In their first game since last Saturday’s clunker, the Maple Leafs returned to action with a 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils. With the victory, the Leafs improve to 11-5-0, and are tied with Pittsburgh and Tampa atop the Eastern Conference standings.
By all accounts, it should have been a highly emotional game, considering the pregame Remembrance Day ceremony, the Hall of Fame ceremony, and it being the first game since Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack. These are all obviously great reasons to show up and play hard, but alas, neither team seemed really into it.
It’s hard to say what made the game so boring – the ceremonies, the Leafs ‘not having their legs’, or the Devils playing their second game in two nights. Whatever the case, any sense of excitement was few and far between.
I present to you, The Leafs Nation readers, a visual representation of the Leafs victory over the Devils.
I’ll give you a minute to watch that beautiful Phil Kessel goal a couple more times. Go on. I can wait.
Not too long after Kessel put the Leafs ahead, the Devils tied it up on the power play with a Jonathan Bernier flubbed save, mishandling a Michael Ryder shot and deflecting the puck over his own shoulder and in. Beyond that, Bernier was his usual solid self, making 34 saves through three periods and an overtime.
James van Riemsdyk, who looked just fine in his first game at centre, was the shootout hero. The only one to score on either team, van Riemsdyk skated in on Schneider rather slowly, hung right, and quickly brought the puck to his forehand and snapped the puck far blocker side.
WHY THE LEAFS WON / BLUE WARRIOR
Bernier was pretty damn good despite that rather awful goal which, as many on Twitter pointed out, James Reimer would have had. That being said, tonight’s Blue Warrior honour goes to Kessel. I mean, c’mon. That goal. That’s one of the best goals I’ve seen all year. Look at it!
THIS PICTURE SUMS IT ALL UP 1V4 #81 pic.twitter.com/0zIytHJ9kX
— Niti Krasniqi (@Kra2niqi) November 9, 2013
- Dion Phaneuf played a team high 27:06 and is worth a bajillion dollars according to my best friend Jeffler.
- Colton Orr was a late scratch, meaning the Leafs went with seven defenders. Frazer McLaren was so bummed to be without his buddy that he couldn’t even muster up a fight, let alone a minor penalty (or even three minutes of ice time).
- Morgan Rielly played, so his development hasn’t been ruined. He didn’t play a lot, but saw a good amount of ice time on the power play, where he and Gardiner dominated on one shift in particular. Too bad one of them is going to be traded. 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁
- Mark Fraser returned to the line up and Jerred Smithson made his Leafs debut. Both looked pretty good in limited roles.
- Come back tomorrow and watch Steve Dangle’s LFR video because he’s a cool guy and he tries really hard and we all need to support him as best we can. Also, screw that guy.