Home 2013-14 Season Post Game: Leafs 4 at Canadiens 3

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.

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695 comments
wendel_clarkson
wendel_clarkson

Word up Leafers! Man I got smashed at Real Sports last night. What game!

Ok, so when do you guys think we'll see Reilly and who sits when Clarksons back? I say Ashton. Bodies looked good yesterday.

Ratzshite
Ratzshite

@Cameron19

When i mention Reimer or Bernier name for trade it's not because i think one is better than the other or i even want to trade either one of them. I'm saying teams will be asking us what it would take to get either one, not saying we should do it. We have two awesome goalies and teams with crap in net will be jealous we have two and want one.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

There is a new blog up guys 

colino17
colino17

Is it just me or does anyone else think that Ashton looks like Macaulay Culkin? #homealone

Mind Bomb
Mind Bomb

Hmm A few of us are on the New blog, if you guys would like to Join us :)


gilmourhalloffame
gilmourhalloffame

@ Alec Thanks for the opportunity to attend the ScotiaBank hockey live event at Maple Leaf Gardens last night. I had a blast and got to talk to Bower, Sittler, Cujo, Krushelnyski. Kurshelnyski was the funniest last night. I joked with him "why are you wearing an Oilers jersey instead of the Leafs? Leafs didn't let you keep yours?" He laughed and said that's what "they" gave me (the organizers). He stuck around for 5 mins telling me stories and showed me his ring and we had a beer and then got taken away for more pictures. Then he says watch my ring! wear it, take pictures...LOL...he came back like 20 minutes later to grab it.

Uncle Otis
Uncle Otis

Real curious to see how Bernier performs tonight

Smaller goalies always make me nervous..and he's got quite a challenge ahead to beat out a committed and proven Reimer

As long as they can keep peace it's a good problem to have.

.Kong.
.Kong.

I would rather sit Ranger for Rielly tonight, but I don't see that happening.  Rielly seems to better understand (than Gardiner) the fact that it is his defensive play that will allow him to stay, more so than his offensive play.  Not that I want to pick on Gardiner.  He's an unbelievable talent, with huge upside.  He's just trying to do a little too much right now. 

.Kong.
.Kong.

I thought Phaneuf, rather quietly (despite sniping a very nice goal) had a really solid game last night.  Nobody mentioned him, but he was sound positionally all night, physical, and made good smart plays on the PP.

dlb meh
dlb meh

i always liked Parros, never a guy i'd wish anything bad on.  so take this for what it is.  anti-Hab.

the fans were excited when they signed him.  first thing i heard was "can't wait to play Lucic".  Subban taunting Orr like that after having him in a head lock...never would have happened without Parros around.  the GM's reaction after seeing Parros on the ice like that spoke volumes too.

the Habs aren't going to be waltzing into anyone's barn now thinking they're the shit.  they lost the one thing that made them think they could kick everyone's ass now.  say what you will about tough guys, but that one player had an obvious and profound effect on the team.

now, the Habs are as good as their goalie.  they can play a brand of in your face hockey without Parros around, much like how DET doesn't need a Parros, they can get it done so i'm not pretending they're toast.

it's just...this morning, when i came in to work, it wasn't the loss that had the Habs fans' mouths shut tight.  it was not knowing when or if Parros will be back.  and i like anything that shuts their pie holes.

.Kong.
.Kong.

Troy Bodie really impressed me last night.  What a great pickup he was.  RC loves guys like that.  And I'm sure Nonis won't mind either with the Leafs cap situation.

dlb meh
dlb meh

Kessel looked to be engaging physically moreso than in the past considering it was a regular season game.  i've always thought some players, Sundin for instance, try to stay healthy and pick their spots a little.  as long as they step it up when the game is on the line, and in playoffs, i'm fine with that since they can still contribute (and we're better with them in the lineup than on LTR).

i wonder if signing that contract gives Phil reason to not worry about the future so much.  or maybe he's just loving where he is an has grown up and understands what it is to be a winner more and more.  not sure.  i was happy to see him battling some guys out there, without the stick of course.

Dink
Dink

I would have a hard time benching a defenseman at this point, maybe go with 7 D and 11 Forwards tonite (or Saturday)? be less pressure on Reilly

WendelGilmour
WendelGilmour

I would have thought it would be more cheerful in here this morning, Leafs beat the Habs, our best players played like our best players (including Riemer), and tonight we get to see Bernier and maybe Rielly.

darthNihilus
darthNihilus

I wish people would stop shitting on Gardiner. He's a young kid and still has much to learn. He's skating and puck handling are second to none - the mistakes will become less and less frequent as he becomes a complete player. He was outstanding in the playoffs last year so we know what he can do. I would not write him off for a few gafs when he has not had the chance yet to mature. 

