My pregame chat with Declan over gtalk:
“Alec: Wild are playing some kid in net and are in the second game of a back to back
Declan: Easy win tonight. Leafs will score three goals with under 20 shots”
With their three biggest skilled forwards on the sidelines (Clarkson, Kulemin, JvR), playing the best shot suppressing team in the league so far this season, the Leafs needed a good performance from James Reimer and their special teams to win tonight. That’s exactly what they got.
With negligible offensive zone time and a total of 14 shots on net, the Leafs beat the Wild 4-1 to move to 6-1-0 on the season. Reimer stopped 37 of 38 shots and the Leaf powerplay went 2 for 3. The Leafs penalty kill went 5 for 6, and the high number of penalties was a big part of why the shot count was even more tilted in the opponent’s favour than usual in the first two periods. Jay McClement played over 21 minutes on account of the PK time.
In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Wild had 10 shot attempts, and the Leafs had a total of 1. The Leafs’ was Tyler Bozak’s goal off a beautiful passing play with Dave Bolland and Cody Franson. That sort of sums up the evening. The Leafs scored 2 goals on their first three shots, and chased Darcy Kuemper with three goals on seven total shots.
Morgan Rielly posted two assists tonight, his 2nd and 3rd career NHL points, and his confidence seems to be growing by the game. Mason Raymond scored twice for the Leafs (3-1 an 4-1 goals), including a JvR impersonation to the side of the net on the powerplay and an empty netter that Kessel rather kindly laid off of in order to pad the new guy’s goal total. Raymond now has 8 points (4g, 4a) in 7 games played, which as of last check puts him in a tie (along with Lupul, Kessel and a few others) for eighth in league scoring.
The second goal was Trevor Smith’s first as a Leaf off a lead pass from Morgan Rielly.
The Leafs just keep banking points – 12 of a possible 14 – in spite of playing less than their best hockey and a plethora of injuries. The likes of Leivo, Rielly and Broll have stepped into the lineup without missing a beat, and the goaltending tandem could not be working out any better through seven games.
David Clarkson is now three games away from returning. His absence alongside Kulemin, and especially without JvR, has made and will make the Leafs’ inability to sustain offensive zone time all the more challenged. Given it was a game time decision, JvR’s issue doesn’t seem to be anything too serious.
I missed a big chunk of this game, which I’ll watch later tonight. Some frustration with the refereeing seemed prevalent in the Game Day Thread as it pertained to the first 40 minutes. Reimer made some massive saves in the first 40 from the looks of the highlights. In the third, the Leafs forwards looked to be supporting the defence effectively, much better than Saturday anyway, and the Leafs defence was boxing out attackers well to kill the game out. The Leafs had several spells collapsed on the low slot, and what the team in front of him didn’t block or clear, Reimer was able to stop. The Leafs managed to generate some quality chances in only transient flashes of o-zone time. Bizarre team.
Interesting note: Jake Gardiner played 22 minutes tonight, 18 seconds less than Phaneuf. Doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere any time soon.
Feel free to provide your own mini Game in 10s in the comments below.
Updated Leafs Player Statistics.
Leafs vs. Wild Game Sheet (October 15th, 2013).
|James Reimer (2-0-0)||W||38||37||0.974||60:0|
Game in 6 Minutes:
So Raymond becomes UFA at the end of this season right? What do we sign him for (assuming he wants to stay with us and is grateful for the PTO)
Marlies Update: A 3-0 start to the season http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/10/16/marlies-update-a-3-0-start-to-the-season/ … #marlies
how long is Maxi Pad out for? I hope he's gone for the season...give him lots of time to go to the movies.
We are loving the 6-1 record I know, but shit will hit the fan at some point, we haven't played Boston, Detroit, Pittsburg, etc and if we play like shit against Chicago we are going to get finger banged. But I am starting to firmly believe that is what it will take to get us going. Still happy with the points and wins for now.
Also, send Reilly down, great player, playing well but we have other cooks in the kitchen and dont need to rush this young man, IMO ( i know many disagree)
I will be the first to admit I wasn't thrilled when Randy came aboard but man he's doing wonders with this team, Kessel has improved to a 2 way player, Kadri has broken into the NHL, Fransen has turned into a beast on the blueline hell even Orr is better. oh ya we are 6-1 this season!
