A Leafs win and a Jets loss would mean the Leafs are officially post-season bound. Oh my god, it’s been so long I don’t remember how to feel. What boggles my mind is how many Leafs fans weren’t even 10 years old when it happened. God, that makes a man in his 30s feel old. Let’s see what happens…
1. LUPULLLLLLLLLL is back!!!! Aka: Captain CORSI. I can only assume he will score 2-4 goals in the first 10 minutes or something. Some say I’m a realist…..
2. The Leafs played a reasonably solid first road period. Not a lot of offensive chances generated, but they kept the very hot Caps mostly to the outside in the defensive zone, beating them to most pucks and making efficient zone exits and good transition. The lone goal for the Caps was on a deflection off Kadri’s stick when the Leafs got into a bit of trouble on coverage. Things pretty much go downhill fast from there.
3. Emotions started to run high when Jay McClement checked Backstrom into the boards on more of an awkward fall than anything.. Ovechkin went nuts. This Ovechkin guy trying to take on our superstar penalty killer better watch out. We don’t need goons like him hurting our best players. McClement later fought Chimera as the Caps send out yet another useless player to try and hurt our star. Jay McClement is your daddy. This is a recording.
4. Leafs were killed in the faceoff dot in the first two periods. This really hurt their ability to maintain possession in the offensive zone for the first 50 minutes. Bozak, who takes a huge share of the offensive zone faceoffs, was only at 17% in the dot after 2. Amazingly enough, he finished the game at 56% and Kadri at 64%.
5. The Leafs PK hasn’t let in a goal in the last 8,500 minutes shorthanded. Probably. I didn’t look that number up or anything, but I know I’m pretty close. Q: So if the PK is as good tonight as it has been with Reimer in net, does that mean it’s not all about Reimer, or is Scrivens just as good as Reimer? A: I guess not. (Things did not end well). Caps ended up 2 for 5 on the PP.
6. The Caps put the pressure on hard in the 2nd period while the Leafs looked a little gassed. The Caps were all over Toronto in this period, up 3-0 and getting odd man rushes all over the place. This Caps team looks like it’s had a brain, heart and leg transplant since the Leafs last faced them. Completely different team that appears to be back to contender status. They seem to have found a solid balance of skill & grit. Looks like health and a re-inspired Ovechkin can do that to you. Granted, destroying the Southeast division isn’t exactly something you should get a gold badge for, it’s like beating up a bunch of niners in high school. Chris Rock would say, “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BEAT UP ON THE SOUTHEAST DIVISION!!” The Leafs ended the 2nd period down 4-0.
7. Carlyle shuffled lines on forward and defense in an attempt to balance things out against the Caps attack. Lupul moved up to Kessel’s line, JVR was on a line with Grabbo and Kulemin, and Kadri was with Komarov and McClement. Defense pairings were changing by the shift. Carlyle was desperate to get Phaneuf out against Ovechkin but not able to get the matchup. Oates and staff did a great job keeping him away from Dion all game long. The Leafs lines shuffling was all over the place the rest of the night.
8. The Leafs maintained better possession in the offensive zone to start the 3rd, mostly by working the boards. I think Carlyle gave them some bacon in the intermission (bacon fixes everything). Grabbo got a goal on a deflection in front, gaining some momentum, but some not-so-great penalties from Komarov and Scrivens negate the chance to apply more pressure to the Caps, and it’s 5-1 Caps off a crazy back board bounce on the power play.
9. The Leafs look like maybe they could use this type of game – a smack in the face from a team on a big time roll and playing a very strong game. Back-to-back games are tough but can’t be used as an excuse to play one period like they did vs. NJ last night. Toronto has bounced back from a lot of adversity this year so this game likely goes a long way towards a wake up call for the final stretch. They cannot be flat for extended periods and still win; they’re not that good.
10. I had like ten Corsi jokes prepared for this one and the Leafs RUINED IT by not winning. Blame everything on Lupul and his bad Corsi or something. (inside MLHS joke: any of you guys want to pet my cat?)
In the end, forget about this one and move on to the next one. Remember: bacon (and Reimer) fixes everything.