Game in 10: Game #5, Leafs 4 at Predators 0


The Leafs won’t take home the Corsi Cup again tonight, but they will return to Toronto a 4-1-0 team thanks to Jonathan Bernier’s first shutout as a Maple Leaf and a good final 30 minutes in Nashville.

1 – The Leafs played a decent road period in the first. Toronto didn’t generate much, but didn’t give up a whole lot in terms of scoring chances, either. The Leafs actually had some of the better looks, and were only outshot 8-6 despite a laughable 17-5 faceoff deficit.

2 – Whether we’ve been able to successfully quantify the importance of faceoff wins or not, they’re important, and the Leafs are seemingly getting worse on the dot this season. Bolland is the average to slightly below average guy we thought he was; Bozak, typically a strong suit of his, went 1 for 8 in the first; and it continues to be one of Kadri’s biggest weaknesses. Bozak and McClement finished up at 43% on the dot, while Bolland and Kadri were at 38 and 36 percent respectively.

3 – The first 10 minutes of the 2nd period was nothing short of painful. Continuing the theme from the Colorado game, the Leafs went huge spells without a shot, this time going eight minutes without a shot on goal to start the 2nd period (after an equally long spell in the 1st). Nothing was connecting for the Leafs’ passes, and there did not appear to be a whole lot of urgency or desperation to their game. For the majority of period, the penalty killing and Bernier is all the Leafs had going.

4 – Kadri was the spark that finally got the Leafs going later in second period. Kadri rushed the puck up ice and floated a beautiful area pass in front of the net for Lupul to skate onto. Lupul missed the empty net, but it was the beginning of a good final 7 or 8 minutes of the second period.

5 – Bozak lost the ensuing offensive zone faceoff so clean it actually benefited the Leafs. Legwand won it straight through his legs to where there was no Predator waiting. JvR made a quick read, was first to the puck to the right of the Nashville net, and found Kessel out front before the Predators could get themselves together defensively. Kessel notched his second of the season, and 6th point, off a great pass from JvR.

6 – The goal seemed to inject some more life in the Leafs’ legs, as they continued to pick it up toward the end of the 2nd. The Leaf top line struck for the second time in minutes (by top line I mean JvR and Kessel). A good hard play by Dion down low to toss a Predator off the puck got the Leafs out of trouble before Gunnarsson threw a great diagonal breakout pass to Kessel, who was taking off on a rush down the right board. Kessel hit the outside of the post, and as Rinne tried to collect the bounce off the end boards, JvR nipped in and took the puck for a wrap around the (now-shallower) net. There are few better than JvR at working the area in tight around the goal. 2-0 Leafs.

7 – Preserving the 2-0 lead, Bernier made a shockingly easy-looking save off a pass to a wide open Predator in the slot in the early third. Reading the pass out of the corner and aware of the incoming Predator, Bernier made a quick shift and dropped into the butterfly to swallow a chance from below the hashmarks. If he doesn’t make that save, which was far more difficult than he made it look, the Leafs are in a much different situation after conceding early in the third. Bernier made another save on Seth Jones a few minutes later, after Jones slipped into the slot unmarked. Bernier aggressively challenged Jones and gave him nothing to shoot at except the chest of the new coolest JB to come out of Canada (sorry, Jake Gardiner).

8 – Morgan Rielly had an amazing shift half way through the third period. Bozak curled up in the Nashville zone and fell over, giving the Predators an odd man chance the other way. Rielly was initially caught up ice by Bozak’s failure to get that puck deep, but he covered the ground to swoop in and break up a pass before turning and leading a rush the other way. The initial rush didn’t work out, but he made another fantastic read in the neutral zone to break up a play and send JvR and Kessel on their way on a 2 on 1. That should’ve produced JvR’s second of the night and a 3-0 Leaf lead, but Rinne made an amazing blocker save to keep it at 2-0.

9 – A scary moment for Cody Franson with 7 minutes to go in the game. Retrieving a puck near the Leaf bench, Mr. Underwood rammed Franson into the stanchion, splitting Franson open and sending him to the dressing room for stitches. Provided Franson’s OK, it worked out for the Leafs as the 5 minute hitting from behind penalty all but sealed the game. Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats.

10 – Bozak, who had a pretty terrible game, put this one on ice on the major powerplay. Kessel found Bozak to the side of the net, and Bozak’s attempted pass back across to JvR took a deflection off a skate and beat Rinne. To Bozak’s credit, it was a good pass and the right play, and if it didn’t go in off the Predator’s skate JvR was going to have his second of the night anyway. A Joffrey Lupul tipped goal padded the stats further before Carlyle deferred to the 4th line for the remainder of the powerplay.

Overall, the Leafs survived the first 30 minutes of this game before stealing a lead which forced the boring-est team in the league to start opening things up. Once that happens, you’ve got to like the Leafs’ chances. Final shot count was 36-26 Nashville.

Jonathan Bernier appears to have only needed two minutes of bad play from Reimer to take this crease by storm, as he’s been nothing short of brilliant while setting a franchise record for consecutive starts with less than 3 goals allowed by a new Leaf goaltender. The Leafs’ best players on forward and defence, Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, continued their early season brilliance as well. I was glad to see Joffrey Lupul and Nazem Kadri reunited for the most part. David Broll and Josh Leivo acquitted themselves fairly well in their regular season debut. Paul Ranger played his best game of the young season.

Morgan Rielly, who recorded his first National Hockey League point on the Tyler Bozak goal (he made the nice zone entry on the late powerplay), may well have just sealed his status as an NHLer for the full 82 games this season. He put in 19 minutes of strong work on the road, where Carlyle couldn’t fully control his matchups. We all knew about his obvious talents, but the way he’s reading the game and how unafraid he is to get involved in the physical battles bode well for his chances of sticking.

We’ll await word on Cody Franson, who has seen a big climb in his TOI in the early season and clocked 19 minutes before leaving the game. Hopefully it is just a dozen stitches and not a concussion.

Onto the next one.


Game in 6 Minutes:


Toronto Maple Leafs at Nashville Predators Boxscore

Pekka Rinne (1-3-0)L26220.84660:00:00
Victor Bartley0011:19010001001
Rich Clune009:11000008000
Matt Cullen0017:400101050011
Mattias Ekholm0019:47030000100
Ryan Ellis0015:20020000300
Mike Fisher0018:390415841001
Filip Forsberg0013:51-220000001
Paul Gaustad0012:07-100881100
Matt Hendricks0011:11017011011
Patric Hornqvist0017:31020000120
Seth Jones0026:29:00-250000400
Kevin Klein0018:06030001110
David Legwand0016:23-1201360002
Eric Nystrom0015:29-210001000
Craig Smith0013:15020000001
Nick Spaling0013:03020110100
Shea Weber0025:56:00-230001100
Colin Wilson0017:43020010010
Jonathan Bernier (3-1-0)W3636160:00:00
Carter Ashton007:06000002001
Dave Bolland0012:200226100111
Tyler Bozak1022:052109120011
David Broll009:19025001110
Cody Franson0018:46200004200
Jake Gardiner0117:46010000110
Carl Gunnarsson0121:23000002202
Nazem Kadri0116:25010592121
Phil Kessel1220:05240010001
Josh Leivo009:02010000000
Joffrey Lupul1016:19030002000
Jay McClement0015:04000683100
Colton Orr008:19000002000
Dion Phaneuf0023:36012001121
Paul Ranger0019:10010001011
Mason Raymond0016:16020000010
Morgan Rielly0119:23220002111
James van Riemsdyk1121:36252001100
  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Bernier for God.
    ….and I still say automatic transmission is for pussies.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Gotta figure Bernier gets the nod on Saturday.

  • Black_Hawk

    Man Bernier does seem like he is on a mission

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    didnt catch any of the game, how did we play? and WOOOOO WE WON!!

  • PEIleafnation

    good road win…hope cody is ok

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    “maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats” well played Alec! another excellent game in 10

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan yep, I think the net is his right now until he slips up or there’s a back to back

  • Alec Brownscombe

    The_Polish_Cannon Thanks. Glad you caught that.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    The_Polish_Cannon Bon Scott was a Leaf fan kid deserves it right now

  • Jmessih
    Saw Franson in hallway; has cut on bridge of nose; says: ‘I’m surviving’

  • Denied

    Kessel and Lupul tied for second in league scoring with 6 points a piece, beauties

  • Wilbur

    Gardiner’s and Ranger’s best games of the season so far.

