Simply outclassed by the league’s premier team, the Leafs fell to 6-3-0 after a 3-1 loss in Chicago.
1 – It started off not so bad for the Leafs. It was a well played opening 20 minutes by both teams, without many mistakes. The Leafs were moving the puck a little better coming out of their zone than in recent games, but this didn’t last much longer than the first.
2 – The Leafs came out looking dreadful to start the 2nd, puck chasing for the majority of the first seven minutes of the period. After all of Bozak, Kessel and JvR got caught up ice after a brief foray into the offensive zone, Toronto fell behind 1-0. The Leafs deserved to concede one, probably, but the actual goal was avoidable. Bernier bobbled a routine catch (something I was led to believe only Reimer ever does), and spilled the rebound into the slot. Bickell picked the puck up and patiently walked around Bernier, who had come a few feet out to try to poke at the loose puck.
3 – The Lupul-Kadri connection erased the 1-0 deficit shortly thereafter. After a penalty draw by Kadri, Nazem gained the zone and rang the boards, where Lupul picked up the puck to the right of the net. Lupul found Kadri as he slipped between coverage in front of the net. Kadri did a great job of going to the net and finding a seam with his stick firmly on the ice.
4 – The game returned to even strength and the Hawks continued to dominate possession. The Leafs couldn’t pick up a loose puck a couple of times in the defensive zone, before the Hawks worked it back to the points. Kostka was afforded a wide berth on the point by David Broll, but this is another one I would argue Bernier should have had. There was some traffic, but he had a pretty good look and it simply went through him. The points are often open in the Leafs defensive zone coverage scheme and they rely on their goaltender being able to make those stops.
Of course Mike Kostka waits until he’s not on the Leafs to score his first career goal against the Leafs, by the way.
5 – Leafs played right into the Hawks’ supreme transition game all period with really poor puck management and a nonexistent forecheck. The Leafs could not sustain any sort of offensive zone time in this period when they did manage to venture outside of their own zone, and were unable to disrupt the Hawks’ high tempo generated from easy breakouts. The Leafs were outplayed in all three zones in the second period and out shot 20 to 6. On a late period penalty, with needed penalty killer Dion Phaneuf in the box, Paul Ranger and Jake Gardiner made a mess of their coverage in front of the net leading to a Brandon Pirri PP goal, as the Hawks took a 3-1 lead to finish up the period.
6 – The Leafs’ only way back into this game in the third period was to capitalize on a powerplay. A borderline call that canceled out at 4-1 Hawks goal gave them their first opportunity. The PP was stagnant and dysfunctional. A second call, a hooking penalty after a great net drive by Nazem Kadri, produced a 2nd opportunity. The result was no better as the Leafs could not break down the box of penalty killers with their puck movement.
7 – The opportunistic scoring hasn’t been there the past few games to get the Leafs by. Maybe by some serious stroke of luck this could have been a game the Leafs could have stole with stops on the Kostka and Bickell goals, but the goal support wasn’t there, and it’s not something you can ask of a goaltender night in, night out.
The Leafs were outshot 40-20, for those wondering about the final damage.
8 – The Leafs are certainly not the only team to get outpossessed in a game against the Blackhawks, but they’re not even playing “their game,” as we knew it last season, effectively right now. The intensity level wasn’t there, and I saw next to zero good forechecks by the Leafs tonight, which were needed to slow the Hawks down and disrupt their tempo. Naz has been the Leafs’ most physical forward the last few games, which is good on Naz, but also pretty concerning. Fortunately, help is on the way.
9 – The top line was one big struggle tonight. Kessel was really forcing things, turning the puck over repeatedly. JvR was fighting the puck throughout. Bozak may not have been playing tonight, I can’t say for sure. I do see in the box score that he was a sterling 36% on the dot. Kadri and Lupul is all the Leafs really had going up front in this one.
10 – Back to the drawing board for Carlyle, as the Leafs have been handed a two-game wake up call. This loss in particular was humbling, but an acknowledgement also goes to the quality of the opponent the Leafs were up against tonight. Back to Reimer for Tuesday against Anaheim.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Chicago Blackhawks Boxscore
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Crosby is 5 points ahead of 2nd place in the scoring race. It's still early, but that's pretty incredible.
