With Pittsburgh missing Crosby, Staal, Michalek and Kennedy the Leafs knew they were in for a game of grinding it out. The team was well prepared to do just that against a team that tested us, then tested us some more. But the two points remained in TO.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 7-2-1 and thatâ€™s actually pretty sweet.
2 â€“ Another slow start by the Leafs caused a lopsided shot total in the first period. Lots of bad passing as the Penguins did a good job of clogging the neutral zone. 12-7 shots on goal means we need to start playing from the puck drop.
3 â€“ With 11 minutes in the first period Mats Sundin received a long and well deserved ovation â€“ I almost cried. And then almost didnâ€™t. Seriously though, so glad the Leafs Nation gave props to one of our greatest players. I love Mats, my favorite Leaf ever.
4 â€“ Great play on the powerplay to set up a good tip from Grabo for a 1-0 lead. MacArthur pulls it back for Dion, who blasts it and Grabo gets his stick on it. Until that play the Penguins had killed 22 straight PP opportunities which makes the goal even more special. To be fair, the Pens were missing their best penalty killer, Jordan Staal, but that doesnâ€™t make them any less welcome.
6 â€“ 4th line grinding it out and making a difference. Dupis, Steckel and Brown are really making a difference out there. Forechecking like crazy.
7 â€“ I think Gus was very good tonight, but to be completely honest it was another polarizing game. On one side, he made a LOT of great saves. And by great I mean great. For example, that HUGE glove save on Sullivan was one of the saves of the year so far. He also handled the puck extremely well tonight. On the other side, Gustavssonâ€™s puck tracking was all over the place (in a bad way), rebound control could have been better and he was caught out of position a couple of times after making that crucial first save. Still, the saves that count most are the game savers and another very good win for the Monster â€“ it is officially ok to start calling him that again.
8 â€“ Alec mentioned a quick note on the PK â€“ We give the opponent the keys to the front of the net and focus almost solely on shot blocking. Getting almost completely reliant on shot blocking instead of good PK structure. If the shot goes through, the Kunitz goal happens.
9 â€“ Phaneufâ€™s effort on our third goal was something that was worth pointing a finger at Calgary and laughing wholeheartedly. 11 points in 10 games for the Captain. And say it with me – Phil Kessel superstar. Talk about your best players being your best players; hell, I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest they’re playing like the best players in the league at their respective positions. Also, Tim Connolly is helpful. Given his first two games for the club, and provided he stays healthy he could be a lot more than just helpful. Dishing out beautiful saucer passes all night long.
10 â€“ Donâ€™t look now, but I think we can start calling our boys a good hockey team. About time.