Game In 10: Game 1, Leafs vs. Habs
1 â€“ The Leafs are 1-0-0. Undefeated baby!!!
2 â€“ You don’t boo your coach and your players before the start of the first game of the new season, you just don’t. Of course, it could’ve been Habs fans booing. They tend to do that.
3 â€“ A cautious start (of course, Iâ€™m using cautious instead of extremely sloppy in both ends) which ended up with the boys scrambling in their own zone at the end of the 1st. Reimer worked some magic, even if it was scrambling magic, but the important thing is he kept the puck out of the net under a period of intense pressure. In the end, Optimus Reim made 32 saves for the SHUTOUT (Caps are a bit much but just call me excited and be done with it).
4 â€“ A shorthanded goal by Lombardi signaled his return to the NHL in the best possible way, really glad for the guy. If you could pick the way to get back into the swing of things, this would probably be it.
5 â€“ Iâ€™m thinking â€œSteckelâ€ is going to become a favorite swear word among the opposition this year. He might not be fast, but if you win possession of the puck, skating isnâ€™t an issue. It doesnâ€™t hurt to have an albatross-like reach. He went .720 in the faceoff circle with 25 (mostly defensive zone) draws taken. Impressive.
6 â€“ While the penalty kill looked much better, the PP was still the same mess, although thatâ€™s to be expected as the team didnâ€™t have much time to work on it. It just verifies what Iâ€™ve always been saying â€“ Along with chemistry, PK is more effort, PP is more skill. 5/5 on the PK.
7 â€“ A laser beam by Phaneuf after a great heads up play by Kessel. He made a perfect pass to a trailing Phaneuf who just cannoned it in. Thatâ€™s the kind of offensive start you like to see from Neon Deon.
8 â€“ News bulletin! Komisarek played a good defensive game, I repeat Komi (see how I grew fond of him quickly) played a good defensive game. Weâ€™ll still need convincing but this really looked much better. A good effort on the PK and he didnâ€™t get caught out of position too many times by much faster Montreal forwards. Solid, solid game.
9 â€“ Matt Frattin looked good in the USSR. Simple, smart plays. So did Kuli and Grabovski, as they should since it is their homeland. Basically, it was what weâ€™re used to; crisp passes, good cycles and grade A effort.
10a) â€“ Phil Kessel played the type of complete game Wilson and Burke were talking about at the end of last season, supporting the defence on numerous occasions.
10b) – I know we started well last year and it didn’t exactly mean anything. For now, enjoy this. Go Leafs Go!