Game In 10: Game 20, Leafs vs. Capitals
Who could have expected this? Come on now, be honest. Reimer, Armstrong, Grabovski, MacArthur, Lombardi and Komisarek all missing from the lineup, yet we do this to a team that is pegged for Stanley Cup glory? Sure, they are also in a midst of a crisis, but come on. This was a wonderful night on which every Leafs fan could simply enjoy hockey.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 11-7-2 on a night where we had seven different goalscorers.
2 â€“ An epic dive by Semin, which made Hughson and Simpson feel at home (a Canucks game). Very good jump in the first period, the team skated well, pressured the zone and got shots off. There was one shift where Kessel schooled pretty much every Washington player on the ice. Exciting hockey by the Leafs.
3 â€“ Tim Connolly reads the turnover like a hockey scholar and expertly snipes it off the pipe. Immediately after, Caps tied it. The puck takes a double deflection from both of our defensemen and fools Gustavsson. Just a bad luck play.
4 â€“ Great feed by Colborne and Frattin shows off his NHL quality shot. Snipe! This game showed the reason why heâ€™s getting time with the big club. Simple yet very effective game from Matty. Congratulations on the first goal in the big league.
5 â€“ At the start of the second period Hendricks got a retaliation penalty and a â€œyou want to sit?â€ stare from Boudreau. After all youâ€™re not Ovechâ€¦oh. Anyways, a tic-tac-toe play featuring the captain and just like that Bozak puts our boys two up!
6 â€“ Lupul to Bozak to Kessel did you see that!? What a play. Probably one of the best team goals the Leafs have scored in a long while. Pretty, oh so pretty.
7 â€“ Goals just kept coming. First Lupul redirects one to put the Leafs in total control of the game with a score of 5-1, and then after a missed 5 on 3 opportunity Franson blasts a bomb on a 5 on 4 PP. Somebody pinch meeeeeeeeeeee! 6-1 Leafs, Fransonâ€™s first as a Leaf. Lupul had a 4 point night and has climbed the scoring charts. Silly stuff from which dreams are made of.
8 â€“ Special teams worked. 18 out of the last 20 penalties killed. Sure, Washingtonâ€™s PP is really struggling (0 for 22) without Green, but do we care? No, no we donâ€™t. The team scored powerplay goals in all 3 most recent games and we’re currently 7th in the league in PP%.
9 â€“ Jonas Gustavsson played really well, his rebound control was much better and that finally resulted in a solid game. However, you have to have goal support; the team has to battle in front of you. Combine the two together and you have a good defensive performance. 40 straight saves in this one!
10 â€“ We played the right way. I donâ€™t care about Washingtonâ€™s crisis, Ovechkin woes, Boudreauâ€™s refrigerator, etc. All I care about is the fact our players had drive and desire tonight. You could see it right from the opening puck drop and it continued to show its beautiful face in every battle for the puck, every backcheck. This is how we have to play. The added bonus of this win is team bonding, player development (Colborne, Frattin contributing in a big way) and getting some much needed confidence (Gustavsson, Franson). This win could have a massive impact on the season.