (EV) 3 (2) 5 (3) 6 (6) 14 (11)
Ottawa (EV) 4 (4) 4 (2) 4 (3) 12 (9)


Zone Start Report
Head to Head Ice-Time

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LeafsNation Three Stars:

  1. Nazem Kadri
  2. James Reimer
  3. Joffrey Lupul

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  • Alex

    How far off am I on these advanced stats I often diss?

    This PDO, Fenwick and regression to the mean is in someways like the overvalued stock market. People may know the stock market is “high” relative to the profit that companies make. And people realize that the price will regress back to a more reasonable value. But no one is smart enough to say when the stock market will collapse and nor when the Leafs will “regress”. Right now you are like those calling a top in the stock market but are being proven wrong until you are right.

    The alternate explanation is that Carlyle is this genius stock picker who can match lines and make in game changes and outperform other coaches. (Of course he is not perfect because hockey like the stock market is an emotional (face punching) game.

    The other thing with timing when the leaf’s will collapse is that the regression may occur next season (like what happened to Florida Panther this year after their goaltending regressed). Or it can be during the season like it did with the wild.

    You have some statistical evidence that that the leafs should regress. But you and others using these advanced stats are useless as the talking heads on the TV as to when the collapse will occur.

  • Alex

    Also does it concern you that these stats ignore “emotions” or “heart”? I think the stats heads might call that “luck” in their analysis but it is part of the game.

  • DarrylY

    Just had to note the idiotic commentary on the third goal that Kulemin is “just along for the ride.” What total garbage.

    Kulemin creates the turnover, then outmuscles his man to get the puck to lupul, then drifts in around the net giving Kadri space to make that shot.

    Was that Hughson? what an idiot.

  • jasken

    There was alot of upside to this game scoring i love watching kadri and lupul all that creativity and pressure and you did the nice thing of put corsi ratings cause their so important. What plays alot into the game is ability to win faceoffs which gives instant possesion to a team. On powerplay on shorthanded and 5 on 5 these things are extremely important and can decide a game in secs. That in mind here’s something for you Kadri f/o 18% grabo f/o 44% Bozak f/o 65% in a hightlight of all the great things this game could have gone badly quickly.

    Second I like to point out how since you say kessel creates so many scoring chances for his teammates lets take a look at this game.

    1. He dont create open space between center and defender for center to use creative ability to create scoring chances without the puck. e.g. called on interference in learning how to do this on the power play.

    2. Bozak was teaching him who was high risk who wasn’t standing 3 feet from him with 2 defenders would have blocked his pass if he attempted to pass to anyone but Bozak.

    3. The purpose of this exercise to make winger aware of who he shouldn’t pass to and who he should. Kessel took 5 secs of PP to decide.

    4 kessel dont do leg work the rest of his linemates do

    I heard this 100 times atleast now he’s the sniper its others job to get him the puck he dont have to any prolific goal scorer will help others do this as a unit you people think kessel is above this type of playing style if the numbers aren’t the greatest and he aint making any of these contributions thats why these are somethings your corsi dont say about kessel.

    4 things he has now begun to try to do that people dont notice I seen in 3 minutes of a hockey game. Look for kessel doing this in future.

    Now the plus side the leafs won the game and were well in control when they started to have kessel address these lack of abilities in game we all know his scoring ability and what he can he offer his linemates its not the kessel show what did he offer a penalty trying but thats just it with Bozak he is by in to carlyle system and learning.

    High risk passer, unaware and failure of using linemates, inability to create open space without the puck, falls into stick handling trances. They fix this then kessel you have a line first or second even if bozak is traded kessel will be much better because of Bozak.

    These are all facts on kessel we dont have to like them but thats what the coach knows and has to work with and now you know and anybody that knows hockey gms, scouts, and coaches would.