On paper, the Avalanche looked like a perfect opponent for the Leafs to play to encourage some positive habits and get another win under their belt. Why? Possession. The Avs, like the Leafs, aren’t a possession powerhouse. With some luck, it looked like the Leafs could work and succeed at a bunch of the things they wanted to incorporate this season.
The first period was almost entirely counter-attack, both teams utilizing their speedy forwards and mobile D to generate chances. The Leafs got on the board first. Tyler Bozak picked up a turnover caused by a pinching Cody Franson, made a great pass to van Riemsdyk, who then had a beautiful give-and-go with Kessel, and buried the puck from in tight.
A few minutes later, Ryan O’Reilly picked up a puck that took a weird bounce, and buried it. Despite the period finishing 1-1, the Avalanche were the far better team.
The Leafs picked up their pace in the second. They outshot the Avs 16-7 and looked like they were bound to put in their second goal of the game. Matt Duchene had other ideas, putting home a beautiful wrister #bardown.
A perfect shot, but of course some people on social media brought up the whole “high glove” thing. Sad, really.
The third saw the Leafs continue to dominate the Avalanche, outshooting them 15-5. Only this time, they were rewarded for their efforts with a Joffrey Lupul goal, tying the game at 2-2 10:36 into the period. The Leafs continued to press, but couldn’t keep the game from going to OT.
After the very exciting dry scrape, OT started. 34 seconds later, this happened:
Can we just all love and appreciate Phil Kessel for like ever? Can we stop complaining about him? That’d be cool.
Phil “The Phil” Kessel. After a really horrible, terrible, no good, very bad two-game (lol) slump, Phil called himself and his line out for not getting – in his words – shit done. Since, Phil has 5 points in two games, including this OT GWG.
Oh and clutch goals are nothing for Phil – he led the league in go-ahead goals last year.
- Reimer was great again. I expect he’ll get the start on Friday, with Bernier getting the call on Saturday in their home-and-home with the Red Wings.
- The Leafs second line continues to be monstrous, with Kadri, Lupul, and Winnik posting 70%, 69%, and 67% 5v5 corsi for% respectively.
- Speaking of lines, how about that third line? They must be incredibly frustrating to play against. Constant cycling and physicality.
- It’s one game, but Phaneuf-Franson worked really well as a pairing, posting 5v5 60% and 59% corsi for respectively.
- In fact, all D-men were over 50% CF other than Robidas (47%). Numbers or eye-test, he should sit for Gardiner next game. Other than a big hit, he was bad.
- They surely can’t sit Percy. Boy is that kid good. I lost count of how many great plays he made this game, and only remember one particularly bad one.
- One note of leftover Carlyle – the 4th line played around 5 minutes. What happened to using all four lines? This is going to need to change.
- The Leafs outshot – yes, as in they had more shots than the other team – the Avalanche 40-24. It was beautiful.
See You Friday
The Leafs head to Detroit on Friday for the first half of a home-and-home. The game starts at 7:30 and you can see it on Sportsnet.
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