Game in 10: Game #3, Leafs 5 vs. Senators 4 (SO)

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48th Highlanders
Photo: MapleLeafs.com

The Leafs remain on an 82-0 pace after a thrilling home opener that had everything but a fight. The Leafs found a way to win despite a goalie pull and a 4-2 deficit, as their off-season additions shone bright en route to a 5-4 shootout victory.

1 – Troy Bodie was instrumental in opening the scoring five minutes into the opening frame. With his long strides and deceptive speed, he broke the blueline and threw a shot on net, before overpowering Jared Cowen and retrieving the puck. He found Bolland in front of the net, who made an instinctive backhand pass over to Mason Raymond at the right side of the net. Raymond buried into the empty cage, as the first home goal of the 2013-14 season goes to the found wallet. 1-0 Leafs.

Mason Raymond Scores

2 – After the bright start, turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers became the story for the Leafs in the 1st period. A continuing theme in the early season, Paul Ranger is consistently making bad reads or fumbling pucks leading to scoring opportunities against. The first was a simple case of forgetting the puck that led to a scoring chance right in the middle of the slot, which Reimer met with a glove save. The second was a bad pinch that led to a crossbar save off the stick of Kyle Turris. Ranger is clearly going through an adjustment period getting up to NHL speed, but got better as the game wore on.

Cody Franson also struggled at points, having had a hand in both goals against in the first period. His pairing alongside Morgan Rielly got dinged with the dash-2, but it was an unfair reflection on the debuting Rielly. In the build up to the Senators first goal, Rielly initially bailed out Franson’s giveaway with a nice shot block. The Senators gained the zone, however, and Turris slipped in between a bunch of collapsed Leafs down low and trickled one through Reimer to tie it at 1s.

Franson was at the center of another goal against later in first period. He couldn’t get the puck out of his feet right in front of the net, and the giveaway wound up on Conacher’s stick right in the slot. MacArthur did his best to celebrate like it was his goal, but don’t be fooled, Conacher snuck it through Reimer’s legs and it trickled over the goalline. Nice try, MacArthur.

3 – Another Franson turnover at the blueline led to a good thing; a slashing penalty against Zack Smith in the defensive zone. Raymond, Lupul and Kadri took the ice on powerplay unit #2. Raymond picked the pick up in the circle, and had the Sens PK unit thinking he was going back to the point before pivoting and threading a beautiful pass to Kadri. Kadri finished from the back post to make it 2-2, his first of the new season. The Leafs, considering the sloppiness of their play, were pretty fortunate to escape the first tied at 2s.

Kadri Scores

4 – Rielly made his impact known in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd period. With the Leafs defence core struggling to move the puck safely, Rielly was a breath of fresh air with heads-up, smooth-as-you-like puck movement off the backend.

5 – Things went off the rails pretty quick half way through the second period, and the result was Reimer getting pulled after 4 goals on 19 shots. With 9 minutes left in the 2nd, MacArthur was afforded quite a bit of space off the rush by Franson. MacArthur threw a soft shot at the net, which Reimer made a real mess of. He dove at the puck trying to grab his own rebound, ran into Rielly, and was down and out by the time the puck made its way back to Cowen on the point. Cowen finished into the empty net to make it 3-2 Senators. The very next shift, a massive rebound kicked out by Reimer off a routine point shot wound up in Bozak and Gunnarsson’s feet, before Spezza jumped on the loose puck and hammered it through Reimer’s legs.

6 – You could see Joffrey Lupul step his game up and start to take charge once the Leafs went down 4-2 and needed the bost. He drove the net hard twice for near goals, before his PP unit alongside Kadri and Raymond struck for the second time tonight. Lupul has fantastic instincts for finding little seams in the slot. This time he took it from stick to skate and back to the stick before a lightning quick release beat Anderson between the legs.

Lupul Scores to bring it to 4-3

7 – Phil Kessel continues to eat the Senators for breakfast. Early in the third period, he chipped the puck along the wall, and after Bozak tied up his man, Kessel covered about 50 feet of ice in three seconds to turn it into a 2 on 1 with JvR in front. JvR finished his second of the season on the beautiful cross crease pass from Kessel to make it 4-4.

JVR Scores from Kessel to tie it up

8 – Just when you thought both teams were going to batten down the hatches and ensure the point… it seemed neither were capable of doing such a thing. The game went into full-on pond hockey mode in a thrilling final few minutes. Ranger nearly ended it by cutting out a play and rushing the puck up ice and releasing a huge clap that nearly broke the cross bar. It turned around into a 2 on 1 the other way, which Phaneuf cut out expertly. The Leafs did well to earn a point, all things considered.

