Game In 10: Game 18, Leafs vs. Coyotes

Game In 10: Game 18, Leafs vs. Coyotes

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    On a day with plenty of Leafs goalie rumors, Ben Scrivens started yet another game for the big club. This was the first and only meeting of the two teams and the Leafs battled back in a big way. A highly polarized game filled with extreme high points and extreme low points for our beloved Leafs.

    1 – The Leafs are 10-6-2.

    2 – Ugly first goal for the Coyotes after Dion tripped over the blueline (or an invisible Habs leprechaun otherwise known as Brian Gionta) and lost the puck. That created a two on one and Doan makes no mistake.

    3 – Great play by Kessel in the first, where he skated circles around the Phoenix defense and set up Bozak. Don’t you just love it when he hits the blueline with the puck on his stick, you know he’s gone and it gets you out of your seat? I sure do. Kessel is soooooo good this year. Defense, offense he has it all this year. A much improved player. He was a beast tonight.

    4 – The 2nd Phoenix goal was on Scrivens no matter how you look at it. Mistake on the puckhandling part and then couldn’t manage to look around Torres and snag the puck. True, there was a screen, but the shot was way out. He settled down as the game moved along and gave us a chance to come back in it. Made some HUGE saves in overtime.

    5 – Props to Garrett Bauman for this one – Lack of secondary scoring creates more problems than just lack of offense. It creates pressure on the other units. Dion Phaneuf in particular seems to be taking it upon himself to try to make offense at all costs.

    6 – Mike Komisarek scored for the first time in a long time (88 games). Secondary scoring? How about tertiary? No? Clarke MacArthur left the game in the third with an injury as did Grabovski – that is the first glitch in the Matrix, would never happen in the real world.

    7 – Ok, here goes. There was never a point where I advocated a coaching change. I never did. Give Wilson time, give him proper players, etc. Well, as things stand now Wilson didn’t do a good job on improving the team during his tenure here. Sure, one could argue he did good things in terms of player development (Grabo, Kuli, Kessel defensively) but the lack of special team success, something that hasn’t improved with improved talent, and his lack of coaching adaptability to the team’s makeup creates more problems than it currently solves.

    8 – One can argue that most of the actual on ice improvement was made by Burke simply by getting better players. But even with that added talent our PP hasn’t improved. Even with the addition of Steckel and other better penalty killers, our PK is still defective. This same run and gun style that comes at the expense of any semblance of defensive structure has made us a consistently bad defensive team despite a solid blueline outlook on paper.

    9 – Goaltending solves many coaching problems, I’ll give him that. And during his tenure here Wilson hasn’t really had that. However, our transition game isn’t bad because of goaltending, our PP isn’t ineffective because of goaltending, the inability to create sustained pressure in the zone isn’t down to goaltending and goaltending doesn’t create missed coverage in the defensive zone. I think I’d like Ron Wilson as a person – he’s a likable guy when not talking to reporters and I tried to give him every benefit of the doubt – but this time I am indeed leaning towards a new coach. Given our record, Wilson will still have time to prove me wrong. I truly hope he does it.

    10 – I’m extremely proud of how this team played in the 3rd period and overtime. Injuries to Grabo and Mac, big kill with about 5 minutes to go, Scrivens battling back to keep the team in the game and, most importantly, a valuable point. Now, why the hell can’t we play a full 60 minutes with such an effort?

    Hi there, I'm Mislav, a hockey writer from Croatia. My weird hockey journey includes the Maple Leafs Hot Stove, covering the Kontinental Hockey League as a Managing Editor at KHL.hr and doing a piece for the Hockey News that one time. This is me on hockey and stuff in between. Enjoy your stay!

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