Toronto Maple Leafs Post-Game: Let Me Clear My Throat

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. 

The Rundown

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. 

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. 

Stats

chart

HAHAHAHAHAHA that third period possession

Blue Warrior

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…

Moving On

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?

  • silentbob

    Blue warrior to Kadri?!? What game were you watching? Kadri was horrible! There’s more to hockey than dipsy doodles. He was bad defensively, bad in I the face off circle, on multiple occasions he’d held onto the puck when there was an open man to pass to, including once on a two on one, and to cap it all off he turned the puck over in his own end on what could only be described as a perfect pass to Evander Kane for Buffal’s tying goal with 3 minutes to go in the third and the leafs leading.

    Kadri looked dangerous 3 on 3 when he didn’t have to play defence, but Babcock has his work cut out for him if he’s ever going to turn Kadri into a top 9 forward on a decent team.

  • Gary Empey

    Only fans like silentbob who think losing is how you rebuild a team would be happy with that result.

    If Bozak is in the lineup the last two games we would of won them. Gardiner’s absence was also noticed.

    How Evander Kane got away with that high stick I just don’t know.

    • TGT23

      Isn’t the best way to rebuild usually to acquire picks, especially high picks, and as many young players with high potential as you can get your hands on?

      In that situation I suppose losing is a good result, as it increases the likelihood of a higher pick. Thus the likelihood of drafting a high potential player.

      Also, a good loss whereby the team plays well, especially the young developing players, bodes well for the future. If the young players develop quickly into the system it means the higher likelihood they reach their potential.

      And if the older vets play well it increases their value at the deadline which helps acquire more young assets and picks.

      So, I suppose with that in mind, with exception of the Detroit game this season has sort of gone as planned. Many of the young guys have played well and taken strides, some of the vets might be tradeable, and the team is losing games for the tank.

      The fact that they’ve played well while losing is sort of a bonus, really. It’s better than watching the tire fire that was last season.

      Also, yeah, idk how Kane got away with that. It was blatant.

    • Gary Empey

      For sure, a clear high stick, but at full speed sometimes those things get missed. That’s the type of call that’s clear in retrospect but can be challenging to notice during the course of regular play.

  • Gary Empey

    It was a good effort, no excuse for the Refs(all of em) missing that Kane stick. They too are supposed to be professionals and should have caught that blatant one.

  • Gary Empey

    Let me say it again but Bernier in net is not going to work. Fortunately Bozak is injured and I hope he never comes back but they have to run with Reimer in net to have a chnace

    • Gary Empey

      Bernier played amazing last night and were it not for Kadri deciding to play for the other team and set up Kane with a perfect pass for the game tying goal, Bernier would have had a shutout last night!

      As for Bozak, he’s been better than Kadri this year. That’s no endorsement of Bozak, its a condemnation of Kadri.

      Kadri wants a big contract so he’s trying to do it all and it’s not working for him so far. He needs to calm down and be a team player and his offence and big payday will come. Otherwise he’ll find himself playing in the KHL.

    • TGT23

      I hear what you’re saying…

      We can’t have Bernier playing good and leading the team to wins and points. That is counterproductive during a tank.

      And with the team playing well eventually they’ll start scoring goals and if weiner is the goalie we’ll start winning and the tank will be ruined.

      We need Reimer to play more so the Leafs lose more.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Cat — sorry, can’t agree with your meta here. This was not a “essentially a battle of prospects…” It was a battle between one team that’s three-four years ahead of the other on the rebuild curve. Buffalo should have won that game more decisively.

    If I am Babcock, I will make the players watch lots of tape of that third period. It was not good; this was a game they could have won with as much determination as the Sabres brought. Plenty of teachable moments in those 20 minutes.

  • CMpuck

    Is anyone else scared of how good Buffalo is going to be in a few years? Seeing Eichel and Girgensons tower over Kadri in the faceoff dot, it looked like the Leafs were a Peewee club vs men.

    This is where my concern for the shoe-horning of Nylander and Marner at center lies, those will make for an uphill battle come playoff time in terms of match ups. Rather see them flourish on the wing.

  • TGT23

    bernier shook off whatever was plaguing him? he had one good game vs being terrible since last year. he still hasn’t proven he can’t start games just because he didn’t let a goal into the net in the first 5 minutes. anyone is capable of having a great game. I believe he’ll always have that problem of letting in early bad goals.

  • TGT23

    I agree with #6 kesselkadri response as well as with #11 jay response …. Reimer deserves to be the one playing the games and as for Bernier I agree with #11 jay…1 1/2 games does not make Bernier this great Goalie….He has been letting in these softies all last year as well as since this season started…Again it’s about time Bernier earned his $4.3 million he’s getting paid….

    As for you #10 TGT23 you can’t just say anything nice can you…up to this point I have not made any comments regarding Reims or Bernier, but when you open your mouth and say stupid comments like that, I refuse to be quiet….Bernier again shows just like any Goalie that he has game but he doesn’t have that game enough to earn him what he’s been given…..he’s had an ok 1st season and from there on he has sucked….again how many years are you going to give him to earn his worth?????

    Reims won his last game and deserved to play last night, now he sits again as Bernier is giving the reins to prove himself..how nice for him…lets just keep giving him as long as it takes to make him this what????? oh that’s right a far better choice than Reims…what a joke…Reims has been able to be out-standing and when he’s on he’s on…..but unless your Cary Price its not an every game thing…..but again when your paid double the money than you dam well better show it…because again he hasn’t blown Reims out of the water…..

    • TGT23

      You’re going to talk to ME about saying nice things? Have you said one nice thing about Bernier since we traded for him? Even during his amazing year the first year

      He had an “ok” year? He was a Vezina candidate before getting hurt and had the Leafs in the playoffs. Then he goes down and your boy wonder squandered the opportunity. Again.

      Reimer can’t do it in the clutch. Weak mentally.

      You talk about how Bernier has sucked but Reimer is the one who has inferior numbers the last two seasons… and yet those worse numbers tell you Reimer is better and should start… somehow…

      And MY comments are stupid?

    • TGT23

      You realize that by “outstanding” you mean Reimer won a game where his team scored 6 goals and he has an .890 SV% to start the year, right?

      He’s so outstanding!!!