Game in 10: Game #12, Maple Leafs 4 vs. Penguins 1

Game in 10: Game #12, Maple Leafs 4 vs. Penguins 1

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Toronto bounced back from a defeat in Columbus last night in a big way with a win against the Penguins. The Leafs found their physical game and put forth a strong effort across the board on their way to a 4-1 victory.

1. The Leafs came out with one of their best first periods of the season. The reason? It could be playing up to the level of their opponents, or the absence of a certain defensively-capable, offensively-culpable center. But the jump in their game was in large part due to their renewed physicality.

2. Toronto lost a hitting machine in Komarov – a move that was somewhat offset by the inclusion of Clarkson, Bolland and more time for some of the kids (Ashton, