This might have been as close as the Leafs will get to a playoff game this year, but even having that playoff atmosphere in the air, that compete level on the ice and a great crowd at the Joe made this game worth watching. Continue.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 34-32-10 in a game where the second period lasted 17 minutes and 59 seconds. Howard was confused, but Reimer set him straight.
2 â€“ Playoff atmosphere at the Joe reminded me of that 1993 Game 7 of the series and Nikolai Borschevskyâ€™s game winning goal. Didnâ€™t watch that game live, but the tape is still one of my most prized hockey possessions. Games like tonight make me proud to be a Leafs fan. Go Leafs Go chants were heard and appreciated by every member of Leafs Nation; good job fans! This is why you play Detroit more often.
3 â€“ Detroit created pressure early and Holmstrom was down early, a veteran ref like Bill McCreary should know that Holmer loves his ice. Dâ€™oh! Seems that standing in front of the net does wonders for his balance. In other news, Niklas Lidstrom is very good.
4 â€“ I hate coming down on guys like this, but it has to be said â€“ Brett Lebda was a mistake. I understand what Ron Wilson tried to do tonight, the whole he has something to prove concept, but the only thing he proved is that for some reason itâ€™s not working out here. I know he played some solid minutes for the Red Wings but his play this season has been nothing short of disastrous.
5 â€“ Nazem Kadri snipes one glove side low on Howard, call me a bust will ya!? My mantra for today was: â€œIf Kadri can play well tonight, against this Detroit team, it will be a significant sign of player progressionâ€ â€“ what does the kid do? He played really well, not only that, he played well defensively.
6 â€“ Good to know that our PP isnâ€™t going to improve in major games. Why? Because this way weâ€™ll be 100% certain that our man advantage play was just plain bad, it really couldnâ€™t improve and therefore I can take some solace in knowing it couldnâ€™t have possibly helped our playoff cause â€“ it was bad with Kaberle it is worse with Lebda and Iâ€™ll just stop getting excited for PPs this season. PK? 0/2 tonight. â€œSpecialâ€ teams might actually be a good way to describe it.
7 â€“ I didnâ€™t see much wrong in that Boyce hit on Rafalski. The knee went in, but it went in after the top body contact so it actually slowed down. Of course, Rafalski didnâ€™t think so and Boyce went with Abdelkader who got the takedown, but Boyce held his own in a relatively even bout.
8 â€“ Joffrey Lupul with a great move while flat on the ice, corrals the puck and puts in behind Howard. Goalie interference? Lupul made an attempt to avoid contact and Draper clearly pushed him in so I donâ€™t think so.
9 â€“ Other teams are really getting on my nerves. Yes you Buffalo, why canâ€™t you lose? And no, donâ€™t tell me youâ€™re good because Iâ€™m not buying it. At least Carolina lost, but ninth gets you nowhere.
10 â€“ The â€œhow they lost tonightâ€ matters more than the fact they lost tonight. I have to say Iâ€™m really proud of this team for the effort they put in, the ride they took us on and keep taking us on. This is how you build a winning team, efforts like tonight show what the team is made of. Like every successful team, you have to lose to win. Itâ€™s called learning. And right now, learning is losing to the Detroit Red Wings. No shame in that.