Game in 10: Game #10, Leafs 4 vs. Ducks 2

Game in 10: Game #10, Leafs 4 vs. Ducks 2


Things certainly looked grim 25 minutes into this game, but four unanswered goals including a hat trick from our star, our moon and our sun, Phil Kessel, saw the Leafs get back into touch with their offensive side en route to 4-2 win over Anaheim. The Leafs will have earned some goodwill with their coach after snapping Carlye’s former team’s seven game winning streak.

1 – The first period featured a lot of commentary on the Sportsnet broadcast about a lack of shots from the Leafs. It also featured a derisive cheer from the crowd when Paul Ranger took a slap shot from the blueline with a few minutes left in the period. It was the team’s first shot since the first shift, as the Leafs went 17 minutes consecutive without a shot.

The shots problem in this period was less about a possessional problem for the Leafs. The Leafs allowed only six shots themselves and were not spending the huge spells in their own zone as we saw in previous periods. The top line had a few decent, but shotless, cycle shifts. The forwards were supporting better in terms of their back check and puck support. It wasn’t completely horrible; the Leafs just seemed a little tight and couldn’t complete an A to B pass at points, including a first period power play where no shots were generated and it felt like the Leafs couldn’t string a single pass together.

The Leafs made the costly mistake in a low-event first period when Franson and Bodie collided trying to get back, and Rielly didn’t play the 2 on 1 very well, failing to take away the pass. Through 20 minutes, the Ducks led 1-0 after a goal by Nick Bonino.

2 – The first few minutes of the 2nd period was horrendous from the Leafs, and unsurprisingly led to a goal against. Raymond was fighting the puck for much of the game, and fumbled a pass from Rielly, turning the puck over. Seconds later, Rielly got beat behind the net. A bunch of Leafs were caught sleeping, with Franson reacting late, as Perrault came out from behind the net. Perrault pivoted and roofed it on Bernier to make it 2-0 Ducks.

3 – The Leafs finally started to find their legs and get in behind the Anaheim defence around the 25 minute mark. A set of good shifts included a McClement chance in the slot and a 2 on 1 chance for Raymond that was denied by a Hiller pad save. Credit goes to Bodie and Orr for the perfect 4th line shift early in the second: A chip in, a good forecheck, and a penalty draw by Orr.

4 – The powerplay from the penalty on Orr did not lead to much, as the Leafs’ PP was without a shot in the first two opportunities. Things weren’t looking much better on the third opportunity, generated off a Corey Perry boarding call, before the first unit came over the boards and made something happen. Kessel sucked in a few PKers high in the zone, found Bozak in the slot, and following a scramble in front, JvR threw a great no look pass to the back post where Kessel had smartly positioned himself for his third of the season.

5 – The Leafs’ two best players at their respective positions, Kessel and Phaneuf, stepped up in this second period when the Leafs needed it most. After a great stick by Phaneuf to break up a play at the blueline, he followed the play up the ice. Bolland held the puck up for a period on the half boards, surveyed for a pass, and found a pinching Phaneuf in the slot, who scored the Leafs’ 2nd goal in 72 seconds. Just like that, it’s 2-2.

6 – The game took a turn in Anaheim’s favour thanks to a few penalty calls after the game was tied. A McClement hook, followed by a Getzlaf dive mistaken for a trip, put the Leafs in a lengthy 3 on 5 situation without their best penalty killer. With some luck and Anaheim bobbles, the Leafs grabbed the momentum with a huge kill on the part of Bozak, Gunnarsson and Phaneuf. Dion was a warrior on that PK after taking a puck to the padless spot at the top of the knee. What a period this was from Dion, starting with a big hit in the corner on Palmieri, leading into his goal, followed by some stellar work on the 5 on 3.

7 – A few shifts after the kill, a good battle by Ranger, who was temporarily out there with Phaneuf, on the right board in the defensive zone forced a give away high in the zone. Kessel took off, held the puck on the 2 on 1, and fired a shot straight up, bar down, from in tight. Ridiculous shot.

Ranger’s decision making can be questionable and he takes bad angles some times, but he is a big, strong guy and handled Getzlaf well to start off that play.

8 – The game opened up in the third period as the Ducks ramped up the pressure trying to tie the game. I get pretty excited when games open up, knowing the Leafs are going to come out on the winning end of it more often than not. The Leafs, starting in the second period, were finding opportunities by capitalizing on mistakes off of aggressive plays by the Anaheim defence. This enabled the Leafs’ rush offense, which is what the Leafs do best.

Eight minutes into the final period, rookie defenceman Hampus Lindholm had pinched off the blueline and fell over, giving JvR the jump on a 2 on 1 with Kessel. JvR returned the favour on his 2 on 1 goal in the Ottawa game earlier in the season, setting up Phil for his hat trick after pulling it around Beauchemin and passing from his backhand. Peter Chiarelli was in the building, by the way (Thank you Boston). 4-2 Leafs.

