Hey, did you know that the Toronto Maple Leafs lost 4-1 last night? And did you know that was the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first playoff game since the invention of the spirograph?
It was a pretty bleak night all around, so there’s not much to do except scour the local broadsheets and Internet lines to see what other people are saying about this series. The major news out of today, it seems, is that Andrew Ference could be disciplined for his hit on Mikhail Grabovski in Game 1 and Mike Kostka done gone and banged up his finger while Phil Kessel took a maintenance day.
From the Broadsheet:
James Mirtle with a harrowing tale about how the Maple Leafs’ Game 1 loss was four months in the making:
Up front, something has to be done with the first line, as while Phil Kessel had another hugely productive season, his unit barely outscores the opposition at even strength, giving up basically as much as it gets.
Mikhail Grabovski, meanwhile, has traditionally been a terrific possession player but had a terrible time under this coaching staff, with a dramatically heavier defensive role killing the value he brought offensively.
The whole thing is excellent and probably worth a month-long Globe subscription.
Bruce Arthur of the National Post touches on a similar theme (his words: “if it was a self-destruction, the wiring was put in place throughout the regular season”), but also indicates Phil Kessel’s struggles during the game. Suffice to say, Kessel was not good:
This was the flip side of the rope-a-dope. The fourth line punching tandem of Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren was of little to no use, and combined to play a total of just under 16 minutes. Phil Kessel, the Leaf who will draw the most attention in every way, didn’t record a shot until the third, and was largely controlled by Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. Kessel appeared to have his wrist attended to and wrapped in the second period, which may not have helped. But the crowd barely had the chance to derisively chant his name.
Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star also noticed what was going on. After a choice quote from Dennis Seidenberg about a “switch in the back” that the Bruins can turn on for the post-season, Feschuck points to the fact that the Bruins, while losing games late in the season, weren’t ever a bad team through that stretch.
much was made of their seeming ability to flip the metaphorical postseason switch and certainly, when you consider they managed just two wins in their final seven regular-season games, their dominance in Game 1 can be spun as an out-of-nowhere showing.
But looking closer at those final seven games of the regular season reveals at least one trend that suggested the Bruins have been on the right track for a while now, even if they haven’t been proving it with victories. In five of those final seven games the Bruins out-shot their opponents by a differential of 10 or more.
a nice redemption story for Wade Redden, who played in his first playoff game since 2009 and registered two points. [Boston Herald]
The Bruins had trouble adding to leads this year. Not so in Game 1. [Patriot Ledger]
Sarah Connors at Bruins blog Stanley Cup of Chowder gave credit to the team for keeping their heads and not giving Toronto the game they wanted, namely, the face-punching:
Overall, the Bruins kept their cool and played their game, and it entirely paid off. They responded very minimally to Toronto’s attempts to start nonsense after the whistle, from Zdeno Chara on back to Shawn Thornton. Only Chris Kelly ended up dropping the gloves with Leo Komarov, and that wasn’t until after the game ended. On the flip side, Toronto took two 10-minute misconducts and took numerous liberties after the whistle when the game got away from them. It was a solid win in every way for the Bruins.
From the blogroll:
Jesse Spector with more on Wade Redden, one of the winners from the NHL lockout. [TSN.com]
“Brad Marchand is the worst” sez Ryan Lambert, who’s been running a nice series of these over at PPP. [Pension Plan Puppets]
The game recap over at PPP. “Pure, unadulterated anguish”. [Pension Plan Puppets]
Mislav Jantoljak credits JvR for a good performance, but overvalues the Bruins’ experience in the playoffs. [Maple Leafs Hot Stove]
Alec Brownscombe on the Leafs not being able to “out Bruin the Bruins”. Again, though, what the Bruins are is a misconception. Mark Fraser isn’t out for 24 minutes last night because Randy Carlyle thinks Fraser is Zdeno Chara. [Maple Leafs Hot Stove]
Steve Dangle’s LFR today is a great one to watch. “You fight fire with water, stupid”. Also points to the fact that for the Cup wins and the reputation, the Bruins are a beatable team in the playoffs. [The Leafs Nation]
And Michael Langlois sums it all up nicely: “Playoffs are a time when any flaws you have are exposed” [Vintage Leaf Memories]
Don’t forget to play StreakCred the new playoff pool game from the Nation Network. You can win a trip for 2 to Oktoberfest in Germany among the awesome prizes up for grabs. Only $20 and a good portion of the proceeds are going to various Nations-supported charities. Sign up here and pick the winners each night.