Hey guys, Cam has asked me to do the post-game tonight. And seeing as it’s well past midnight and I’ve just gotten back from Steve Dangle’s engagement party (congratulations Steve!), this is going to have to be short and sweet. If you’re unhappy with the following recap, blame me, then blame Cam for trusting me with this in the first place.
If you were hoping for a wide open, free-wheeling, shot-happy game, boy this must have been hell for you. Still, the Leafs managed to bank a couple points in a 2-1 win over the Devils despite being largely outplayed.
Some thoughts on the game…
– The Leafs managed a paltry 18 shots on Martin Brodeur, while letting the Devils shoot 28 of their own. But hey, the Leafs out-hit their opponents 48-18. Weird how that works, huh?
– It’s a good thing the Leafs won a bunch of defensive zone face-offs tonight (12/18), because if you’re going to start nearly every play in your own end, you may as well start it with the puck. Grabovski was especially effective here, going 4-for-4 in defensive zone faceoffs.
– It’s also a really great thing that the Leafs can actually kill penalties this season. Tonight, the Leafs killed five and improved their penalty killing efficiency to 86.7%… 3rd in the NHL. Last year, it was 77.3%.
– You know all those angry and unreasonable folks who insist that the Leafs are a pretty poor team despite what the standings tell us, and attribute most of the team’s success to above average goaltending as opposed to being a big, bad, scary team? Read above points, then take note that James Reimer had a .964 SV%.
– Phil Kessel made a neat pass to spring Tyler Bozak for a breakaway. I sarcastically stated via Twitter that it looked like an accidental goal; on the TV at the bar with no audio or replay, it almost looked as if Brodeur knocked the puck in with his own stick. I suppose I owe Bozak an apology but nah it’s ok.
– It was super cool that Joe Colborne got to show what he was all about with about five minutes of ice time tonight. He also played with Colton Orr, so he’s clearly being given every chance to succeed.
– Jake Gardiner actually drew into the lineup and his fancy stats suggest he was the only defender pushing the play in the proper direction. Gardiner also got a nasty cut above his eye early in the game, which I can only assume Randy Carlyle referred to as “pretty red makeup” or maybe “strawberry jam”.
– Despite all my moaning, the Leafs still won, and SportsClubStats.com says that this team currently has a 99.2% chance of making the playoffs…
LEAFS NATION THREE STARS
- James Reimer
- Phil Kessel
- David Clarkson