After a relatively slow start in terms of goal production, Kessel is now at 5 goals in 10 games, and his dynamic duo with JvR is back intact after van Riemsdyk’s injury and a quiet game in Chicago.

9 – I thought Bernier was a little scrambly at points in the first 40, and if not for a bobble on the 5 on 3, and later a post, he would’ve been caught once or twice. He was great in the third period in helping close this win out for the Leafs. So too was the Leafs’ PK, which went 4 for 4 tonight – but we’ve almost come to expect that.

10 – This was a good win against the hottest team in the league coming into the game. The Leafs had a slow start, but managed to generate some offence off the rush and establish a bit more of a forechecking presence as the game wore on. It was the Leafs’ first game of the season with less than 30 shots allowed, conceding only 25 against a team that was generating over 37 a game coming into tonight. They were outshot by two, and score effects were at play in the third period. Maybe all Leafs fans can be happy with this win.

It’s been a story of highs and lows for this team in terms of the games within the games, with significant spells spent looking dreadful and getting totally outplayed, but the Leafs are now a very solid 7-3 through their first 10 and sit first place in the Atlantic Division. This despite injuries along the way to Kulemin, JvR, Fraser, and a suspension to Clarkson, which has now been fully served. Clarkson can now join the team in a more preferable situation – looking to complement a winning team with a good record rather than help lift the team out of a three-game losing slump.

Troy Bodie004:14-110001100
Dave Bolland0115:33100793210
Tyler Bozak0019:4320012123010
Cody Franson0120:33-110001133
Jake Gardiner0021:31010001222
Carl Gunnarsson0017:05002002400
Nazem Kadri0018:05-110492100
Phil Kessel3016:53240011013
Josh Leivo016:45100010000
Joffrey Lupul0019:12-100004101
Jay McClement0017:14012021010
Colton Orr009:26-140004100
Dion Phaneuf1024:10:00212006311
Paul Ranger0118:32212005212
Mason Raymond0020:56030032002
Morgan Rielly0018:34-130003201
Trevor Smith003:36-100230000
James van Riemsdyk0218:02222110102
Bryan Allen0017:32112004100
Francois Beauchemin0024:09:00-100001501
Nick Bonino1013:32130641101
Andrew Cogliano0015:33-110010010
Emerson Etem0110:39000000001
Cam Fowler0023:08-210001400
Ryan Getzlaf0021:44-120871011
Saku Koivu0014:55-110870011
Hampus Lindholm0018:58010000111
Ben Lovejoy0012:35-102003003
Pat Maroon0112:00130102101
Kyle Palmieri0010:45-130002000
Mathieu Perreault1016:430201641000
Corey Perry0020:11-114010001
Teemu Selanne0015:20-110211000
Jakob Silfverberg0114:59220000010
Sami Vatanen0119:35130003101
Daniel Winnik0013:31-100010001
Jonathan Bernier (5-3-0)W25230.9259:56:00
Jonas Hiller (4-1-0)L23190.82657:15:00
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of, 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]

The highlight of my night was having Chirelli in the stands watching Kessel score 3.

He will kick himself for trading Segin though.....I wish Nonis was in on those sweepstakes.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

here's what i was thinking last night:

- Bozak's work leading up to Kessel's 3rd goal, again un-noticed.  but he's always seemingly making the defensive stop just before one of his linemates gets some glory the other way

- Phaneuf willed the team to the win.  he was ready fromt he start, not just when the commentators decided to notice him.  he looked a league above the rest of his teammates in the first half of the game.

- Gunnar out to close out the game.  when Fraser returns i have to assume Rielly gets to sit one out just to breathe, then Ranger is the odd guy out.  coach trusts Gunnar as much as anyoen other than Phanny

- Henny funny asking Phanuef questions at the bench after the game, bringing up Phil re-signing...but not because he was asking Dion if he was going to


Here is one post from a Habs fan.

Because our veterans are pathetic
We are a one line team
our D is soft and can't win any battles
because after Eller we are weak down the middle
we can't drive the net with anybody taller than 5'7
Size does matter...except in Montreal
We've had the same issues for the last 20 years and nobody can address it


Just to add to your reading pleasure........visit a Habs board today.......boy oh boy, they are crying into their toilet seats today..........GO LEAFS GO!!!   BLOW HABS BLOW!!!!


Love the fact that Dion is getting some props from the media.  Our players deserve way more credit than they are given at times since we can be so harsh during times of failure.


If we all recall, at the beginning of the season, once Clarkson got the suspension, a lot of Toronto Media were saying the Leafs could start out badly and they could see us with a 3-7 record after these first 10 games.  Many on this site, even after our winning start said they would be happy with a 6-4 record.  

Really other than the Chicago game, we have been in EVERY game.  Take a look around the league and see how many teams can say they are in almost every game (maybe 5 teams).  We are 5th in goals for per game and 10th in goals against.  I like our chances to have a very special team that can do major damage in the playoffs.  We have the goaltending; we have the top 9 now... Dion is having his strongest year; Franson will get the kinks out and is an offensive threat; Ranger and Gards are improving daily.  I see Nonis making 1-2 key acquisitions by the deadline for us to take a major run this year.  


