Leafs Postgame: Junior Hockey Shows Up Six Days Early

Reminder: James van Riemsdyk was traded for Luke Schenn. Other than that, there wasn’t much for the Leafs to celebrate on Saturday night, who suffered a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Rundown:

The Leafs began up 2-0, off of goals by Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk in the first six minutes. Despite the hot start, the Leafs weren’t able to hold on. No, I’m just talking about the game, not a typical Leafs season as a whole.

By the end of the first period, the game was tied 3-3, including a half-minute outburst that was short on strong goalie play.

Dallas Stars forward, Toronto native, and self-proclaimed hockey fan Tyler Seguin weighed in:

He’s going to look so good on a line with Kessel and Stamkos. What Seguin failed to mention was that the first period was really all Leafs fans should watch, as they were outscored 4-1 over the final 40 minutes, and outshot 25-16. The Leafs managed 25 shots on the entire night.

Currently fighting Seguin for the scoring title, Jakub Voracek showed why he’s having a breakout season, managing four assists on the evening. Whether this is a career year or just signs of bigger things to come is uncertain, but he’s quite the player to watch right now.

Also of note, CBC used this image three times to promote the game.. featuirng a scratched Jake Gardiner. I’d be willing to bet he cracks the lineup tomorrow, but stranger things have definitely happened.

Blue Warrior:

David Clarkson, because why not. It’s not often you see a shot like this from Clarkson. Celebrate it while you can. By the way, David Clarkson has more goals than anyone on the Boston Bruins. While they’ve always been a team more predicated on defensive success and strong goaltending, that’s quite unexpected. Hey, didn’t they have a guy named Kessel once? Seguin may or may not have been on their team at some point as well. Cue the Bergeron-for-Clarkson rumours.

Notes:

  • Korbinan Holzer is, by just about every metric, not an NHL-calibre defenceman. To his credit, he did earn an assist on the final goal of the night, but otherwise looked lost out there for much of the night.
  • Switching up the lines was interesting, to say the least. James van Riemsdyk had a 58% Corsi at even strength. Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak? They had a 19 and 27%, respectively.
  • Most of the time, four goals will win a game. Horrible defensive performance, though, allowing 42 shots. 
  • The Leafs finally lost a game this year where they scored first.
  • Polak-Robidas had a rough night as well, posting 26% and 29% Corsi. 

The Leafs return to action tomorrow night, playing in Chicago at 7 pm.

  • Gonzomaus

    I thought Dubas and the analytic guys would have gotten to the root of the leafs getting massively outshot. The bloggers had all the answers last year (get a real 4th line with no facepunchers, get rid of the swarm etc) but now that they are in charge I guess it is not so easy to fix the corsi.

    • TGT23

      Hard to fix something when the roster is set before you get the job and the guy ahead of you making decisions and who has the final say is an idiot.

      We won’t know what Dubas and the analytics team can really do for this team until the off-season or Nonis is dismissed.

      But, no, your schtick is fun, too.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Weird first period, a horrendous second, and a bit of bounce back in the third, but way too little, way too late.

    I know everyone’s going to want to explode the lines and trade away the core. I love Kessel, but he was painful to watch tonight. But here are some things to consider that are actually do-able.

    1. We need a line that will muzzle. Giroux’s line stripped the Leafs. Smith’s trying hard as 4C, but he’s dragging Panik and Booth down. That could be a stronger line. I’d even consider slotting Winnik in there at center and turning the line into a checking line with offensive capability. Consider Kozun on the third line until Koma’s back.

    New 4th Line: Panik-Winnik-Booth; New 3rd: Koma-Holland-Clarkson

    2. For all his mistakes, they missed Gardiner in the lineup tonight. To say the Leafs had trouble carrying play would give new meaning to understatement. Holzer is a helpful call up, but he’s not a replacement for Gardiner.

    Now I’ll wait for Steve’s rant…

  • Gonzomaus

    Yeah, Adam you sure showed those Bruin fans as we Got Kessel and they don’t and, and, and as you said Clarkson has all those goals for our leafs. Where is Boston this year.

