Post Game: Leafs 4 at Canadiens 3

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It’s October and hockey is back. With it comes the unparalleled rush of seeing your team beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Unfortunately, it also comes hand in hand with whistle-happy refs, clueless CBC commentators and a surplus of scraps. With their speed, pugilism and offensive prowess on full display, this looks like it will be another exciting year for the Maple Leafs.

Some notes from this Tuesday night throwdown:

-The Leafs first goal was a result of some interesting movement of both puck and bodies on the powerplay. JVR ended up with the goal on a pass that snuck through Price’s five hole, but the space down low was there for Bozak on the other side of the net as well. With a ridiculous amount of looks on the powerplay for Toronto, it’s pretty clear the team is adjusting to some strategical changes with the man advantage. Luckily, the units are virtually intact from last year and the residual chemistry was evident on a number of occasions.

-Montreal’s first tally capitalized on the disarray of the Gardiner-Ranger pairing, which was maybe the shakiest part of a shaky opening twenty for the Leafs. On a few occasions, Gardiner lost his footing or Ranger misplayed a puck. It’s just one game and both players are in personal situations that probably ratcheted up the nerves of the two talented defenders. For Gardiner, he knows he has to prove himself this season, especially with Randy Carlyle’s critical eye focused directly on him. With Ranger, this is his first NHL game after a lengthy personal leave. No judgement here, as they both settled down noticeably as the game went on despite a shorthanded goal against late in the third.

-This is the Northeast Atlantic Division, and it has seen teams directly respond to the arms race that the Bruins and the Leafs have fueled in recent years. With enforcers on most teams in the division, tonight went (almost) as expected. Orr fought Parros (and took a rare loss), Fraser tussled with Moen , Ashton dropped them with Tinordi. Then, in a moment nobody wants to see, Orr and the ice took out Parros. With the excitement of the first three bouts fresh in everyone’s mind, this incident was a testament to the fine line between entertainment and endangerment that is the heart of the ongoing “fighting controversy” in this sport.

-Carter Ashton looked great in the preseason, but Troy Bodie trotted out his many years of NHL experience in an impressive showing on the night. He used his (surprising) speed and large frame to take the puck directly to the net a number of times. He also threw some hits and played a hard, simple game that probably has Carlyle wishing Troy was his son-in-law. Due to both age and cap implications, Bodie may be the one that sticks around instead of Ashton when bodies begin returning to the lineup.

-After Phaneuf authoritatively sniped the tying goal courtesy of a Kadri feed, Bozak gave the Leafs the lead with a shorthanded marker as the period was coming to a close. This was the accentuating point in a standout night by the Toronto penalty killers. An elite penalty kill was a boon to this club in last season’s shortened campaign, with some questioning the team’s ability to continue this success. So far, so good.

-Mason Raymond notched the fourth goal of the night after creating offense using his speed (you’ll hear that one often with the former Canuck). One overlooked facet of Raymond’s play this season is his transition to the Eastern Conference. In recent years, a free-flowing tilt like tonight’s match has been a very rare event in the tighter confines of the Western Conference. In part due to this difference, Raymond has been able to open up the ice with his speed and control the play with consistency and to good effect. A late-game checking combination of McClement-Bolland-Raymond was thrown over the boards as well – an indication of Carlyle’s growing trust in the speedster.

Taking the season opener on the road in Montreal is always a good feeling. That being said, it’s just one game, so don’t plan the parade yet (Leiweke’s got that covered). All in all, it’s great that hockey is back with a young Maple Leafs team that looks eager to improve on their strong work from a year ago. Toronto will be right back at it tomorrow night in Philadelphia, with Jonathan Bernier having the chance to best Reimer’s (characteristically solid) performance tonight.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Great post-game, Nikhil.  Agreed that Ashton needs to kick it up a notch if he intends to stick.  Liking Raymond’s game a LOT!!
    Onwards to Philly….
    **bubble**bubble**bubble**

  • MollySweats

    James Greensmith ‏@Majer_Raver https://twitter.com/Majer_Raver/status/385222866783854592
    Parros must be used to the softer ice in Anaheim and Florida…https://twitter.com/search?q=%23toosoon&src=hash

  • MLHS_Luke

    Heave Away!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdhdC0Mbqak

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    MLHS_Luke 
    Nice pics!!

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    I liked that Orr waved the medics / trainers over after Parros hit the ice.  Honor among tough guys.

  • B_Leaf

    Wow, what a game!
    Franson, Fraser, Phaneuf, and Reimer were rock solid.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Gunnar and Ranger did not impress much tonight (perhaps it’s just me though).

  • DJBrianBurke

    Leafs win, Habs now know they’re not as tough as they thought they were. All is right with the universe.