When are we guessing Mark Fraser will be ready to return?


Well we are ten games in and while our record is great, we know what we have seen is far from our best.  Last night was a releaf.  The improved play of Gardiner and Ranger are promising, and seeing Kessel breakout is very good news.  Over the next ten games hopefully we see injured players come back and find their stride.  The addition of Fraser, Kulemin, McLaren and Clarkson should be significant over the next 10 games. It should help us to be a team that has a little more courage and the ability to hit some bodies out there.

Rielly plays one more game and then I think he will sit for a few as we might get a look a TJ Brennan. When Fraser comes back it necessitate a decision. 

Once we get by the 20 game mark we should see what we have and the lineup should be set but for an injury or two.


Good Morning Gents......a great day to be a Leafer!........7-3 record to start the season, even with missing players, team is starting to work out the kinks and Clarkson's on deck.......GO LEAFS GO!!!


God I can't stand Alfredsson.


Conversely, other than the bottom 3 teams, the 10-27 teams shoot 6.5% to 10% (avg 8.2% roughly for the teams Bernier has faced).  So if the Leafs give up 35 shots a game, .. that is 2.87 goals per game against.  Bernier has been therefore way above average compared to the league using those types of stats.  Bernier has a 2.12 GAA and 936 Save %.. He has shows a true number 1 goalie contribution so far


@dlb eh Spot on with the Phanuef comment. Everyone mentions the 5 on 3 kill as the turning pint, but I think it was the Phanuef hit that started it all.

I wonder if Stevie Y noticed Phanuef shutting down 2 Team Canada players all night long. Plus, hitting and scoring.


@dlb eh Phaneuf, Fraser, Gardiner, Rielly, Gunnar, Ranger, Franson...That's a very good group of seven. Trust me there are teams that are envious. RC will push this group to get better...

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

- didn't feel we were bad in the first, just weren't good

- Colton Orr showed again that he is going to help than hurt in 8+ minutes a night, and that's without a fight

- Gardiner looked good a lot

- just over 13 minutes left in the 3rd, Kessel stepped up to force a dump in at centre. it was obvious the message was fresh in his mind. good for a lot of reasons. easy breakout.

- if i was team Canada GM, i'd have to go to the video to see what Perry and Getzlaf did last night. Phaneuf was the one to stand out. but he still won't get the respect he deserves. all the talk is Kessel's trick this morning, after all.


@TheCanucksnaphook Yeah I was a Dion skeptic myself, but these last couple of seasons he's really turned me into a believer. He's one of the few guys that advanced stats helped me to appreciate. Not a lot of defenders turn pro and produce the way he has.


@TheCanucksnaphook And it's we as fan's that are accused of being emotional. I think the MSM can be just as emotional in their reaction. Let's face it, as much as many MSM say they aren't fans of a particular team, that's BS. A lot of local MSM are Leaf fans.

Great Dane
Great Dane

@CanuckUKinToronto this is not a bad team at all. With Clarkson and Kulemin back it will be a lot better.

Still believe that we should only keep 3 of Phaneuf, Franson, Rielly and Gardiner. Reimer will probably be on the move as well at some point during the next year. Might move Gunnar for an upgrade there as well.

Then replace Bozak and you would have really competitive team


@Wilbur Seems like its going to be into November according to some reports yesterday . Kulie is probably closer to coming back.


@B_Leaf  That is the thing about Rielly, after playing the 9 games, we can test Brennan and see how he fits before deciding on Reilly.. I still think they will probably keep Rielly.  


@vinoa Please NEVER used advanced stats to back up my point.   Basically the end of humanity in my opinion.


@Mind Bomb @wendelsway1  And we continue to put points in the bank early in the season.. 

Big difference is our position to make the playoffs....  Going 7-3 and getting 14 pts (without giving up a lot of OT/shootout pts).. puts us in a very good position.

We will probably need 94 pts for guaranteed playoff spot.  So that would mean we need 80 pts in the remaining 72 games.  I think we finish over 100pts this year.  (earlier I had predicted 103).  If we had gone 3-7, we would have to get 88 pts in 72 games (ie. go 44 and 28  or 611% vs. now having to go 40 and 32 (555%).. .


@Loric76 @vinoa @TheCanucksnaphook Yeah last season he spent more than half his time with Kostka and Holzer. Pretty hard to be effective when you've got 2 AHLers on the top line. Where's the extension Nonis? You know you wanna do it!!


@vinoa @TheCanucksnaphook well said.  He goes up against the oppositions best and comes out on top more often than not.  All that while playing with plugs like Kosta and Holzer, and an injured Gunnerson.


@TheCanucksnaphook Hey I'm no fan of the Corsi and Fenwick crowds either, but Dion plays against some really tough competition. We fans have been so quick to knock him for giveaways and being flatfooted but how many defenders can consistently shutdown the Crosbys, Stamkos', Kanes of the NHL...not many and Dion's one of the best.