    Another thing Adam, we got Bernier they got that over rated Rask. Look how stupid the Bruins were in trading that number two pick Seguin.

    We are missing one of our best players now for 10 games in Leo Komarov.

    Tomorrow night we go out and beat those Black Hawks, our leafs have the intestinal fortitude, the desire, the hustle, the strength not to let 3 games in 4 nights bother them, nosiree we will be right back in the win column. Then,then, then its 16 games out of 20 on the road for the Buds. They should win 10 or 11 of those road games.

    People don’t you start getting to be smart alecs in here by suggesting that Bill Murray become the Drake of the Leafs. No sireee it ain’t going to be ground hog day this year.

    We got Shanahan and a 28 year old boy wonder assistant G.M. We got Randy Carlyle, and we have Dion as our captain. None of the other teams have this type of talent. We even still have Dave Morrison, who is one of the head honchos of the scouting department that has drafted all this dead wood over the past decade insuring the leafs of 1 playoff appearance in 10 years.

    But, but, but this year is different, you just betcha.

  • Gonzomaus

    So they finally recognised the top line needed a change due to the poor defensive play (I would presume). But replacing JVR with Lupul really isn’t going to solve the problems with that top line.

  • TGT23

    This was… This was just not good… At all… I mean, getting out to a 2 goal lead and then imploding… No urgency, no defense, goalie struggling and getting no support… I defend Dion a lot but he disappointed me tonight. The only guy not to disappoint me a little was Clarkson and Holland… Everyone else was awful… Oh, and Gardiner… He didn’t disappoint… Because HE WAS IN THE PRESS BOX!!! Randy, wth are you doing? You can’t keep doing this. I don’t care if he’s had issues, he isn’t learning anything from the press box! Bring up Percy, rotate Robidas and Polak in the press box, stop sitting Gardiner. Figure it out!! And can we finally split up the top line for good?!

  • Dawgfan1980

    Inconsistent teams have a nasty habit of relying on “bounces”, puck luck or whatever the term may be. They win games in bunches they shouldn’t and lose games in bunches that cause us to scratch our heads.

    Every game is not a reason for the anti-deeper stats crowd to come out with their pitch forks. For the last time, much like any other stat group, the numbers should be taken over a broader context. No one game should ever be the definition of a player.

    Overall, the performance was ragged. I thought the lack of a player in a pure puck moving defenseman role along side #44 hurt Toronto tonight. #12, #26 and #55 all seemed to suffer from poor foot speed, which opened gaps on the ice that Philly exploited quite well.

    Re Gardiner: I think there are times that you don’t see the little plays that Gardiner makes because of our expectations for him. When his brain cramps, they are so glaring, so horrific and so unexpected that they frustrate more so. How the kid ended up with the magic status of Frustrate x 2.0, its the curse and ultimate anchor that kills a “bust”. His skating though allows him to influence more of the ice and allows #3 to not have the necessity of playing a heavy scoring role. Lupul’s goal was made by a #44 on the wall in the rush. #51 allows that as well.

    Tonight, they’ll play better. Its the Leafs. You sit down, enjoy the ride. They’d be best off out of town. As much as I would like to see a shut down line, the road isn’t the time to start that. You spend the night chasing down the match-up.

  • Dawgfan1980

    “Korbinan Holzer is, by just about every metric, not an NHL-calibre defenceman”

    Except…you know…Corsi where he led defenseman on his team at even strength.

    • Jeremy Ian

      I agree, Adam’s claim is over-stated; Holzer is a fine stand-in. But if you have a choice between him and Gardiner, sorry, this is kind of a no-brainer.

      Holzer played the least minutes of all D last night (15:38) with ES Close -3. (For comps, Rielly was +2, Franson +1, and Phaneuf 0)

      Perplexingly, Robidas and Polak each played over 22 minutes and got shellacked on ES Close differentials (-6 and -4 respectively).