  • haganenodan

    MapleLeafsHS Found it, and right where everyone knew it’d be.

  • B_Leaf

    Great points on Rielly!!

  • B_Leaf

    And they haven’t really got going yet.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    Dangle_My_Berries The_Polish_Cannon Bon Scott was a Leaf fan forsure! I’m starting to believe the early reports of him having the potential to be the next patty roy

  • Burtonboy

    Reilly wins the battle of the 19 yr old defense men tonight . Definitely out played Jones in this one .

  • Zep2

    Denied Lupul is becoming such a consistent scorer. please stay healthy
    Corsi be damned, other teams have a hard time to match Kessel, JVR, and Lupul
    If kadri can get going and Clarkson has a decent year, Leafs are going to be tough to beat

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    The_Polish_Cannon Dangle_My_Berries Bon Scott was a Leaf fan love the guy, we have a gem here

  • GeorgeCastanza

    Denied just getting warmed up.

  • Loric76
    Great win in Detroit. Good to see Keith Yandle making new friends.

  • Loric76
    Congrats on your first point tonight

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Loric76 stay classy Detroit

  • BringBackYushki

    The_Polish_Cannon Dangle_My_Berries Bon Scott was a Leaf fan next Pat Roy eh ? thats a pretty tall order

  • JamieCarlisle

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I have said all along Bernier is playing on an entirely different level than Reimer and is clearly their number one goalie.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Loric76 this graphics guy was busy tonight eh

  • Loric76

    Dangle_My_Berries Loric76 look at the scowl on her face lol

  • The Truth Hurts

    Bozak had a terrible game but Carlyle saw enough in him to have him out there more then any other forward. Gotta get the hate goggles of Alex.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Loric76 Dangle_My_Berries shes pissed lol

  • Burtonboy
    Jonathan Bernier on his spectacular start to the season: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while.”

  • distant rumblings

    Burtonboy yeah, but Jones had a goal if you count his Bozak tip in …

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Burtonboy THANK YOU NONIS

  • Burtonboy

    distant rumblings Burtonboy Even if he got the goal Rielly still outplayed him

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Drafted 2006 I would say so, and welcome.

  • Loric76

    Dangle_My_Berries Loric76 yep
    It’s time to

  • Komas Taberle

    Jmessih Franson gets to spend the night with Carrie Underwood and all is forgiven.

  • Hammertownleaffan

    The Truth Hurts You cant seriously think Bozak is playing well?

  • Burtonboy
    Franson no worse for wear. Nose stitched up as he departs arena here in Nashville.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Loric76 Dangle_My_Berries very busy lol

  • distant rumblings

    Komas Taberle Jmessih wot … sloppy seconds?

  • GreekGod

    The Truth Hurts 
    Carlyle sees enough in Gardiner that he plays him over 20 minutes of ice time in a couple games this season already and you still bitch about him. Guess you should be taking your hate goggles off

  • Alec Brownscombe

    The Truth Hurts I felt confident enough to glue them to my face.

  • Optimustic

    Dangle_My_Berries Cautious start.  Shaky 2nd period, saved by Bernier and then we put it away, late in the 2nd and in the 3rd we were much better.   Playing with a lead always helps.  ( well almost always)

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    CanuckUKinToronto Dangle_My_Berries Burtonboy seeing what this guy is doing for this team we could have given up more and id still be happy with it. If you look at it, we got Bernier for a song…

  • wiski

    MikeGartner11 Burtonboy He asked James to tighten his skates after the second.

  • Loric76

    lol guys check this site out

  • B_Leaf

    CanuckUKinToronto Dangle_My_Berries Burtonboy 
    That would be me.  :)

  • Komas Taberle

    wiski MikeGartner11 Burtonboy and grab him a Red Bull!

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Optimustic Dangle_My_Berries thanks for the breakdown, need to watch the game in 6

  • GreekGod

    wiski MikeGartner11 Burtonboy