Leafs Postgame – Victory)))))

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Don’t look now, but the Leafs are slowly creeping their way back up the Atlantic Division standings. Despite a performance that probably doesn’t go down as their best goal-preventing effort, the Leafs managed to score away their problems and give the fans at Air Canada Centre a 5-4 thriller.

The Rundown

This game didn’t start particularly good for the Leafs. Just fifty three seconds in, Chris Kreider took advantage of an aggressive forecheck and tipped in Kevin Klein’s point shot to open the scoring. Phil Kessel made things right with the world, however, tapping in a back-door one timer to tie things up a few minutes later. This was barely scratching the surface on a hectic period, however – Peter Holland scored a shorthanded tally to give the Leafs the lead, Richard Panik added his third of the year for insurance, and just seconds after that, Mats Zuccarello closed the cap.

Late in the second period, a pair of sketchy plays by Stephane Robidas and Jake Gardiner (slightly moreso the former) lead to a giveaway, putting the puck on Carl Hagelin’s stick to tie the game. The Rangers took the lead early into the third period, which caused concern, but Roman Polak took advantage of a double screen provided by Leo Komarov and David Clarkson to tie the game. With five and a half minutes to go, Jake Gardiner fed Komarov for his first since returning to the team from Russia. Despite lots of pressure from the Rangers, that goal held up as the game winner.

Blue Warrior

Game winning goal, nine points in fourteen games, and I mean, just look at him. How could you say anybody else?

Notes

  • Jonathan Bernier gave up four on 35 shots. Not horrible but really not a very good night either.
  • Nazem Kadri was probably the best possession player on the team tonight, going 56% at even strength. Morgan Rielly and Richard Panik were also above 50%.
  • Speaking of possession, the Leafs are now even on the year in close-situations Fenwick. That’s average, which for the Leafs, is fantastic.
  • The Leivo-Carrick-Frattin line barely played. LIke, at all.
  • TGT23

    Uncle Leo!!! Is there anyone who bleeds blue more than him?

    Kadri has started to pick it up. Couple points tonight. Been very good recently.

    Bernier looked… Okay… Only one goal I had a real problem with but he wasn’t great. Hasn’t looked the same since his injury last season. But, he battled and fought for a 30 save win.

    Reimers turn tomorrow. He has to know he’s a strong game or two away from forcing Carlyle to revisit who is 1A and who is 1B. If ever there was a time to play good, now is it.

  • CMpuck

    Well the simple explanation is that defence was given a game misconduct before the drop of the first puck. It appears that some of the leafs and the platinum blonde sushi eating crowd must have taken in the 5 and 1 Raptors game the night before.

    Obviously there was a game the night before as players were falling all over the ice thanks to terrible ice conditions. That puck was bouncing more than a ping pong ball on a cruise ship.

    Are we seeing the birth of a crowd favorate. Has Leo been watching the complete works of Eddie the entertainer Shack? A nice triple double from the tenacious one. Hell I don’t even mind him wearing number 47 which reminds us of, well never mind. 8 body checks, a goal and assist and perfect in the old face off circle, 6 for 6.

    Classic line from the t.v. commentators as they pontificated about Phil the thrills amazing ability to stay healthy. One of the chatting Cathies pointed out that he is one healthy player due to the fact that he avoids the combat zone like the plague.
    This broadcaster then went on to say that he sneaks in once in a while which is good enough to be in the top three of scoring. I’ll give Phil this much credit when he stated in training camp that he plays the game his style and he ain’t changing. So when he decides to play his game, good things usually happen and the leafs win.
    I think the same philosophy good be used for Jake Gardiner who sets up some of the greatest goals you will see much to the chagrin of Reimer and Bernier. But then he will pinch in from the point and lay down the perfect pass to Leo, Bam its in the net game winner.

    On to Ottawa which is a team Reimer owns so likely the boys will be 8-5-1 at around the one sixth mark of the season.

    This could be a winning weekend for both the leafs and Raptors.

  • Kanuunankuula

    So happy Leo finally got rewarded for his hard work. His 2,9 cap hit really doesn’t seem that much. He plays his heart out every game it seems. As for Kadri, it seems like the has to break tomorrow or the next game? Dominating yet not that much points?

    Bernier again a couple of easy goals. Maybe still not 100% from injury?

    • TGT23

      My thoughts exactly. Just hasn’t looked the same, his movement isn’t as good. Probably rushed back to try to help the team last season and set back his recovery.

      I’m all for goalies who battle and fight through pain to play, but if he isn’t healthy or if he is playing himself into shape he needsbto say something.

      • TGT23

        Here we go again, lets put Bernier’s not so hot start this year on his injuries from last year, lets blame Reims for his early return etc etc….
        Funny you didn’t cut any slack on Reims last year, that with all that transpired with him and his faimly and RC treating him like the sh*t on the bottem of his shoe he was to suck it up and be a man and battle though it etc etc….my understanding for Goaltenders its alot more to do with their mental state, and boy Reims took a big hit in that department….

        You know I blame Bernier because it was up to him to say he wasn’t ready to come back not inflate his ego to “gotta get back and save the team” or how about when RC asked if he was ok to play agaisnt the Kings last year knowing he wasn’t 100% but said he was ok to play…..

        He’s had all the off season to feel good and fix his recovery to be ready for the season…if he’s still nursing injuries than maybe he shouldn’t be playing, the goalie coach doesn’t seem to see any problem with Bernier as he still playing…..

        in the early part of the season when Bernie had lost the game opener and the gane after..”if Bernier want’s to be the Number 1 the incumbent and take over this team, he needs to start playing like it and get his game back..don’t expect it to be handed back without earning it..

        Again nothing personally against your Bernie, but he needs to get his game back,,and as for Reims…I hope the team plays for him tonight as they did for Bernier..because otherwise it will be a crap night again..

        GO REIMS GO

        • TGT23

          Last season James Reimer had an 9 game stretch to end the year where he went 1-8 with a .900 save percentage with a Goals Against close to 3.00, and in the first eight of those games he had an .896 Save Percentage with a goals against closer to 3.50…

          And yet you have not once said Reimer had a bad game. Never once. You have always had a convenient excuse for his awful performances and put blame on everyone else…

          So maybe you aren’t the one to lecture me on personal biases.

  • Jerkball

    Injuries have allowed opportunities for some
    players to get some ice time. Panik is looking like a real good wavier pickup , especially when
    he has played higher in the line up -ditto for Holland.
    I cant wait to see Carrick get some more ice
    he looks like a Mean M______F____er.

    I think Frattin never recovered from that knee injury when he crashed into the net.-He doesn’t
    even look like the same player.

    The team is starting to gel.
    Good to see the Leafs win at home on Sat night
    in a very entertaining game. Looks like they could beat any team on a given night.
    Now all they have to do is work on consistency.
    Komorov is Leafs first star!

  • Kanuunankuula

    Here is a comparison between Polak and Gunnarsson.
    R. Polak who scored the game tying goal tonight.

    http://mapleleafs.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8471392

    Gunnarsson
    http://blues.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8474125

    Polak is 4th in the NHL in hits
    Gunnarsson has 2 hits this year
    http://www.rotowire.com/hockey/player.htm?id=3247

    http://www.sportingcharts.com/nhl/stats/player-hits-statistics/2014/

    BTW other Leaf hit totals
    6-Komorov-51
    13-Phaneuf-44
    47-Clarkson-33
    53-Franson-33
    98-Robidas-25

  • Corno4

    I don’t believe your data that suggests the leafs close-situation Fenwick is near even. With Carlyle as a coach and such it is laughable to even imply the dinosaur coach is capable of producing this result.

    I suggest you rework your spreadsheet as the only rationale conclusion these statistics suggest is that Carlyle and Nonis need to be fired and Bozak needs to be traded. Also Bernier is lazy, the 4th line needs to play more minutes, Clarkson falls a lot and protects water bottles. Rework your statistics to fit with these narrative please and I might find your work more sensible. Thank you.

    Also we can all agree Leo is the best.

  • CMpuck

    Lovin Davey Clarkmen, this is the guy as advertised that sits in the crease and stuffs his marginally talented blue collar backside in opposing goaltender’s face. Beauty.

    Roman Polak much like Garth Butcher has that ‘I murder people as a hobby face’

    http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Hockey/4970/4970-66Bk.jpg

    Nice that we finally have a physical blueliner that Leaf Nation isn’t scapegoating, it’s like having Hal Gill again but not blindly hating him for existing.

    Another Cody Franson special, advance stats don’t capture just how bad Franson give aways are, every turn over off Cody’s stick is a clear break against Bernier/Reimer.

    • TGT23

      Hockey is a rough sport, one in which it is advisable to not have a roster comprised of
      over half of talented”pretty boys.”

      Polak has heart, is fast, is physical and scores a few important goals while defending often against the opponents best players. He plays big minutes for the leafs.

      Clarkson is a player who has grit and heart and can play on the Leafs top 9. Better heart than say a talented player like Vanek or Semin any day.
      Clarkson fills a role and it is important
      to have role players on a team.And the Leafs have been devoid of grit on their top 6 in recent memory.

      Franson just isn’t a player who has lived up to his potential-yet. And his development has been very slow.
      It worries me that Franson in a year that he has been given an opportunity to play on the top pair “gives up on plays” in a contract year for him. Can he make the next step ? That is the 5.5-6 million dollar question.

      The fact is the NHL has many talented players that are impossible to defend 100% of the time against.
      It was refreshing that there is not a lot of Phaneuf bashing after a Ranger got around him-
      to have a clear break on Bernier.

      Gardiner has been made by Carlyle into a very nervous player which is bad as he has natural offensive talent.

      Carlyle is teaching him defensive responsibility
      and this has been a steep learning curb.
      Maybe the greatest benefits of Carlyles tenure are realized after he is gone.-Just like Burke.