On Ranger - it was his first game back after 4 years and he settled down a bit as the game progressed. I think it will take him 10-20 games to readjust to NHL speed and play. Not ready to write him off either. 

Gilbey93
Gilbey93

Gards is the one sitting tonight. Was on the ice for two goals. Both looked to be his fault. The second one can be forgiven, shit happens. But I believe it was him that covered the same guy as Ranger when Ellen was left wide open. Thought ranger was shaken but he did make some nice blocks on PK.

Dink
Dink

Was not impressed with Leaf power-play, actually said wtf a couple times

Ratzshite
Ratzshite

I know it's only one game but if Oiler's goalie Dubnyk doesn't get any better in net it will only be a matter of time before Nonis gets a phone call about Riemer availability.

unfunny
unfunny

@colino17 I've said that for awhile, and just said it to my sister last night.

LightmyLeaf
LightmyLeaf

@.Kong. pimple head PJ shot him down for taking the penalty on Prust - I liked the hit! it was Prust's fault the way he turned, he knew it was coming. Prust crumpled like a cheap suit.

PJ is Mclean's bobblehead...shut the guy up....

Totally agree Phaneuf was great.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@.Kong. 

simple game.  but effective.  if he can keep up the intensity and not get us into penalty trouble he'll stick around when Ashton's sent back i predict.  i still hold my breath when he fights.  Ashton too for that matter.

.Kong.
.Kong.

@dlb eh Agreed.  Perhaps the fight he got in has made him realize he will not wilt and die if he gets hit.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@Dink  That would make the most sense.. that way Reilly can get selective minutes.  

We could have 11 forwards as follows:

JVR, Bozak, Kessel

Lupul, Kadri, Raymond

Kule, Bolland, Bodie

McClement - then who- Ashton or Orr - which one sits.. I think Bodie will not sit.. and we are playing the Flyers so may want Orr so now what???

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Dink 

sometimes when a player sits they can watch and be reminded what they're forgetting to do.

Rielly in for Gardiner might make sense.  Rielly knows he has to be intense.  maybe he can kinda show Gardiner what it takes.  then Gardiner, with his skills, can come back in a new guy.

or not.

Gardiner glides and corners like no one else, but his straightaway speed isn't Karlsson's.  i guess that's how Colbourne managed to beat him in a race?  i wasn't popular when i said Liles was faster a couple years ago ont he backcheck lol.  i don't expect to win any likes now either.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@darthNihilus  Agree on both your points - Gardiner and Ranger...  Just that Carlyle will want to put Reilly in so that means one of those two come out.. doubt Gunnar or Fraser come out for Reilly

dlb meh
dlb meh

@darthNihilus 

not really shitting on him.  Franson established himself last year.  Gardiner has to be the guy who does that this year.  our future doesn't entirely depend on him, it's just that his becoming an elite player would really push us over the top and make us that much closer to a contending team.  so much talent...would be a shame to not know how to put it all together.  my bar is set high for him.

Marlies Man
Marlies Man

@darthNihilus At least he cracked his stick into the boards after the Habs' third goal. Showing some passion.

Dan39
Dan39

@darthNihilus Nobodys writing anyone off - hell, I have a Gardiner jersey. It's just that the kid needs to repeatedly have a phone book taken upside his head by Carlyle until it sinks in that he's got to start being more responsible and better positionally in his own end. he'll get it eventually, and he's going to be great. 

WendelGilmour
WendelGilmour

@darthNihilus Agreed. He has a lot of work to do defensively, but he is young and has the tools. He will be fine.

Archie Vanlanda
Archie Vanlanda

@Gilbey93 I'm pretty sure on that first goal it was actually Ranger out of position covering Gards man. Was tough to tell because it was a bit of a scrambled play.

Dan39
Dan39

@Gilbey93 Ranger looked a bit nervous in his first game but being anywhere near Gardiner would do that to a defenseman I imagine. 

Dink
Dink

@Gilbey93 Ranger will get better and better, no doubt in my mind

JWaterdrager
JWaterdrager

@Dink Wasted a man with Bozaks possition IMO

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

I'm impressed with Raymond finally we have a guy not afraid to shoot at the net

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Dan39 @darthNihilus 

lol

i think it's more about showing some intensity out there.  reading the play and being agressive when he decides to go get a puck or close the distance on a puck carrier.  show some confidence, be hungry to be a dominating player, Jake!

