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

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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.

PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
TORONTO
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
ANAHEIM
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
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
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Jonathan Bernier (5-3-0)W25230.9259:56:00
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Jonas Hiller (4-1-0)L23190.82657:15:00
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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 brownscombealec@gmail.com.
  • GreekGod

    Gardiner owned the ice at various points in this game. Kid is finding his form from the playoffs last season… and that’s not easy to do considering he’s paired with Ranger. I think Franson needs to do less as well and find his game. Great come back by the boys tonight!!

  • LeafsGuru

    Clarkson is back next game should be interesting to see what he will do first night out

  • Optimustic

    It’s so nice to have won a game against a good opponent.  Monkey off the err ….  MSM off the back of the team for a while.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392833859009511424
    Carlyle on Kessel: ‘If you look where the goals were scored from, a lot different from where the shots were coming from [over last 2, 3 GP]’

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392835217859178497
    What will Kessel remember about 4th career hat trick? “JVR made two great passes to me & I was lucky to bury both of them.”

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392835435740663809
    Kessel: “Of love the city, I love the fans (pause) a good night.”

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/392837481386610688
    Leafs allow 25 shots tonight, fewest against this season and first time all year under 30.

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392835748732223488
    JVR on Kessel’s 2nd goal: “No goalie is going to stop that.”

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392835984359829504
    Bernier on Kessel: ‘You can tell when he gets going our team gets going too’

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    Jmessih can’t believe MSM used to try and say he was a cancer in the dressing room

  • Jmessih

    The_Polish_Cannon Jmessih They are a bunch of terds. The team LOVES him and he really appreciates ALL his teammates you can hear it in his voice when he speaks. He really treats them like brothers.

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/randynumbershttps://twitter.com/randynumbers/status/392828451150761984
    This will be the second time this season that the https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hash overcome a 2-goal deficit to win a game. They had zero such games last season.

  • Jmessih

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392838208842510337
    What was Kessel thinking when hats were thrown on ice & fans chanted his name? “I love the city, I love the fans (pause) … a good night.”

  • lilgrnmen17

    those 2 snipes by Kessel, oh my. Hopefully this game and returning bodies kickstarts this team

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    need the horse that is Kuli back in the line-up….Fraser kickin ass infront of the net and on the boards, and Clarkson’s crazy face

  • B_Leaf

    It was good to see JVR fully recovered from his back issues

  • Zep2

    rustynail You cant count the Leafs out of any game, if they put in the effort.

  • Jmessih

    rustynail Learned from game 7. It was tough at the time but the team and most of us fans knew they would learn from it. Kadri said something like “I know this hurts and sucks now but I truly believe it will make us better in the future”

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/392837682776137728
    When did Carlyle realize team was tense? “When you’re group can’t make a 20-foot pass to someone who’s wide open”

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Leafs top half of the league in goals against. That’s the biggest area of improvement they need this year. Hope that continues. 
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/standings.htm?season=20132014&sort=standingsGoalsAgainst&type=LEA

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/OptimistReimhttps://twitter.com/OptimistReim/status/392838160972926976
    https://twitter.com/PKessel81 had a press box full of kids fighting cancer witness his 3 goals tonight. Hard to believe but,he does his best work off the ice.

  • Komas Taberle

    Scabs lose 4-3

  • rustynail

    karma

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    rustynail thats the good stuff!

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Komas Taberle yay

  • leafsince93

    is it me or this was colton orr ‘s best gm ? he was responsible defensively, physical and drew a penatly.

  • Zep2

    Rielly and Ranger with more ice time than Gunnar.

  • Komas Taberle

    rustynail This is why I love hockey players!

  • rustynail

    leafsince93 Orr’s game is largely underappreciated

  • Komas Taberle

    leafsince93 And he should have scored too!

  • leafsince93

    Komas Taberle yea..had a grt chance, pass from JMac

  • LeafsForLife

    Komas Taberle leafsince93 Dont put too much pressure on the guy, he might get in a fight…

  • Alec Brownscombe

    leafsince93 Full credit for that shift that earned the PP that got the Leafs going. Love that stuff from a 4th line.

  • Jmessih

    It was great to see Dion lay someone out tonight

  • leafsince93

    Alec Brownscombe he takes lot of crap for his place on this team so i love it when his contribution is recognized

  • Burtonboy

    Jmessih TSN turning point ?

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Burtonboy Jmessih its my turning point for sure

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy Jmessih mine was that shift by the 4th line

  • Jmessih

    Dangle_My_Berries Burtonboy Jmessih I see it as that as well, I didn’t watch the game I followed blogs and stuff but sure felt like it. Saw the hit tho, beauty

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Shift_Disturber1 The first wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it was getting made out to be. The shots thing is being a MSM narrative now.

  • vji67

    Zep2 I was worried about that too, but Gunnar leads the team in SH TOI/G and doesn’t play any PP minutes, so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  • Waiting4LSC

    Guys, missed the game. Any reason why Phil’s minutes are lower than one might expect? Thanks.

  • rustynail

    Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 definitely but they did look tight as drums til that 1st Leaf goal

  • vji67

    Zep2 TOI stats for the 10 GP so far: http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20142TORDADALL&sort=avgShortHandedTOIPerGame&viewName=timeOnIce

  • Alec Brownscombe

    rustynail Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 The first 5 minutes in the 2nd was terrible

  • Cameron19

    Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 They were having a real hard time making decent passes though.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 agree, Anaheim had 6 shots, all of which where from just inside the blue. Its all spin, the leafs actually played a much more puck support game in the first then id seen all season so far.

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 Good god Alec …shots aside it was terrible .

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 Everyone was going nuts about the Leafs only taking 2 shots in the fist but the Ducks only had 6 and average like the highest shots per game in the league.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jmessih Alec Brownscombe Shift_Disturber1 It was a shitty period in general