Post Game Reaction: Game #7, Leafs 4 vs. Wild 1

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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).

Boxscore            
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Carter Ashton005:23100010000
Dave Bolland0117:12010580101
Tyler Bozak1018:341129124112
David Broll008:58000001001
Cody Franson0219:11112004013
Jake Gardiner0021:59002002101
Carl Gunnarsson0019:28110002201
Nazem Kadri0118:08010542001
Phil Kessel0117:45100011111
Josh Leivo0013:51010004011
Joffrey Lupul0017:56000012002
Jay McClement0021:02000122021
Colton Orr005:19100001000
Dion Phaneuf0021:18102002303
Paul Ranger0020:13002001200
Mason Raymond2018:37152003000
Morgan Rielly0217:57110001213
Trevor Smith105:52120151110
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
James Reimer (2-0-0)W38370.97460:0

***

Game in 6 Minutes:

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • http://www.modernhigh.ca/ Dan

    Kuli is not a skilled forward…c’mon now. Lupul would rank ahead of him anyway and he played last I checked.

  • mORRganRielly

    lol Declan

  • toleafs

    wasn’t a thing of beauty but neither were the other 6 games!!

  • Biltmore

    Okay I’m still not used to having a team that can win despite having injuries and adversities. They still haven’t put together a strong 60 minute game and yet are deep enough and skilled enough to succeed. I’ve never met Burke or Nonis in person, but if I ever do I’m going to throw around bear hugs like confetti. I’d consider stalking them too but I’m leaving that for Rielly.

  • mORRganRielly

    toleafs Thought the Nashville game was the team’s best overall effort.

  • Hammertownleaffan

    When is Kulemin eligible to come back? And what was Fraser’s ETA? I’m hoping/assuming JVR was just given the night off with bumps and bruises as I saw him in the pre-game skate…

  • Jay_Berg

    Bolland and Rielly were our best players tonight (besides Reimer)
    No chance Rielly gets sent down IMO. Kid is getting better every game.

  • Jay_Berg

    I don’t see how Reimer wouldn’t start our next game. Played amazing tonight.
    This goaltending “controversy” is the best thing to happen to the leafs in the last decade.

  • .JVR.

    Hammertownleaffan 
    I think we figured out the other day that Kulemin and Fraser are both eligible to return on October, 29th against the Oilers.
    Whether or not they’ll be healthy enough to is another question.

  • Jay_Berg

    Is livefyre fucked up or is there nobody here?

  • .JVR.

    Jay_Berg 
    They must all still be in the old thread.
    Did anybody post a link to this one?

  • Hammertownleaffan

    .JVR. Hammertownleaffan Thanks buddy…god that seems like a long time to wait until we see the team at full strength…hopefully the goaltending keeps up

  • Reversethecurse67

    Jay_Berg it’s definitely screwy atm

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    …..yo

  • Reversethecurse67

    You don’t get points for style!
    The point of the regular season is to get into the playoffs, not how you get there. Then the real season begins.

  • Zep2

    Only saw few minutes of the game.
    An undermanned team found a way to win again. A far cry from a team that a couple  of years ago found new and novel ways to win.
    Leafs are going to be a heck of team when everyone is healthy

  • wiski

    I loved Raymond’s JVR impersonation, and Kessel’s play on the game clincher.

  • Jay_Berg

    You guys know what’s going to happen right?
    We have all these injuries, play like shit but win all our games.
    Guys will get healthy, we will player better but somehow go on a losing streak.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Jay_Berg every team goes on some sort of losing streak. Just have to minimize the length, like the good teams do.

  • sniperstar

    I’d like to see what the advanced stats guys would say if we started to have a better Corsi but lose more games. Ofc I don’t want to see the Leafs lose and am not against advanced stats as a tool along side watching the game. I think it’d almost be worth it to see them flip out if it did happen.

  • newkb

    Jay_Berg I was just thinking that too…

  • Ratzshite

    newkb Jay_Berg thats how you know your a true leaf fan

  • Reversethecurse67

    sniperstar fuck ’em. I used to watch Stajan, Pokahovsky and Jason Blake outshoot the opposing team nightly and continuously lose. If you don’t understand winning, you don’t understand sports. PPP….G..T..F..O!