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@JWasted 

Yeah, I sort of agree with that, although they have scored goals out of that weird formation.

Dink
Dink

@LeafsGuru yea 2nd pairing looked far better than 1st pairing

LeafsGuru
LeafsGuru

Way to early for that. Bernier has a lot more to prove than Riemer. FYI I'm a Bernier fan

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Dink @dlb eh @darthNihilus 

if he's feeling pressure then i think that's his problem.  as i tell the kids "think of what you can do, not what you can't".

Ratzshite
Ratzshite

@Cameron19 @LeafsGuru I'm not replacing Reimer mate my statement was we have two awesome goalies and other teams don't even have one awesome goalie. It makes sense other teams with crap in net will be asking about are goalies for trade. I never said we should trade any just we have two good goalies and teams will be jealous of that and want one.

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Cameron19 @wendelsway1 @LeafsGuru Read my comment again.....I wasn't disagreeing with you....nor did I assume you were anti-Bernier.  In fact, I think we agree on our goalie situation for the most part.....two talented young goalies that will push each other all season long and will probably take a season to figure out who our #1 is.  For now, based on last years results and his preseason play, Reims is still our #1 in my eyes.

colino17
colino17

@Cameron19 @LeafsGuru It's probably more that fact that if someone is going to be moved it won't be the guy we just traded for and signed to a 3 year deal. It's more likely to be the guy that is a free agent as season's end.

That said, way way to early to even discuss moving either guy. But eventually that is a bridge we are probably going to have to burn.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Cameron19

"doesn't have single W to his name yet" 

"precious Bernier"

the list goes on and on.  nothing negative, but plenty to make it obvious who you're not rooting for.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@B_Leaf @dlb eh 

i've been a Riemer fan since i first heard of an 18 year old kid who sucked up information like a sponge

i don't care what Riemer gave up last night and like i've said before, he wins.  but if someone wants to wait for Bernier to make a mistake just to say i told you so...i'll just laugh at them.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@dlb eh @B_Leaf 

On the third goal I guess you're thinking he should have been out of the net more?? It was a break away. Anyway he stopped countless shots and deflections from the point. He dealt with traffic and slashes to the neck from Prust and got the win.

The Bernier evaluation begins tonight. I will be fair.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@wendelsway1 @Cameron19 @LeafsGuru Am I stopping anyone from enjoying the tandem? Read my comments instead of just assuming they're anti-Bernier.  Christ, I haven't said a SINGLE word against the kid. 

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Cameron19 @LeafsGuru Reims is looking good and isn't going to slink off into the night because of a little competition....why can't some just enjoy watching two young up and coming goalies?.....both Leafs and both will have their moments....good and bad.....I'm cheering for both of them and hope we end up with a very good tandem, that compliment each other with different styles.  Neither has to look pretty as long as they're keeping pucks out of the net and putting up points.....I'm good   :)

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb eh @B_Leaf Obviously not.  I will defend Bernier from idiotic statements the same way I defend Reimer.  What I won't do is anoint him the next coming based off his puck handling skills. 

dlb meh
dlb meh

@B_Leaf

if he lets in a goal like Riemer's 3rd will he be automatically unworthy?

Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb eh @Cameron19 I think he's proven himself to be an excellent back-up.  Maybe the best back-up in the NHL.  I think he has the potential to be a starter - perhaps even a great starter; a star.  But no, I don't just award him starter status because Reimer makes a mistake. Sorry, that logic doesn't fly for me. 

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Cameron19

oh, my mistake.  you obviously think Bernier is not shit, probably.  he just has to prove he's not shit is all.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@Cameron19 @dlb eh @LeafsGuru 

It is just a fact that Reimer is way more proven than Bernier, that's all. I think all Leaf fans hope for the best even if we don't like the trade. 


Cameron19
Cameron19

@dlb eh @Cameron19 @LeafsGuru Show me a post where I've been critical of Bernier, or have not allowed him error.  In fact, show me a post where I wasn't supportive of him.  That is just total nonsense. 

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Cameron19 @LeafsGuru 

that third goal was awful.  another shot went in his glove and almost came down in the net.  a couple times he handled the puck right onto the other team's stick and rather than a quick break out we had to work hard to keep the puck out of the net.

other than that Riemer was great.

you fight too much for Riemer and don't give Bernier any room for error.  they're both ours now.  i'd rather support them both than demean one like i just did.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@LeafsGuru Just boggles my mind that people are replacing Reimer with a guy who doesn't have single W to his name yet.  It's not that I don't think it could happen eventually - but I think it's a lot further off than people expect.  I also think there's a good chance that Reimer just solidifies the net as his own.