The result of tonight’s game was likely going to do a lot to influence people’s perceptions of this team. If they lost they would be losers in 3 of 4 and back on the tailspin. If they won, they’d be winners of 2 straight and back on the right path. Well, the Leafs were able to roll to a 4-1 victory at home tonight against the Detroit Red Wings.
It was a pretty good first period for the Leafs. The shots were 12-8 but it seemed to me like the Leafs carried a good portion of the play. It did help that they had 3 powerplays in the first while Detroit had just 1. The Leafs were rewarded for their efforts when Leo Komarov carried the puck to the net off the rush and potted one home.
In the second period Detroit had an edge but not by a large margin. It was largely a flat 20 minutes of hockey on both sides of the puck. About midway through the frame, Xavier Ouellet dished out a really nice pass to Tomas Tatar to tie the game up. Roman Polak was injured on the play and did not return to the game.
The third was pretty evenly played but the Leafs were able to break free. Tyler Bozak scored on a pretty nice shorthanded breakaway early and Peter Holland was able to seal the deal late in the period with a great shot off the rush. Tyler Bozak also got an empty-netter.
All in all it was a pretty solid game from the Leafs. It could have gone either way, but they were on the right side of the scoreboard tonight and are now back to their winning ways.
Stopping 26 of 27 shots, Jonathan Bernier is tonight’s Blue Warrior.
- A few notes from Elliot Friedman and Damien Cox during the second intermission: the NHL’s Chief Operating Officer John Collins was apparently in the running to replace Tim Leiweke as President and CEO of MLSE, but he took his name out of the ballot. Leafs top prospect William Nylander was injured today after being kicked in the back of the head by a skate but the injury isn’t believed to be serious. David Booth is likely to return to the Leafs lineup Wednesday after his two-game conditioning stint with the Marlies ends tomorrow. Lastly and most interestingly, Cox claims that the Leafs salute snub on Thursday was not a planned routine change as the players have claimed but rather a conscious decision made by the players against the fans. The Leafs did salute the crowd tonight. I’d imagine that someone within the organization told them they have to in order to settle the storm.
- With Booth coming back Wednesday and Joffrey Lupul and Brandon Kozun not far behind him, I’d expect Josh Leivo to be the first but perhaps not the only player sent down by the Leafs. He’s played alright for the Leafs but isn’t getting a lot of ice-time in a fourth-line role.
- By the way, tonight’s fancy stats: Detroit 56.79 CF%, Toronto 43.21
CF%. Tonight’s Toronto Corsi King: Josh Leivo himself at 77.78%.
- As TSN’s Mark Masters notes, Korbinian Holzer might be the logical replacement for Roman Polak if he misses any games because he’s a right-handed shot (the Leafs have emphasized a left-right balance on defense this season), plays a similar style to Roman Polak, and can eat up some of his penalty kill minutes. Stuart Percy would presumably also be in the mix. UPDATE: Randy Carlyle expects Roman Polak to be out awhile.
- Cody Franson was unable to extend his point streak to 10 games. Tom Kurvers’ franchise record of 10 straight for a defenseman lives on.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY
The Leafs will look to extend their winning streak to 3 games hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7:30PM Eastern on Sportsnet this Wednesday.