GREAT JOB RANDY!
Islanders outshot Buffalo by 10 last night. But they lost.
Winnipeg outshot Montreal by 11 last night. But they lost. No goals in 36 tries.
LA outshot Tampa last night 31 25. But they lost 5-1.
Have you guys noticed that more and more stories are coming out about the class behavior of the Leafs. The team spirit will not go unnoticed by the players on other team, so maybe soon UFAs will come knocking on the door to help for the Leafs.
That it also starts looking like good team helps of course.
My favourite thing in the game last night was Kessel watching Raymond's puck slide in the empty net. Classy guy. I thought he was going to start sweeping in front of the rock.
Ryan Clowe was probably the worst free agent signing of the year and Mason Raymond is looking like the biggest steal of the off season.
@wiski I saw an ESPN article that polled players and they said Lundqvist is the 2nd most overrated player, next to Phaneuf lol Dion always gets shit on, but he is going to start getting some respect around the league. I feel like he has dropped the fake tough guy act. Not that he's not decently tough, but he's not scaring anybody scrap wise. Like the Leafs, Dion will start to get noticed as a legit top pairing D-man over the next couple years.
@mlclearwater I say keep Rielly up. The kid is improving every game. Mistake to send him down. However...I do think we should make him available for the world juniors
@LeafsGuru he is doing great i agree
@LeafsGuru I think Barb needs a lot of credit
@-Keon- yeah...and the .05% is Ovechkin haha
@-Keon- Yes, but there is an overall maturation in Kessels game now and I think that play symbolizes it nicely, for a 'pure goal scorere' to be giving a goal to a new teammate. But he is also more physical, defensive and vocal. He has turned his overall game up. Imagine him at the point on the pk someday? Prolly never but he would get some crazy breakaways
I think it has to do also with the Leafs willing to give guys like Lupul, Raymond, Ranger and others a break. And running the Marlies first class like an NHL team certainly must be attractive to leaguers, especially with the exposure they get in the market.
@Xxxxxnew lol great guy for sure
@Xxxxxnew hahaha thats what i told the guy beside me last night
@Xxxxxnew I think that is kinda getting blown out of proportion... but had he tapped it in, people would be calling him a douchebag. It's kinda the right thing to do, so it should be expected, unless theres a dude right on his tail, he needs to let that go. I've never thought Phil put himself above the team, so it doesn't surprise me anyways. It just seems like a no brainer to let that go in.
@Xxxxxnew Just shows what a classy professional Kessel is. A vet that leads by example, is liked and respected by teammates and one hell of a player that you can win with.....worth every penny......I love him.
@-Keon- the fact you dont notice him is a good thing.....
@wiski @2minutes I'm not sure if it's because he doesn't need to do that on this team or if he's realized it's not his forte. Don't get me wrong, I want him to drop the mitts on occasion if it's warranted, but I think he plays a more controlled game when he's not trying to do too much and be feared. He was flamed for going after big hits too much and leaving his position, and while he doesn't make as many big hits, he has become more reliable. Though I do think we are due for a big dion hit. Wouldn't be surprised if it came in that Buffalo game. Can't. Wait!
@wendelsway1 @mcloki @TheCanucksnaphook @mlclearwater We could get beat on the next stretch...but if we come out of that 50/50....people will be eating crowe earlier than I thought it would happen....it would be so nice.....and they know who they are!
Close the bus door WW, no broken ankles allowed!
Correct. I've never seen him as a selfish player at all. I just like the way he stayed with the puck to make sure it didn't die in the crease on some snow the goalie piled up before being pulled.
@-Keon- He wouldnt have been on the ice 3 years ago. In what way does saying he has vastly matured on the and off the ice sell him short? and how the fuck do you always reply to ppl with just your name showing up?
@-Keon- But it is the whole team that has developed class, remember last year when everyone was feeding Kessel the puck to try to break his scoring slump. Love what im seeing with this team