Leafs Post-Game: Fly at 11

The Leafs played well against Washington, they played well against Columbus, and they played well again tonight.  They didn’t get the 2 points they were hoping for, but they put in a good effort against the defending Cup champs en route to an unfortunate 2-0 loss in Los Angeles.

THE RUNDOWN

As it turns out, the Kings scored the winning goal just 37 seconds into the game.

Starting the game with a firm forecheck, Drew Doughty gave Anze Kopitar a cross-crease feed to make it 1-0 on the first shift of the night.

It didn’t get too much better as the period went along.  Toronto was able to settle things down a little after an early Kings surge, but they certainly weren’t any better than Los Angeles at any point in the first.

Toronto left the period down 1-0 with a meager 3 shots on goal to show for themselves.

Early in the second, Leo Komarov jammed his forearm going into the boards on a hit from Matt Greene.  Greene was given two minutes for interference, but the Leafs weren’t able to capitalize.  Komarov did come back briefly, but left again after one shift and did not return.

Things opened up in the middle frame, with both teams getting chances off the rush.  The Kings were able to match Toronto for the most part, but the Leafs did make a strong push as the period neared a close.  All things considered it was certainly a better 20 minutes for Toronto, but they still weren’t able to get on the scoreboard.

The Leafs gave it one last push in the third, and actually carried the play for much of the early stages of the period.  Martin Jones continued to stonewall them though, and they just didn’t get the bounces.  No matter what they did, they just couldn’t pot one.  With the net empty late, Marian Gaborik was able to get a freebee and that was all she wrote.  The Leafs lost 2-0, but they certainly deserved better, getting stronger as the game went on against the mighty Kings.  And for a team that under Randy Carlyle continued to get wins in games they didn’t play well, a loss in a game where the Leafs did play well is, in a weird kind of way, rather refreshing.

BLUE WARRIOR

Returning to his old stomping grounds, Jonathan Bernier didn’t get the win he was hoping for tonight.  He did, however, stop 19 of 20 shots in a game where nobody on his team scored a goal.  He was excellent, and he is your Blue Warrior.

NOTES

  • All things considered, this was another good effort from the Leafs.  They’ve looked good under Peter Horachek, and while they certainly weren’t perfect tonight the Leafs gave a pretty good push against one of the better team’s in the NHL.
  • Interesting note from Chris Johnston on the broadcast today: Horachek is including Jonathan Bernier in what he plans to be weekly meetings with the team’s leadership group.
  • Morgan Rielly played 20:18 today, his lowest ice-time total in the three games with Horachek as the bench boss.  Looks like he has a fan.

SEE YOU WEDNESDAY

The Leafs will look to bounce back against the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday.  The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet at 10:00PM Eastern.

  • TGT23

    The team is far from perfect but I like what we’ve seen from them so far in the Horacheck era. At least for the most part.

    Three games in a row allowing 25 shots or less. Do that over an extended period of time and the wins will come. Goal scoring is (usually) there, keep playing a decent possession game and keep the opponents shot totals down and the team won’t need superhuman goaltending to win. Merely good goaltending will be enough.

    This game, despite the loss, was a pretty darn good one. At least defensively. They just couldn’t find a way to score a goal. Most nights, that won’t be an issue.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Got to love these 1 to 0 scores, okay 2 to 0 with the empty net goal. Vancouver and Calgary had a similar European soccer thriller on the weekend with Calgary beating Vancouver with their third string goalie.

    Once again the club keeps the shots down to 20 as obviously the Corsi and Fenwick afficianados must be doing cart wheels. Maybe the leafs will win the Corsi and Fenwick titles. Me, I just prefer freaking hockey victories.

    The writing is on the wall for any intelligent leaf fan with 15 of the next 22 games on the road for the buds. The playoff chances are slim and none as Florida with a flotsam jetsam collection of sunday garage sale players, Bolland, Boyes, Jokinen, Fleishman etc. have moved ahead of the leafs. Got to give G.M. Dale Talon a lot of credit visiting those garage sales and picking up has beens, never was beens and other rejects to push his team into playoff contention.

    Maybe we can get some stories in here about really matters for leaf fans the rest of the season, namely who are the likely draft picks from 6th to 12th come June.

    A lot of Kudos going out to the new coach who gave Smith 6 minutes and another 4th liner 2 minutes. Truly a Carlyle move as the buds play 4 games in 6 nights. Any intelligent coach would be playing that 4th line a minimum of 10 minutes with that type of schedule. But then we are indeed talking about the leafs.