9 – A wild OT, which the Leafs had the better of, gave way to a shootout. Bozak did as Bozak does in the shootout, scoring again. Only there was a new shootout scorer in town. Raymond has already earned his million dollars as far as I’m concerned, and we’re three games into the season. He was fantastic all game, and pulled off the old Jason Blake spinorama in the shootout, which both helped the Leafs win the game and pissed off the Senators – a veritable double win.

10 – The Leafs are rarely ever out of games with the way they can generate offence in a moment’s notice. For a lot of teams, the bang-bang goals in the second would’ve been lights out. Without Clarkson and Kulemin in the lineup, this team still looks dangerously productive and what a testament that is to their offensive repertoire. New additions Bolland and Raymond, Lupul, Kessel, JvR are all off to hot starts, and it’s a beautiful thing.

The Leafs’ turnovers and defensive coverage breakdowns (of which the Sens were equally guilty) were a sore spot, but the whole “two good young goaltenders” thing seems to be working out pretty damn well, too. While the concept of healthy competition has some merit, one of the consequences, as far as Reimer is concerned, is that he won’t get the benefit of the doubt to play through his poor outings. Bernier was awesome in the third period for the Leafs. He was absorbing pucks, challenging shooters aggressively, covering for more Leafs defensive breakdowns, and survived an attempt on his life via the falling net. Unfortunately for Reimer, I’ve always thought James plays best when he’s given a run of starts, but there’s zero doubt Carlyle will and should go back to Bernier on Tuesday.

Photo: MapleLeafsHotStove.com
Photo: MapleLeafsHotStove.com

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Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators – Full Game (60mins)

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Thankyou Bernier.

  • leafsince93

    -Keon- that entire sequence of play was unreal. Kessel is really growing as a player.

  • David

    I think Bolland probably merits more of a mention in this GinT. Buzzing all night on both sides of the puck.

  • BringBackYushki

    Ahem … The Bernier Wall?

  • BringBackYushki

    @David yup Bolland proffesor Clutch basically

  • MaxwellHowe

    Off topic of the main contributoers, but while Bodie started well, there were sequences late in the game when he was useless.  Several giveawys

  • MaxwellHowe

    leafsince93 -Keon- Notice how much he mucks it up in the corners now?

  • Pent_House

    Big win. I was at the game tonight live crazy atmosphere, crowd was rowdy. Hate to say it, but Ranger had a big game tonight. Easily the best game I’ve ever seen him play. Rielly was good. Abbott terrible benched early when the game went to a 3-line game. We didn’t play that well but got the dub still. My main team observation is we’re playing too much of a rush-game and not enough cycle game. Because of this we also aren’t playing physical. Need to get back to that for sustained success.

  • Dan39

    So presumably Bernier starts versus the Avs. If he loses, right back to Reimer? Or let him try and get into a groove? Tough choices, both of them good ones though.

  • Dan39

    Pent_House Carlyle really shortened up the bench and he did it early too. Basically after the first…

  • T_Ry

    -Keon- One of those things they talked about, but never actually changed.  Thankfully.

  • Pent_House

    Dan39 I don’t know if it was caught on TV but the crowd was going crazy for Bernier. During the TV time-out late in the game a huge bernier chant bursted out. He’s a fan favourite. Even leaving the rink and walking home there was spontaneous Bernier chants on the streets.

  • Dan39

    Pent_House Dan39 Wow, that’s gotta be tough for Reimer to take…

  • Pent_House

    Dan39 Pent_House Yup. Devane Abbott and Bodie basically didn’t play the rest of the game. I think Bodie got thrown out for two shifts. Kadri got benched for a while too.

  • Dan39

    I hope this Oilers game turns into a slugfest.

  • T_Ry

    Pent_House Dan39 Yeah, just before they cut to commercial you could hear it.  I like Reimer a lot and want to see him succeed, but so far Bernier has just looked far more solid.

  • Wilbur

    Dan39 Pent_House Wouldn’t have to take it if he hadn’t handled the puck like a grenade, put on a break-dancing clinic on the third goal and punted a rebound for a 35 yard field goal on the 4th goal…

  • Dan39

    Wilbur Dan39 Pent_House Lol

  • Pent_House

    Wilbur Dan39 Pent_House That one goal where Reimer was caught back towards the play was awful.

  • Dan39

    Pent_House Wilbur Dan39 Yeah and he makes it look worse than it is by flopping around ridiculously.

  • leafsince93

    fucking Captain of Leafs is so overrated. only plays 25mins a gm in all situations and has to answer the worst MSM in NHL everyday. all of those 30 players in that survey would not last a season in Toronto.

