You know what’s a real kick in the pants? When Henrik Zetterberg completely dominates you for an entire game, racking up points as if he’s playing Be A Pro mode on NHL 15 with the difficulty set to easy. Do you know what’s a kick in the pants, but with a steel toed boot? When you get a second crack at him and his team, outplay them, and…
I’m not even going to bother trying to give a spectacular rundown. Nobody scored a goal for sixty minutes. There were some scoring chances, but nothing that was “oh my god” noteworthy. Though I liked Roman Polak finishing his check as a puck and an empty net headed his way:
Nobody fought. The two teams kept the flow of the game going back and forth. The Leafs got slaughtered on the Draw, but found a way to make up for it by piling on the shots. Eventually the game went to overtime, appeared headed to a shootout, and then…
Jonas Gustavsson with the shutout.
There are so many good candidates tonight; a few guys flat out dominated. I’m going to split it between the two guys that will get fingers pointed at them for the game winner – Cody Franson and Jonathan Bernier.
Why those guys, despite the result? Well, one can say that Franson wasn’t quite in the right position on the goal, and there’s a definite argument to that. But he also dominated on the possession chart; a whopping 78.6% at even strength. That isn’t even luck on sheltered minutes, either – he was on the ice for 28 total attempts, only fewer than Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly, and Roman Polak.
As for Bernier, he made 31 saves on 32 shots, and didn’t let one in until the 64;51 mark. If the Leafs give him even a single supporting goal, he has a shutout. That was a wicked and maybe even slightly redirected shot by Zetterberg, too; I can’t point fingers at him. Both of them get the nod.
- The powerplay kept this game as close as it was. Both teams had five opportunities, but the Wings did a really good job out of eking some shots out of their man advantages. At even strength, this was one of Toronto’s best games of the year.
- Also dominating the puck tonight was Mike Santorellli, at 78%. He’s been either (or both of) a positive relative possession player or above 50% CF in every game this year – that entire third line is driving play really well. Dion Phaneuf, Leo Komarov, and Daniel Winnik were also in the 70+ crowd.
- Komarov also drew two penalties. Great game for him as well – I had a grocery list of Blue Warrior candidates to work with tonight.
- The fourth line didn’t get played much at all. Richard Panik never really saw the ice, Matt Frattin was out in spurts, and Peter Holland was basically only put in for draws that Carlyle felt that Nazem Kadri couldn’t win.
- In case you missed it, the Toronto Marlies also played today (and lost 4-1). Check out our recap here.
- If you need some good news, the Orlando Solar Bears (Toronto’s ECHL affiliate) had their season opener tonight. The Marlies just sent a bunch of guys down, and it looks like a few of them stepped up at once in a 5-2 win. Brad Ross had a hat trick and an assist, Tyler Biggs had an assist and a fight, and Garret Sparks made 35 saves, had an assist (?), and ended up getting a roughing minor (??).