It was another good night if you’re a Leafs fan. A good first half of the game from the team, and an excellent second half followed up by some yet again fantastic goaltending from James Reimer, ensured Toronto their third straight win, and the sixth time in their last seven contests that they’ve picked up at least a point.
The Leafs were the better team in the first period. Overall, they just played a very sound game, moving the puck well and keeping the play outside of their own zone. They outshot the Canucks 9-6, and midway through the period, Nazem Kadri made a nice drop pass to James van Riemsdyk, who wired it by Ryan Miller for a 1-0 Leafs lead. Late in the period the Leafs got the only powerplay opportunity of either team, and had a couple of good cracks at making it 2-0. Ryan Miller held the fort though, and the teams headed into the locker room with the Leafs up by 1.
The Leafs weren’t quite as well-rounded in the second period, but they still did enough to keep the game under their control. They did outshoot the Canucks in the period 15-14, but it just seemed like they were chasing the puck a little bit more than they had been in the first. But while their even strength play wasn’t quite as consistent, it didn’t have to be, as P.A. Parenteau (and the rest of the team really) made the most of a 5-on-3 powerplay midway through the frame. When the Canucks had a powerplay of their own later in the period, the Leafs got a pair of good scoring chances, including a Michael Grabner penalty shot. They didn’t capitalize though, and it wasn’t long before Jannik Hansen came in over the blueline to cut the Leafs lead in half heading into the third period.
The Canucks didn’t completely dominate Toronto in the third, but they did throw everything they had at James Reimer. And while the shots were 25-15 for Vancouver in the final frame, the Leafs were still able to outscore Vancouver 2-1 in the period. Things started off good for the Leafs when Tyler Bozak fed Shawn Matthias an easy goal on a 2-on-0 just a couple of minutes into the period. Midway through the period though Alex Burrows was able to tip a Yannick Weber point shot and cut the Leafs lead to one once more. The Canucks really started to apply the pressure from here on out, but a scramble in front of the Vancouver net late in the period got Joffrey Lupul his 200th career goal and sealed the deal for the Leafs.
And just like that, even though it was a mixed effort of sorts from the Leafs, they’ve now win three in a row.
Those three straight wins are in large part thanks to James Reimer, who was once again excellent tonight. Just 2 goals allowed on 45 shots gave him a .956 save percentage on the night, and Reimer is tonight’s Blue Warrior for Toronto.
SEE YOU TOMORROW
The Leafs fly out to New York tonight ahead of their Sunday Night Hockey matchup against the Rangers. The game starts at 7:00PM Eastern and can be seen on Sportsnet.