Every week, all of the TLN writers call dibs on which pregame and postgame posts they’d like to write. For some reason, I told my friends and colleagues that I’d take tonight’s postgame. Why? Why did I do that?
New Jersey is one of those teams that bores me to tears. By the third period of Devils games, sports bars across the city start brewing fresh pots of coffee to help keep everyone awake. Maybe it’s because the Devils play a tight, defensive system. Or maybe it’s because New Jersey is just as much a retirement community as it is a hockey team.
Either way, this is why it’s so exponentially more frustrating to watch the Leafs lose to them, for their seventh straight loss, in a shoot out, by a score of 2-1. God, that’s annoying.
Not a whole lot happened, but there were two story lines that carried throughout the game.
First, and most impressive, was the goaltending. Cory Schneider faced 30 shots and stopped 29 of them for the win, while Jonathan Bernier faced 23 and stopped 22. Both goalies, while not all that busy, made some excellent saves to keep the game close through three periods and an overtime. And I refuse to lay any blame on Bernier for losing in the shootout, because it’s a crapshoot at best, and holy moly was that Patrick Elias fake shot-to-the-backhand move a thing of beauty.
Second, was the powerplay, with both teams failing miserably on the man advantage. Despite five PP opportunities for the Leafs, and three for the Devils, regulation finished in a 1-1 tie with both goals coming at even strength. I know these aren’t the most prolific offences in the league at the moment, but damn.
It wasn’t even until the third period before James van Riemsdyk opened the scoring with a nice breakaway deke that slipped under Schneider’s pad. Adam Larsson would tie it up on a nice wrister from the point just six minutes later, and with less than three minutes remaining in the game. A pretty quiet overtime would solve nothing, while Jacob Josefson and the aforementioned Elias would put two past Bernier in the shoot out while neither Mike Santorelli or Tyler Bozak would be able to solve Schneider.
I’m going to give it to JVR, who was not only the Leafs’ only goal scorer, but also led the team with a whopping eight shots. That means van Riemsdyk was responsible for over 25% of Toronto’s shots. Beastly.
Come Back Tomorrow
The Leafs are back at it tomorrow night, hosting the Arizona Coyotes at the ACC. Tune in to TSN4 at 7:30pm EST.