  • rustynail

    -Keon- who? :)

  • Pent_House

    Shift_Disturber1 If we want to continue to win we need to get back to the cycle game. It was rush all night and we need to get physical again. Orr was the only one who threw any meaningful body checks.

  • Jantz

    Excellent Point 6. Lupul’s goal was a beauty and he had his best stretch of this young season in the 2nd half of the game.

  • Dan39

    -Keon- Coverage way better this year. And the spiffed up Ricoh, too – new lighting, new glass, and more shovel girls!

  • T_Ry

    Shift_Disturber1 I love the 3-0 part, but with all these turnovers, I’m losing the rest of my hair.  They need to get their shit together before they play a strong team.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Refresh for box score

  • Dan39

    -Keon- Oh I wish, you have to see these girls. And in skates, too. Ohhh

  • Spayde_D

    Raymond and Bolland really had me smiling tonight. They worked like a dream for secondary scoring. Phil and Lupul each had their game working tonight. Reimer was on the bad end of a few bad luck goals, but Bernier was there to pick up the torch beautifully. Great game, especially the third, and great win for the boys. 
    Hopefully this 3-0 start will shut up the MSM for a bit. You know… the overrated, 48-games-doesn’t make a season,  can’t win without any elite players Maple Leafs? 
    Well in 3 weeks Christmas comes early with Kulemin, Clarkson, Fraser, and Mcclaren

  • Zep2

    Gardiner worked his way out of the dog house tonite

  • Pent_House

    Spayde_D Great win but I wouldn’t say great game.

  • Jantz

    Pent_House Shift_Disturber1 Very true. Dion had a nice hit on Ryan early and other than Orr’s hit on Wiercosh ( sp )there was very little in the physical department.

  • Dan39

    Spayde_D And the PP guys had a whole stat-based argument about why Bolland after playing with Kane and whoever and not having the right Corsi was never going to be able to put up points in TO and play on the second line Lol

  • Palmateer

    Something I have noticed is the lack of talent in the league that are ex
    leafs. Alex Steen, Tukka Rask and Matt Fratten are the only players I
    would want back. Now look at the players we have from other teams. I
    think this is a good guage as to how a rebuilt is going. We have aquired
    good talent from other teams but have given up very little. Along with
    our young guns I say thank you to Burke and Nonis.

  • GreekGod

    This is why I don’t believe we should be targeting a 1C. A lot of people were trying to tell me that we should go for ROR… but what I think we need is a solid defensive partner for Dion. Playing as much as he did last season wore him out. Especially in the playoffs. He needs a partner that can help him out.

  • Jantz

    Zep2 Yep, he was pretty solid and you didn’t really notice him , which probably made Carlyle happy.

  • Zep2

    Spayde_D i thought Bolland was going to end it with that toe drag late in the 3rd
    He and Raymond are making Grabs and whats his name a fading memory

  • TuckerForPunishment

    If anyone would have suggested we give Raymond a PTO before Nonis actually did they would have been flamed so bad.

  • Jantz

    CanuckUKinToronto Scoring goals will rarely be an issue with our top 9 once healthy.

  • B_Leaf

    Well we are 3-0 and haven’t played that well yet. Certainly a great night for Bernier. Thought Raymond played well too. How good was Morgan Rielly tonight? Very strong for first NHL game as a 19 year old.

  • ConnorCrisp

    Best million spent leauge wide

  • T_Ry

    Dan39 Spayde_D Honest question, for anyone who can answer it: what the hell is up with those guys?  You look at their site, and it’s just a litany of posts about how Carlyle is awful, Nonis is awful, and ZOMG ADVANCED STATS CORSI FENWICK ZOMG I JUST CAME.
    Certainly doesn’t read like a Leaf fans’ site.

  • Dan39

    B_Leaf Didn’t you think he played a level above how he played in preseason?

  • Jantz

    -Keon- I’m assuming that should read 8 of the last 25 minutes.

  • Pent_House

    I said it down below, but I have to say it again, because he gets credit where it’s due. Great game from Ranger tonight, best game I’ve ever seen him play during the last year and this seaz.

  • HHT

    I predicted 5-3 and Naz getting a hatty.  We won 5-4 and Naz was -3 with a goal.  Not bad! :)

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Pent_House Awful in the 1st, got better as game wore on

  • B_Leaf

    Dan39 B_Leaf 
    Yes it was his best game I have seen yet.

  • Pent_House

    T_Ry Dan39 Spayde_D They’re not real fans

  • HHT

    Leafs really taking the heat off Clarkson – another good storyline!