One of the big stories heading into tonight’s game against the Boston Bruins was the absence of Zdeno Chara.  Most were excited about the offensive possibilities, especially for Phil Kessel.  Needless to say, people’s expectations fell far short.

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The game started promising with a penalty drawn during the first shift of the game.  But just as quickly, that hope was taken away.  David Clarkson took a penalty, and the Bruins’ Carl Soderberg scored on the powerplay just three minutes in.

From there, it was a pretty abysmal period for the Leafs.  They looked sloppy, especially when trying to break out, and the Bruins generally outplayed them.  Turnovers, lost puck battles, and a lifeless tempo were all big parts of the Leafs generally looking out of sync.

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Things looked a little better in the second period.  The Leafs didn’t generate much by way of scoring chances, but they did seem to spend a decent amount of time in the Bruins zone.  Unfortunately it was all for naught, as David Krejci cut to the net on a rush late in the period to make it 2-0.  Kessel didn’t look great trying to cut him off, but the brunt of the blame should go to Dion Phaneuf for standing to the side.  Cody Franson was also caught behind the play.

The third period is where things started to get really ugly.  Gregory Campbell was left alone in front of the net shorthanded and scored two minutes in.  Then two minutes later Dougie Hamilton got some open real estate and ripped one by Jonathan Bernier off the rush (after this, Reimer came in to finish the game).

Richard Panik did manage to score his first as a Leaf late in the period, placing a beautiful shot over Tuukka Rask in front of the net.  The Leafs made a bit of a push after the goal, but it was too little, too late.

Leafs - Bruins Corsi


In a game where there were few positives, Morgan Rielly was one.  He was one of just seven Leafs tonight with a positive CF% (55), and he generally looked dangerous.  He had a couple of defensive blips, but it also seemed like he was one of few Leafs tonight that was generating some meaningful offense.  He was someone tonight that I thought both passed the eye test and the numbers test.


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  • The Leafs powerplay continues to run cold.  They came into the game 0-16 in their last four games, and they didn’t score in any of their three chances tonight.  In fact, two of their powerplays were negated by Leaf penalties and the other one they were scored against shorthanded.
  • Its tough to say what I’d do with the second line.  They’ve been strong in the possession game (and were again tonight – Lupul, Kadri, and Winnik were each above 50% CF), but the production hasn’t quite been there.  Daniel Winnik is certainly a part of that.  He’s a good fancy stats player but he’s got just two points in eight games so far.
  • Peter Holland continues to disappoint.  Coming off his best game of the season on Tuesday, he did play over ten minutes tonight but was largely invisible.  He was also dead last on the team in CF% (19).  It’s much of the same for Richard Panik.  He looked good against the Islanders too, but didn’t do too much today.  That said, he had more of a presence than Holland and he did score the lone Leafs goal.
  • I wonder if we might be nearing a tiny shakeup with the depth forwards.  Carter Ashton has yet to play this season, Matt Frattin is in the doghouse big time, and Holland has disappointed.  The Marlies have a deeper stable of potentially NHL-ready guys this year, and I think names like Leivo, McKegg, Kontiola, Carrick, and Smith have to be considered.


The Leafs play host to the Buffalo Sabres three nights from now.  The game starts at 7:30PM Eastern and can be seen on TSN4.

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  • Jerkball

    A few random thoughts on the night…

    Strombos soso so far, pj stocks is useless and irritating. I miss bob cole.

    Kadri is ridiclous. He should shut his mouth and bury something more regularly. Leafs should trade him and get e.stall as soon as almost immediately. Obviosuly it will cost more then “the mouth” to facilitate. kessel jvr with a healthy stall down the middle will be deadly.

    Good teams exploite weakness and bury their chance. Its gonna be a long season with franson/Gardner bobbleheads on d.

  • Jerkball

    I’m not sure why people are so upset. The Bruins have totally dominated the leafs for years especially at the Air Canada center. They have a goalie who was the 21st pick in the draft but for some bizarre reason never got to start a game for the leafs but was traded for a one year wonder long out of the league. Yep Rask is amazing against the leafs and was the Veizna trophy winner. Ironically he is hopeless against Montreal.

    The second goal was a painful and brutal example of what is wrong with this team. One way Phil flailed away at Krejci as the pylon stood still in front of the net. Yep the $15 million dollar duo lack three qualities, essential to winning. Heart, passion and leadership. The poor leafs thanks to Burkie and Nonis are stuck with these two for 7 more long painful years.

    Jake Gardiner has to be the most cowardly defenceman in the league as he refused to take a hit and presto the puck is in front of the net as once again Phaneuf stumble bums from behind the net. Boston scores a crucial third goal a short handed effort.

    But it was the fourth goal that was classic Gardiner as he somehow made a 2 on 2 a breakaway. Now Doug Hamilton, yep part of the Kessel deal simply used all 6 foot 5 and 220 lbs. to simply speed away from the so called speedster Gardiner.

