Game In 10: Game 24, Leafs vs. Ducks

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    A game with trade written all over it. Jake Gardiner, Joffrey Lupul, Francois Beauchemin, JS Gigu… oh. Well, trade written all over it. Grabo was back and that’s all we needed to put a smile on our faces. Gunnar was out and that’s enough to keep any Leafs fan worried. Oh, the injuries! Remember, nothing comes easy to a Leafs fan. And we like it that way. Curious reunion with Niklas Hagman made us think of Calgary. Heh Calgary.

    1 – The Leafs are 14-8-2, exciting times people! We are for real, nobody can question it anymore.

    2 – Our boys started full speed right from the first puck drop and had a couple of early chances. However, after our powerplay got shut down, the Ducks got one of their own and Francois Beauchemin scored to make it 1-0 Ducks. Yawn. Tell me you didn’t expect this?

    3 – What a play by Lupul, Liles and Bozak in front of the net on our second powerplay. Bozak now has 11 points in 10 games since being moved to the top line. Yeah, you can say Lupul and Kessel will do that to you, but he’s working hard and deserves everything he is getting right now.

    4 – Immediately after, we take the lead from a bad turnover by Lydman. MacArthur goes top shelf and makes it 2-1 Leafs. Connolly keeps producing, 12 points in 12 games now.

    5 – Great work on the forecheck, good cycle (everything we’ve been missing), and a good saucer pass by Colborne to Schenn, who fires it on net and Crabb is there once more for the redirect! Boom!

    6 – Lupul has points in six consecutive games and there was no chance he wasn’t getting one tonight. Got to even out Beauchemin. In fact he got two.

    7 – Fantastic work by Bozak on his second goal. Wonderful defensively, leading the rush and burying the rebound off a Kessel shot on a sweet backhand. Hopefully, this gets him the credit he deserves. He seems a lot more confident and purposeful, like he knows exactly what he’s going to do with the puck this year.

    8 – The Ducks are the only franchise Kessel hasn’t scored against having played them five times now. He did get a point though. His consistency this year has been amazing. Corey Perry scored on an epic snipe after some questionable defensive work by the Leafs but it was still one hell of a shot.

    9 – 1/4 PP 1/2 PK – But what’s important is when our special teams came up big. Opportune times indeed. Big PP goal to even it up, big PK late in the game to preserve the lead. Gustavsson continued his solid play. Luke Schenn got a smile late with an empty net goal, Kulemin with the helper.

    10 – The Leafs pressured the Ducks with a strong forecheck, getting a cycle going. That was missing at the start of the season and is a big reason why this team is doing much better. Also, our transition game (cleaner, crisp passes out of the zone and through the neutral zone) makes us a vastly superior team because we are built on speed. That speed is effective only if we have a good transition game, which is exactly what we have right now. Again, I will credit Wilson for a) our play despite the injuries b) major improvement in one if not two aspects of special teams play and c) a major improvement in our defensive play and transition game.

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