This was the sixth and final Battle Of Ontario this season, and boy did the Leafs come out firing. Games against Ottawa are never easy (except when we beat them 5-0) and this one proved to be more difficult than it needed to be, but all in all, the run continues, and that’s really all that matters. Continue.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 37-32-10, donâ€™t look now but weâ€™re still in it.
2 â€“ I always love the Leafs Nation invasion of Ottawa, no different tonight. Oh Ottawa, why canâ€™t you get fans? A great first period by the Leafs set the tone for the rest of the game. Good PK, only six shot against, and a period of 4:18 without a shot on net for Ottawa. The first goal was huge since the team is 20-4-6 when scoring first.
3 â€“ Stephane Da Costa becomes the 6th ever French based player to play in the NHL, only the 3rd one in history to be trained in France. Thatâ€™s probably a good thing. I guess a one year Ottawa rebuild means cradle robbing the NCAA programs. The kid didnâ€™t look out of place though.
4 â€“ Phil Kessel absolutely burned Kuba for his 61st point and 30th goal of the year. First Leaf to reach both marks this season. He also never gave up on the play burying the lose puck after Anderson saved the first shot. I love his play of late, better backchecking, good forechecking, better all around effort. Not to mention this is his 3rd 30 goal season, in only his fifth NHL season.
5 â€“ Dion Phaneuf dominated the play at times and I can now maybe, possibly say that he is living up to his hefty $6,500,000 price tag. Around 29 minutes of ice time on average through the last 4 games played by the captain. It also has to be said that much of his success of late is directly related to him playing on the defensive pairing with Keith Aulie.
6 â€“ It looks like Nazem Kadri is going to be just fine. Letâ€™s face it, some kids just need a little longer to develop. If Kadri is producing like this during the most important period of the season one can only imagine what he will be capable of in 2-3 years down the road. He is a +3, with 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, a game winning shootout goal and an around 15 mins of ice time per game in the last 7 games (against the likes of Boston 2x, Minnesota, Detroit, Buffalo etc.) with 19 shots on goal during that stretch (which is a 2.71 shots per game)
7 â€“ By now everyone should be on the Joffrey Lupul love bandwagon, the guy has been on fire of late, 4 goals in his last 6 games. Keep in mind he played his first game of the season on December 5th 2010 because of his injury and had played only 23 games in 2009-2010. Heâ€™s only going to get better. His goal was later changed to Bozak but a huge contribution in this game nonetheless.
8 â€“ James Reimer wasnâ€™t exactly all out brilliant tonight, but he still made 23 saves on 25 shots for the W. Heâ€™s winning games, the team is playing well in front of him, no reason to complain there.
9 â€“ Nikolai Kulemin hit 29 goals late to seal the deal for the Leafs on a great effort by MacArthur, but his own forechecking effort is what actually won the puck in the offensive zone in the first place. What a wonderful season by our best two way forward.
10 â€“ This is by far the most exciting time to be a Leafs fan since the 2003-2004 season, Iâ€™m just enjoying it while at the same time hating on Carolina and Buffalo. How many voodoo doll pins does it take? Weâ€™ll find out.