Game In 10 – Game 78
On a night where Boston was looking to clinch the division title, and the Leafs had to preserve their mathematical playoff hopes, you could cut the pressure in the air with a butter knife.Â This is how this team handled that pressure, do continue.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 36-32-10 and we should be really happy with this team after tonight. Special performance.
2 â€“ Tomas Kaberle scored for the Leafs. Nice to see him helping the Leafs make the playoffs, good to know where his loyalty resides. Status of operation â€œRosy Cheeksâ€: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Agent 15, return to base, I repeat, return to base, extraction location: NHL Free Agency.
3 â€“ I didnâ€™t like the special team battle against the Bruins and just when I thought our PP couldnâ€™t get any worse, Brad Marchand breaks in shorthanded, protects the pucks with ease and scores top shelf on Reimer. Not only that but it kills any momentum we had up until that point and the Bruins score another one just 59 seconds after. This is the chaos that a bad PP can wreak.
4 â€“ Point three said a lot, but point four says a lot more, a tic tac toe play ending up with Kessel feeding Lupul on the PP and finally the Leafs scored that elusive man advantage goal. Now, I am in no way saying that this redeems our catastrophic powerplay but I like the response after getting scored on twice in that 59 second span. That response was soon to be negated, but we enjoyed a full minute and 25 seconds of being tied.
5 â€“ Jay Rosehill fought Milan Lucic, both guys held their own in one of the best fights of the year, the zebras let them go as long as they wanted, and they wanted to go long. Looked like a boxing match at times, with the two separating and just throwing â€˜em.
6 â€“ Stats somewhat skew the picture on Reimer tonight, (if youâ€™d call a .921 SP and 35 saves on the night bad). Yes, we might fault him for that 3rd Bruins goal but Iâ€™d argue he had no chance on the first two. The first goal was a breakaway from Marchand and the second one can be attributed more to Komisarek not covering his man on the play. One thing I liked was him picking his game up after letting in that third goal. Mental makeup is everything. I donâ€™t even have to mention his winning saves late in the game, OT and shootout.
7 â€“ I have a feeling Lupulâ€™s value (not money wise because thatâ€™s already inflated) will skyrocket after a full season of top six minutes and being an in form, fully healed player. His shot is great, he is a good forechecker and has decent size. Not to mention heâ€™s more than eager to prove he deserved a better chance in Anaheim. He got one in Toronto and I couldnâ€™t be happier for the guy and for this team. Cap hit aside, if he keeps playing like this we basically got a top six winger whoâ€™ll probably feature on the top line plus Jake Gardiner and a conditional pick for Francois Beauchemin.
8 â€“ The two way play of Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri should be bringing a smile to every Leafs fanâ€™s face right about now. It may not be fantastic but itâ€™s miles better than it used to be. Offensive side was never really in question but the clutch factor of Nazemâ€™s buttery hands is a pleasant surprise.
9 â€“ Our best defensemen tonight? Keith Aulie (Burkeâ€™s home run kid) and Luke Schenn who was a +1 with 1 goal and 1 assist. Defensive future sure is bright. Major props to Tim Brent for that HUGE shot block at the end of OT.
10 â€“ This Leafs team has something special. Itâ€™s called â€œWe donâ€™t quit!â€ And why should they? The mentality has changed, they are young, they are growing together as players and most importantly, they are having fun playing, creating an identity for this team and making us proud at the same time. I love this team, so should every Leafs fan.