Three Cheers for the tank battle!
Confession: as much as I want to harp about the number of reasons I hate the shootout, I’d much rather just point out how much I love Buffalo’s goal song. No one can take that away from me.
Toronto dropped what was essentially a battle of prospects in a 2-1 shootout decision, meaning they walked away with a pity point and, in Dion Phaneuf’s case, a healthy dose of hatred for the way the penalties were dished out.
Evander Kane sees Dion Phaneuf coming for him and sticks him right in the face pic.twitter.com/rTrXTNxAot
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) October 22, 2015
P.A. Parenteau opened up scoring with a nice, early, opportunistic goal (although he was ultimately limited to 9:37) – then Toronto proceeded to get outshot, relinquish their one goal load with just four and a half minutes to go in the third, and fail to find the back of the net again outside of one successful shootout attempt by Parenteau himself.
That’s the bad news, though. The good news was that Bernier played an excellent game, all things considered; he managed to turn aside all but one goal during the game and two goals in the shootout, and he wasn’t facing easy shots. Jack Eichel and Evander Kane were both absolutely unbelievable, and Bernier did his due diligence shutting them down effectively.
Where Bernier looked composed and effective, though, Chad Johnson has also seemed to turn back into Boston Bruins Chad Johnson. Where he was both stylistically and statistically the worst goaltender in the NHL last year – and it wasn’t even close – he’s started to find some of his rhythm again this year; I don’t know how well he’ll keep that up, but he certainly did a good job turning aside a few quality chances from the Leafs throughout the game.
Overall, it was another loss (but another point gained). Toronto looked about like we’d expect them to, but the effort was there and the passion wasn’t far behind. This team, once it’s added the William Nylanders and Kasperi Kapanens and Mitch Marners in the system, is going to be very, very good – it just isn’t there yet.
So they lost to Buffalo.
HAHAHAHAHAHA that third period possession
I’m giving the Blue Warrior nod to Nazem Kadri, who had a good number of pretty solid looks throughout the game in Buffalo tonight.
I came really close to giving this to Bernier, but 3/4 of my rundown was about goaltending. Kadri has been one of the top players on the Leafs as the season really gets under way. Although he was stopped by Chad Johnson, which is never a good sign.
Anyways, Kadri has been one of the most consistent players from both a scoring and a statistic standpoint for Toronto for years now, and he’s getting a chance to really show it with the Leafs as they move into the Babcock era. Which, speaking of…
This whole Carlyle-esque hockey out of Toronto is almost laughably upsetting, because the Leafs are once again back to relying on Jonathan Bernier having great nights.
Luckily, he’s shaken off whatever the hell that was at the start of the season (and yes, even I will admit that he looked like scary hot garbage), and we have to assume that the Leafs won’t get outpossessed by every team out there.
Consolation: at least we aren’t Columbus. Amirite?