Post-Game: Leafs/Flyers – Ghastly Goaltending

Post-Game: Leafs/Flyers – Ghastly Goaltending

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    13 goals, 3 tenders, countless defensive errors and ugly goals.  You almost felt sorry for Curtis Joseph after Jeff Carter cruised in for an easy breakaway goal and the camera panned to a thoroughly annoyed Ron Wilson.  The Leafs would attempt a comeback of sorts after going down by six goals, but even with the best efforts of Martin Biron, it all went for naught.

    Here are some notes from this Friday night fright:

    -Chris Hanson made his NHL debut tonight, accompanied by more media Slapshot references than you would have thought possible.  True to his modus operandi, Ron Wilson gave the kid full leash, letting him strut his stuff for over seventeen minutes.  Hanson looked tentative out there at first, especially in the offensive zone.  He seemed to know his way around his own end of the ice though, even throwing in a blocked shot.  Hanson got more comfortable as the game went on, and was involved in some crease battles on a Leafs powerplay later in the game.  Couple this with the recent signing of Tyler Bozak and you have to give Brian Burke credit for doing whatever he can to ensure fresh blood is brought into this organization through any means possible.  To say this is a refreshing sign of life from Leafs management is a massive understatement.

    -You had to know that after getting trounced by the supposedly beatable Leafs on Wednesday that the Flyers would be itching for some payback on this Friday redo.  Couple that with strong words from Holmgren and you had to be prompted to utter a few prayers for Martin Gerber’s sake.  Philadelphia put on a clinic in the first period of the dominance you can achieve with the right combination of size, skill, and grit.  They harassed the Toronto players and came out on top of puck battles in the corner.  This was coupled with some pretty passing and slick shots.  Aided in part by no notable presence in the Leafs‘ net.

    -Ironically, Philadelphia followed this up with two periods of the shaky hockey you can expect if you have size, skill and grit backed up by absolutely horrible goaltending.  Midget-level defensive play was in abundance as Toronto outscored the Flyers 5-3 over the final two frames.  Claude Giroux was also the perfect exemplar of skilled offensive rookies that have yet to properly learn the defensive side of the NHL game, as he was on the ice for four goals against.

    As was mentioned after Wednesday’s game, Philadelphia is a solid example of the NHL rebuild.  Leaf fans should cross their fingers and hope that we look something like this in the near future.  Yes, bad games included.  Those head-shakers are symptomatic of a still-young team that is learning what it takes to play a complete game in this league.  Soon enough, Claude Giroux will not be making those defensive gaffes.  Jeff Carter will continue to shine offensively.  Mike Richards will be a dominant two-way player.  We can only hope that we will soon say similar things about young studs wearing the blue-and-white.

    As always, interested to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Nik

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