A bit of perspective
Pens were outshot 28-13 ,through 2 periods and won in OT
Shabs outshot 30 17 throuGH 2 periods and lose to a team we just beat 4-0
Turds lose 3-1 to Oilers
Leafs arent the only team capable of playing poorly. They are however the most scrutinized
We do need to replace Ranger with a physical defenceman. He looks lost in every game this year. The pro game is one step to fast for his decision making
This team has the makings to be even tougher to play against than last years. It just means getting the injured back in the line up and getting back to their systems. Out - McArthur, Grabovski, Komarov of which only Komarov carried any real checking capability. In - Bolland, Clarksen, Brodie. As well as a more physically mature Kadri and JVR. Right now the first 6 wins came a little to easy and we thought we could put in a half hearted effort and still win. You can hear that tone in every one of Randy's media clips since the beginning of the year.
Marliles playing on Leafs TV at 3:00 Lets go Marlies! At least give us a better game than the Leafs did last night.
They'll be fine....Bolland's probably been saying "save it for the playoffs boys" and they've taken it too literally to start the season lol. Watch them clamp down big time when they need to.
@DWCMLHS Hes the best player in the world. Malkin in the top 5. Its a good thing they one a Cup because I dont think theyll win another .
@DWCMLHS No one will come close to him this yr if he stays healthy
@Jordan29 Kulemin was still wearing a soft cast on his foot last week I believe...McLaren is probably closer...maybe two games or so.
@Jordan29 Kulie was still wearing a walking boot this past week . Wouldn't bet on him coming back soon. Fraser hasn't skated yet . The only guy on the ice right now is Mcaren
@Shift_Disturber1 They are both so bad. Love it.
@Jordan29 No, don't think so. Marlies just needed extra bodies for the game today. At least 2 of those 3 likely get called back up right away.
Take the words right out of my mouth...well done.
He is probably better served in the Marlies. Or move him for a prospect or a pic
@Loric76 Some bodies ready to return or is this just a cap move and to get the guys into a game with the Marlies?
@Jmessih Yes, I couldn't believe all the people who thought he was totally,easily replaceable. It doesn't matter what line he plays on, his role is what is important - and clearly, it won't be easy to find someone who can do what he did.
@Pent_House Kadri and Lupul are great at forechecking and takeaways. JVR and Bozak are a step down in this respect. 3rd line has been in flux without Kulemin and Clarkson. Raymond, Leivo, Bodie or Broll don't offer much at all in this respect. McClement is good at this too, but his hands are lacking a bit.
@Pent_House Agreed. The best defense is a good forecheck. Harry Neale is bang on when he says you can hear a good forecheck, and it's hard to clear your zone with your face pressed into the glass.
@-Keon- Yes, but that's very difficult to do. Philadelphia tried to do that twice, and lost on both occasions. I'm not opposed to this outlook at all though, but I would have done it with Kessel before Phaneuf, in the kind of scenario you just outlined. It would be easier to replace Kessel's offense than Phaneuf's quality of minutes. And doing so would have actually conserved 12 million in cap space moving forward, as it would have made Bozak superfluous as well.
Moving Kessel would have also allowed us to reshape the forwards to be more fore-check oriented and less rush-scoring focused.
Having said all that, Kessel is a great player and I'm happy to have him aboard. I just think, if we were going to go in that direction, it should have already happened.
@Belfour20 would annoy both teams lol
@Pent_House you've been paying too much attention to the likes of Glen Healy and the other bonehead CBC broadcasters.
@Pent_House lmao. the Rangers and Flyers are pathetic. The Leafs are actually pretty good :D
@Burtonboy @DWCMLHS Right. He's the best player in the world by a wide margin. Over the past 3 seasons, he played only 99 games, but had 159 points. That's a 132-point pace. If he stays healthy this season, I bet he hits that 130-point mark. Nobody has done that in a LONG time. NHL.com's stats page only goes back to the 97-98 season, and nobody hit 130 that year or any year since.
@Yaknowwhat So I guess we can write off Clarkson having much of an impact then. What i find is when guys like that get out there stirring up shit and hitting it gets the rest of the group going and wound up. A few fights might wake this group up as well.
@Yaknowwhat Yes, but the forwards are also just waiting for the stretch pass instead of coming all the way back and creating an effective short passing game through the neutral zone. Because of this, they're simply lacking the opportunity to get in and play anything but "soft" hockey.
@Yaknowwhat Certainly not but they bring the same type of game in the hitting, shit disturbing department
@Cameron19 @Yaknowwhat Bang on Cam. What frusterates me the most is they're just standing there waiting for the pass by the blue line. And if they do on the off chance connect on the pass they have to start skating from a complete stand still which allows the other teams D and forwards to skate into position. Need the short passes and enter the zone with lots of momentum and speed
@Pent_House I think its silly to judge this team on the play of 8 games, in which the team has had good results, coming off a playoff series that showed such a optimistic capacity of this team.