    Carlyle had seven defenceman and on a normal team that would have been Gardiner’s last shift, but nope he was out their floating here there and everywhere on the next shift. By the way watch Gardiner control the puck for 5 or 10 seconds. Well according to our analytic idiots this means he is a great possession guy. Freaking rewatch the game fools and realize how useless he totally is even if he does control the puck a lot.

    Bottom line this is a non playoff team without leadership, plays without passion and obviously hasn’t got much heart as it has one win at home.

    But fear not as just 4 days from now the perfect antidote to the leafs will begin their playoff bound new season, yesiree the exciting, entertaining, improving Toronto Raptors. Now there is a team to cheer for.

      • Quasijr

        Leaferfan in a few days I’ll be able to post a positive report on the Raptors. I get it that for a lot of leaf fans especially the younger ones, the truth is hard to handle. I’ve been a leaf fan closing in on 60 years so I vividly recall the four Stanley Cups of the 1960’s. In all seriousness from the warring ownership between Rogers and Bell, to a G.M. who had his assistants fired, to a coach who had his assistants fired, to a new president who obviously hasn’t been able to fire Nonis, Carlyle or the abysmal scouting staff as the M.L.S.E. board runs this team, I’ve haven’t seen this sad sack club run so poorly going back to the crazy Harold Ballard era. I pity those young fans who have seen only one playoff series in ten years.
        I’ll say it again when you have over $20 million tied up with Phil Kessel who refuses to play a defensive game, to a so called captain whose game is rapidly deteriorating but has 7 more years of an untradeable contract to Clarkson who is at best a third liner you are in serious, serious trouble. Especially when both Kessel and Phaneuf show little passion, heart or leadership. This club is one or two injuries away from the McDavid sweepstakes.

        But when you think about it this club going on 47 long years is in reality in a complete rebuild program. So a chance at McDavid would indeed be a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Quasijr

    The leafs didnt start playing until it was 4-0.

    I’m glad I’m not paying to watch the saturday night game!
    Shanahan has to do something other than sit on his hands.
    Even a small trade might spark something.

    But I’m in favor of trading either Kadri or Bozak.
    To shake things up.

    and naming Horachek as intern coach.

    There are several teams I think would be eager trading partners like Edmonton, Sabers or Hurricanes

    the muskoka 5 have nothing on the leadership clique
    on this group.

    Clarkson should be captain to raise the enthusiasm of this group.
    -the whole group look dysfunctional tonight-so many missed passes, lackluster performances they cant just show up on the road.

    I know Toronto is a difficult place to play but they are all being paid well and they have to show up for every game.-especially against a division rival.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with this team.

  • Jerkball

    Phaneuf was out for full two minutes on a power play immediately preceding one of the Bruins goals where he failed to pick up his man in front of the net. Of course, it didn’t help that Gardiner was on the ice as his partner at the time. Gardiner cannot play defence. Maybe they should try him on the wing?

    I actually don’t think the Leafs played that badly – that flukey first goal really changed the momentum. A few brainfarts from Gardiner, Rask and no lucky bounces in the offensive zone and there you have it.

  • Quasijr

    Its time to reevaluate this team & cut ties with those who are unwilling to do what is need to win. Only 2 players in the top 2 lines I would keep at this moment, Winnik & JVR the rest need to be traded or let go. Kessel is a great scorer but he will never carry this team he is only a supporting cast member so trade him to a team out West for picks or prospects.
    Gardiner is totally useless after 3 years in the league & a year in AHL he still doesn’t get it that you need to physically touch a play to keep him from going to the net. If he sees a shadow when in a corner he craps himself & leaves the puck. I think he has no hockey IQ, lots of talent but not very smart, Morgan Rielly is farther ahead of he is in development.
    Dion has been over matched & burnt out I don’t think he has any leadership qualities except he never backs down from tough questions from the media.
    As for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, even if we tanked we have no luck & wouldn’t get him & we would end up with another Jake Gardiner or Phil Kessel & be back where we started

  • Benjamin

    Get off kadri’s back. I know he hasn’t done much YET. but he has the right mindset and he is holding himself and everyone around him accountable. If he wasn’t saying those things i would be pissed. good on ya Kadri. but it is time to back up that mouth with results…

  • Quasijr

    this team is just lost man. we should have tanked like all of the top teams in the league did to get the 1st overall pick. instead, we half ass everything (tanking, accountability, firings). i’m sick of it. randy and nonis need to go!!!! dion was terrible tonight as was gardiner. gardiner looks so afraid to make a mistake that he messes up. dion stood there TWICE as the bruins were in front of the net wide open. no energy, no effort, no one cared. they deserve the boos. everyone was so bad. bernier was ok but that last goal by hamilton was embarrassing. no support from the team.

  • Quasijr

    and don’t even get me started on clarkson. he was playing so well with the aggression, physicality and he drew a penalty and then… he takes away the penalty and then he gets another penalty and then he takes us off the penalty AGAIN. can we just skip to june so we can draft mcdavid?

  • Quasijr

    and don’t even get me started on clarkson. he was playing so well with the aggression, physicality and he drew a penalty and then… he takes away the penalty and then he gets another penalty and then he takes us off the penalty AGAIN. can we just skip to june so we can draft mcdavid?