  • GreekGod

    Phaneuf had his moments I found. 
    But boy do I hate prust. diving around and then looking to pick a fight with Fraser when he knows the refs would step in. Announcer was right, Prust could have picked that fight in the corner and not near the benches. So glad he’s a Hab… looking forward to seeing his ass getting kicked on a regular basis

  • Burtonboy

    MollySweats Really…..thats a bit gras

  • MLHS_Luke

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan During one of the PP’s Carlyle had Ranger out on the first pp unit…a pretty solid WTF moment there..

  • B_Leaf

    Raymond had a solid first game too.

  • DJBrianBurke

    GreekGod Healy was right, for once lol Prust totally dove on that second hit, it was quite sad to see it.

  • LeafsForLife

    1-1 for the Jets.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    dubnyk is shit

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fanhttps://twitter.com/reporterchrishttps://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/385228122175832064
    Colton Orr: “Scary situation. I just hope he’s alright.”

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    ingy56 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    True tough guys respect one another.  I like that.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan He saw up close how bad it was.Glad to see him do it too. Wouldn’t be much of a human being if he didn’t.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    DJBrianBurke Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Scott wouldn’t.  He’d laugh.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan DJBrianBurke scott would be too busy trying to fight Gionta

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan ingy56 Pretty sure Parros said much the same when Orr was injured.

  • B_Leaf

    How many think Rielly plays tomorrow? 
    If so who sits?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    MLHS_Luke love this tune! always brings back good times

  • GreekGod

    B_Leaf 
    Ranger

  • rustynail

    B_Leaf Jake

  • B_Leaf

    Gilbey93 
    Fraser was a beast

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Gilbey93 Dangle_My_Berries impossible angle, kid should have challenged more, sheiifelle (sp) on a sharp angle

  • Jmessih

    One of the best moments of the game…..Bodie running over Danny Briere, very solid, clean hit. Loved it!

  • Cameron19

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I only saw the last half of the game, and I thought Gunnar was playing well.  Making quick, and good decisions.  But he’s never really a stand-out – and that’s his job.  Did not like what I saw from Ranger.  Also didn’t like him on the PP.

  • B_Leaf

    Price made some dandy saves tonight

  • KenBreadner

    This opinion is definitely in the minority here, and I’ll be dismissed as a wuss, but there was one point in the aftermath of Parros where one of the CBC heads said something like “it’s all wildly entertaining until something like this happens.” I cringed. No. No it’s not. It’s not wildly entertaining *because* things like that happen. I don’t know when it was that “consequence” became a dirty word, but it (sadly) is.

  • Cameron19

    rustynail B_Leaf Which will be so stupid.  Gardiner needs to get some support for a change.  Elliot is right, you can see the resolution to this coming a mile away.

  • Leafbites

    rustynail B_Leaf I think you’re being too critical, Rusty, he broke up a lot of plays tonight and moved the puck as efficient as any of the defenders.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Cameron19 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Gunnar made a boneheaded move with the puch while behind his own net in the first period…had a Hab skating hard towards him…and Gunnar turned away from him almost being run over and had the puck stripped.

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIChttps://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/385230018952966144
    Canadiens announce concussion for Parros. Undergoing more tests…alert and conscious, Thank God.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Burtonboy MollySweats thats in poor taste

  • GreekGod

    Gilbey93 B_Leaf 
    Funny you can say the same thing about Ranger. Dude made a lot of mistakes and was responsible for the first goal. At least Jake is dangerous and you can tell he’s holding back on jumping in the rush now.

  • Cameron19

    Gilbey93 Cameron19 rustynail B_Leaf I didn’t see enough of the game to say.  Going to rewatch it tomorrow afternoon.  Too tired tonight.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    ingy56 Great news!

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Cameron19 rustynail B_Leaf 
    What exactly did Elliot say??

  • wiski

    Leafbites rustynail B_Leaf Ph9 was a bone head to start the game, made up for it with a goal

  • Cameron19

    B_Leaf You mean Dion ‘the piece of shit’ Phaneuf?

  • MLHS_Luke

    Cameron19 rustynail B_Leaf I must have missed something – what is the resolution, trading Gardiner?

  • B_Leaf

    Cameron19 Gilbey93 rustynail B_Leaf 
    It was a strange game with twists and turns…but overall the Leafs were by far the team with the greater puropose

  • Jmessih

    Gotta say Prust was a little bitch today, waited till Fraser was turned before trying to fight him, then crying to the zebras saying he was injured.

  • Black_Hawk

    Thank god we won.

  • Jmessih

    Gilbey93 Bozak a SHG and a W

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Gilbey93 Will Acton 1 assist

  • Cameron19

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Cameron19 rustynail B_Leaf Elliot basically said he thinks Gardiner will be traded if Carlyle’s anti-Gardiner dialogue continues.  But not before the coach runs his value into the ground, I’m sure…

  • Leafbites

    wiski Leafbites rustynail B_Leaf And Gunnar didn’t exactly look all that stellar on the 2nd goal.