  • B_Leaf

    Good post game write up Alec.
    Reimer was simply fantastic tonight. Strong game from Bolland and McClement. When they get back Kulemin that line could be rock solid. 
    Really happy to see Raymond contributing so much too. He has been a great addition.
    Morgan Rielly continues to impress…he has a real chance to stick and be a meaningful contributor.

  • Zep2

    @Dan Points is not the only measure of skill. Kulie plays a shut down role against top lines and is a big reason why Leafs are great on the PK

  • Waiting4LSC

    Very nicely put good Sir!

  • Reversethecurse67

    Looking forward to watching the replay on Leafs TV at 11 (didn’t catch the game).
    Looks like Kaleta got 10 games. Lapierre hits Boyle from behind and gets a misconduct. Darcy Regier going to be fired. Oilers and Flyers lose again.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Updated Leaf player statistics:  http://mapleleafshotstove.com/statistics/

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Three Leafs with 8 points – Raymond, Kessel, Lupul. Kadri has 7.

    Franson with 6 assists in 7 games

  • Cameron19

    Jay_Berg Yep, most likely.  It commonly works that way for all teams. When you get guys back from injury or what have you, it can initially slow you down.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Alec Brownscombe Costanza: “I’m gonna need some water here!”

  • Reversethecurse67

    Just checked the Leafs TV schedule and the replay is at midnight, it seems.

  • http://www.modernhigh.ca/ Dan

    Zep2 Yeah, but would you say that as one of our taller forwards he ranks before Clarkson, JvR & Lupul in terms of overall skill & value?

  • wiski

    Via Mirtle, Wild the NHL’s top possession team after tonight’s game – small consolation but they look like team on the rise. I rather be a Leafer 😉

  • .JVR.

    B_Leaf 
    McClement will go back to 4th line centre when Kulemin returns, seeing as Clarkson will be back and JVR should be healthy.
    Other injuries could change that though.

  • Jay_Berg

    https://twitter.com/jonastsn1050/status/390310241427943424

  • Cameron19

    Jay_Berg Against a red hot PP.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/RadioVendettahttps://twitter.com/RadioVendetta/status/390310280753721344
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%23TMLTalk&src=hash check out this picture. https://twitter.com/search?q=%23REALLY&src=hash https://twitter.com/MapleLeafs http://t.co/L3b2JqPWPb

  • Jay_Berg

    I’d rather not play him on the PK and risk injury. But we’re injury stricken and have been taking a lot of penalties. I wouldn’t expect him to get a lot of PK time moving forward but still good to see nonetheless

  • Reversethecurse67

    Jay_Berg Leivo with 14 minutes of ice-time, compared to Ashton and Smith’s 5 minutes…

  • DJBrianBurke

    Leafs aren’t there to develop players, they’re in the business of winning games 😉

  • Reversethecurse67

    wiski watched the Bruins vs. Red Wings game the other day: Bruins look terrible. Datsyuk is kinda really good, and the Wings have a good team.

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/emilyg819https://twitter.com/emilyg819/status/390292257850408961
    REIMSSSS http://t.co/fTdsFi0O7h

  • Ratzshite

    DJBrianBurke i thought Leivo had a goal , to bad it was nice shoot

  • wiski

    Reversethecurse67 wiski Chara looked like a pylon on that Datsyuk feed for the tying goal.

  • Ratzshite

    wiski holy crap Reimer has no fingers on his glove hand.

  • wiski

    Ratzshite wiski LOL that could explain a lot 😉

  • Reversethecurse67

    wiski maybe he was injured, because i noticed he wasn’t on the ice when the Bruins had 6 attackers trying to tie it up at the end.

  • Reversethecurse67

    wiski Oh. and once the game finished, the camera went to Gustavsson, who was just bent over looking like he was about to have a heart attack.

  • Ratzshite

    wiski Ratzshite we definitely have a goalie controversy, we have two friggN awesome goalies and Edmonton has none.