    • TGT23

      “Me, I just prefer freaking hockey victories.”

      They weren’t exactly rolling in those playing the old way, either.

      Over the long haul, with the offensive talent this team has, if they keep their opponents scoring chances down and keep possession more, they’ll win games. They can’t play an up and down, trading chances kind of game. They don’t have the right kind of team to do that against the good teams.

      But, I’m sure you, as an “intelligent” hockey fan, knew that.

    • Jeremy Ian

      You are a piece of work…

      “flotsam jetsam collection of sunday garage sale players, Bolland, Boyes, Jokinen, Fleishman etc.”

      This flotsam costs the Panthers: $16.6 million/year.

      Leafs “flotsam” of Booth, Robidas, Santo, Polak, Panik, and Winnik?

      $10.3 million/year.

      I prefer freaking logic.

      The game last night I couldn’t watch past the middle of the second period, but after the first 15 minutes the Leafs showed what it will take to win some points on this trip. They will get murdered if they play Carlyle-era hockey.

      Perhaps more important: the players are showing they can adapt to a system. You may not like it, but they are showing they are coachable. I was worried that the roster was like a poisoned well. Now I am not so worried, but want to see if they can sustain the message.

      • TGT23

        Okay, okay, my homework assignment for you is to read hockey 101 for dummies. First of all Booth as one goal and is from the Lupul school of injuries, Robidas is closing in on 38 and has been benched lately, Panik came over in a trade, Santo is on a one year deal and similar to Raymond will probably get a better offer else where in 2015/16 as the leafs have to pay Kadri and Bernier a gazillion dollars due to salary cap.

        My point which you obviously didn’t clue in on is that Florida every year simply goes through Craig’s list and finds what ever broken reject they can and although they might pay more because they are not STUPID ENOUGH TO PAY CLARKSON, PHANEUF AND KESSEL A GAZILLION DOLLARS, are competitive with the leafs. They are in fact ahead of the leafs with that motley crew.

        No one is worried Jeremey as we have only waiting 48 years.

        • Jeremy Ian

          ummm, ok, here I am reading your manual. Let’s see, yes, B comes after A. Aha. Yes, Bolland. Dave. Florida Panthers. 19 games played. League rank, 580th. 0 goals. 7 assists. Of course he does have 20 penalty minutes. That’s a higher number, right?

          This is tough homework…

          • Jeremy Ian

            Obviously too difficult for you to comprehend. After all it was the leafs who originally signed Bolland to the huge contract. Look, let me simplify it for you. You are M.L.S.E.’s perfect leaf fan. You accept mediocrity, my goodness have you enjoyed those three home playoff games in the past decade. Do you have season tickets to the Chicago Cubs.
            Bottom line with this organization is that it isn’t about winning on the ice but a the bank.

            The M.L.S.E. board are the ones making the decisions on the ice. Thus you have Phaneuf given a huge contract along with Kessel. The signing of home boy Clarkson to a ridiculous iron clad contract when the guy can’t skate. They will be forced to give up their best offensive defenseman Franson in order to sign Kadri and Bernier to huge long term contracts. Why because they are close to the max with all the previous bone head signings. I hope you can comprehend that the leafs are in one of their traditional rebuild campaigns with a new coach at the end of the season, new assistant coaches, a 6th to 12th draft pick as usual and oh yes an increase in prices of leaf products.

            Yes you will swallow hook, line sinker the leaf management propaganda. Lets face it their mode of operation has worked for 48 years going from the jail bird Ballard to the two current wonderful corporate citizens Rogers and Bell.

            I get a lot of leaf fans are happy as clams but believe it or not there are some fans who would like to see a winning product on the ice but also an image of being a class organization similar to the Canadians. Obviously that is beyond your grasp. Keep an eye on Dale Talons Value Village team, they are pulling away from the leafs.

            What I really find amusing about guys like you is you will defend to death an organization that has abused and used the fans going on 50 years but get all upset over a poster telling the truth. Jack Nicholson had it right.

          • Jeremy Ian

            So what about Alex Barkov, Roberto Luongo, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau is “value village”?

            Because those are the players carrying the Panthers. Not the players you mentioned. Get back to me when the Leafs have Kadri, Nylander, Nilsson, Rielly, Percy and Gardiner carrying the team.

            No one is buying any propaganda. We all want Nonis fired for the contracts he gave out. We just don’t have time for this “OH LOL 48 YEARS” garbage from Leaf fans obsessed with the past.

            Heads up genius, the Leafs didn’t sign Bolland to a contract. Not once. They traded for an already-signed Bolland, and didn’t re-up his contract.

            We’re not accepting mediocrity, we’re accepting improvement. The team is playing better hockey than it was before Horachek took over. How is that so hard to get through? Must be 48 years of density in that skull.

  • FlareKnight

    There are always good and bad with this team. At least the defense is better. It may not be the worst strategy in the short term. The goaltending isn’t bad and the forwards have the ability to strike suddenly. If neither team gets any chances the Leafs have as good a shot as any to be the team that breaks the deadlock.

    But maybe not. It would be assumed the Leafs could still score enough with how much firepower they have even if they go hyper defense. But could be all or nothing for them. This time they couldn’t score against a team that is thin on the blueline and hasn’t played great lately. It’s not going to get any easier to get over 20 shots and score a goal during this road trip.

    Good progress defensively. Right now the results are about the same with more losses than wins, but that can turn around.

  • Dawgfan1980

    The process in game 3 of 10 before overall evaluation of the “scheme” shows continued trends toward less shots allowed.

    All you needed to know about the previous regime and their scheme was in the goalie stat pack pregame. Bernier had a higher save percentage and higher goal against average than Martin Jones. Contemplate how many more shots you have to face to save a higher percentage but still allow more in.

    We can finally do some evaluating of our talent now that we have NHL level schemes. Win or lose, that was a damn enjoyable game. I do prefer wins, but I prefer a system that allows for us to be in a position to win more often. If I would have told you three weeks ago every thing about this game, the shots, the score, the hits, the players missing, most of us would have taken it.

  • Jeremy Ian

    I love how everyone is pulling out the moral victory card to make themselves feel better about the loss. And Bernier didn’t give the team a chance to win with another early go against to start the game.

    • Jeremy Ian

      What’s in the commentariat cool-aid this morning? Jesus.

      The Leafs played the Stanley Cup champions, ranked 11th in the league with 2.8 goals/game, flying at 31.4 shots/game.

      Some fans are impossible. The Leafs start doing some things right; but since they aren’t perfect that makes them a failure.

      You know what Voltaire once said? “Perfect is the enemy of the good.”

      I want good; I want better. If I don’t get perfection tomorrow, I am not giving up.

      What keeps you following the team???? You want to keep dreaming about black and white photos of Armstrong and Keon, or move on?

  • ushaped

    The Leafs had the better scoring chances in the latter half of the game and out-shot LA in the second and third period. They only lost because Jones was excellent in net. This is a major improvement for the team. Once the defensive play and puck support becomes second nature, they will get more creative on offense. Good game.

  • CMpuck

    1st
    I think J. Bernier has a too laid back personality
    and that’s why he lets in so many 1st shot goals.

    The Leafs management need to get his blood pressure up
    so he has some adrenalin to start the games.

    2nd
    The Leafs had a good record of recording the 1st goal playing their offense first brand of hockey .

    couldn’t they start that way then after they get a lead shut it down……

    PS
    it’s great that the Leafs have learned to play defense.
    I think Kessel becomes more valuable on a defensive team-when one shot means the difference between
    a win and a loss.

    I feel sorry for L. Komorov, he wasn’t the same coming off the ovechkin dirty hit,
    someone needs to frag his a_s.

  • CMpuck

    Watching the Leafs play defense feels like talking to your parents after coming home from a party and you’re inner monologue is ‘ok, be cool and act sober’ then you lose 2-0 walk away and tell yourself ‘I totally nailed it, they have no clue’.

  • TGT23

    I was very impressed with that deflection by Panik. If it would of went in it would of definitely been the Sportsnet countdown for sure imo.

    I also feel bad for Komorov. Sort of reminds of Berezin 😉

    P.S. will never forget the hit Kasparitis put on Berezin. If it wass me I would still be under the floor at that spot in the MLG lol

  • Jeremy Ian

    You are right on one thing Jeremy, why should I argue with someone who has never witnessed a leaf Stanely Cup. Someone who actually thinks the Rogers and Bell people care about the product on the ice. Keep cheering on mediocrity like your comments. As I stated with supporters like you M.L.S.E. is just laughing all the way to the bank.

    Even old time Hab fans get it that the glory years are gone. But at least there organization isn’t the joke of the league. But heh to each their own. Keep accepting the mediocrity Jeremey and you will get bushels more of it from M.L.S.E. They love you Jeremy.