Game In 10: Game 16, Leafs at Blues

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    On a night where the coaching staff virtually put all our hopes (until Reimer comes back) in the hands of a rookie rather than our backup netminder, things seemed rather bleak. However, the outcome proved quite to the contrary as Scrivens was the key to a big win tonight. The Leafs needed this one.

    1 – The Leafs are 10-5-1 and some progress was made tonight. The win is sweet, but the Blues once again showed us we need to keep working on a lot of stuff.

    2 – We didn’t look good early, got beaten along the boards, made bad zone entries, and had little presence in the offensive zone. All that changed as the period moved along.

    3 – Hitchcock put pressure in the neutral zone as a response to our big number of turnovers in that area of the ice. It worked early as almost all the chances the Blues created in the first came from our turnovers in the neutral zone. However, the Leafs found rhythm later in the period and ended up outchancing and outscoring the Blues by the end of the first. Our three powerplays didn’t help their cause either.

    4 – JM Liles was left wide open on the PP, he calmly kicked the puck to his stick and scored a pretty good stick side low shot on Jaroslav Halak.

    5 – Phil Kessel scored our 2nd PP goal of the period after Halak failed to control the rebound in front. He is in some form this guy. On a side note, the refs let a LOT go (the Blues benefited more). The second period wasn’t as much about the Blues pressuring the neutral zone as it was them outworking us along the boards and down low.

    6 – Our penalty kill worked until it didn’t. It took the second zone entry on their 2nd powerplay and just like that the Blues cut the lead to 1. Still, a big kill towards the end of the period and another huge one at the end of the third so I’d say we can’t complain.

    7 – I rarely talk about the opposing players in my Game In 10s but man, Alex Pietrangelo is such a good defenseman already. He’s also an example of a player that was patiently and properly developed. Back to the Leafs, we were really good in the faceoff circle. Bozak was particularly impressive winning 12 out of 15. A ton of shots blocked, as well.

    8 – What a pokecheck by Scrivens early in the 2nd period, he looked like a fisherman throwing a line, ssssssssswhish (that’s the sound of a fisherman throwing a line). He also made a GIGANTIC save on Steen, who seemed to have a wide open net. Then he stymied Backes up close. A really big game by the kid in a high pressure situation. The Scrivenator? Oh yeah.

    9 – A surprisingly efficient defense tonight. Not saying it was picture perfect but a lot of good sticks, the D played the body, some solid defensive coverage. When present, backchecking was also a big factor. But, their forecheck created big problems for us in the third period and we spend most of it stuck in our own zone without a hope of getting out.

    10 – Even though we played better defensively, we still allowed the Blues to pressure in our zone and get a big number of shots in (30-8 in the Blues’ favour in the 2nd and 3rd periods). Without Connolly, Armstrong and Reimer I’m guessing we should take the win and the positives that go with it, learn from our mistakes and keep grinding it out.