Game In 10: Game 53, Leafs vs. Oilers
The Leafs needed to get two points out of a Western Conference team that, besides the last two positive results, isnâ€™t doing that well in this part of the season. Sure, Sam Gagner was in his best stretch of hockey as an NHL player, but even so this was a very beatable team. The Leafs took full advantage of a bad defense.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 28-19-6 and happy birthday Scott Gordon!
2 â€“ After the first faceoff win, the Oilers take the lead not even thirty seconds in. Jordan Eberle shows off good hands in front of the net and puts it in. Not a good start. Gagnerâ€™s butt touched the puck and he gets an assist. Sure, why not? When youâ€™re on fire odds are your butt will be too.
3 â€“ Kessel, Grabo combining for Macâ€™s 17th goal of the season. Great forechecking effort by Kessel and Grabo, Grabovski jumps up and MacArthur drills a shot through Dubnyk to tie the game. You could tell the Oilers tried to take away the neutral zone in the first period, itâ€™s just that theyâ€™re the Oilers so they didnâ€™t really do a good job with it. On the other hand, the Leafs didnâ€™t really play defense in the first period soâ€¦ Yes, Luke, Iâ€™m talking about you, but youâ€™re not the only one.
4 â€“ Grabo shows exactly why heâ€™s the heart and soul of this team with a wonderful rush up ice, avoids Oiler stick checks, circles the net and passes to Gardiner, who puts one past Dubnyk. Donâ€™t trade him unless youâ€™ve arranged a â€œDouble Belarusianâ€. Thatâ€™s where you trade him just to get him back during the summer. Itâ€™s not really called a â€œDouble Belarusianâ€. You can really tell he wants to remain a Leaf. Just a thought about his speed, I think the reason weâ€™re noticing it much more now isnâ€™t because heâ€™s a faster player but because heâ€™s using his speed better and smarter, he knows when to take it to the outside and when to conserve energy and stop up. And/or itâ€™s our improved transition game that makes him hit the blueline with more speed.
5 â€“ I think the Oilers are much happier because they have Hall and Eberle than because they have Sam Gagner. Their give and go on the second Oilersâ€™ goal just proves this point. Logical things are logical. Also, their third one should have counted, just like our one against the Penguins – things even out in this league.
6 â€“ Fantastic play by Connolly, but more importantly Lombardi, who first gets it to Timmy C by banking it off the boards, gets it back and shows tremendous patience until Kessel gets positioned in front of the open net. Immediately after, the Leafs score again. For his size, Barker sure was soft on that play. Bozak takes the puck on the forecheck and then somehow gets around Barker, who (btw) only needed to push him off balance, and scores on a bewildered Dubnyk.
7 â€“ Iâ€™m pleased to officially announce the comeback of the Mac in the USSR. Pretty late with this but hey, canâ€™t a guy wait until heâ€™s 110% sure? Scoring depth is something every playoff contending team must have and now the Leafs have two lines that are producing and drawing coverage. Pick your poison.
8 â€“ Joffrey Lupul scored to make it five after playing catch. Got the puck down and scored. I really liked how Phaneuf and Schenn regrouped and made big plays in the third after a somewhat horrendous first period. Kessel ices the game late with an empty netter. It’s 6!
9 â€“ This was Reimerâ€™s first ever game against the Oilers and he didnâ€™t have great time. However, the only goal we could even think of blaming him for is the Horcoff one and we canâ€™t do that because it was tipped. Be it as it may, Reimer is still awesome as he made some wonderful stops after and prior to that goal.
10 â€“ Improved defense (yeah, not tonight, butâ€¦), and the offense pretty much owns. Weâ€™re a fun team to watch. Bandwagon closed. Waiting list now open.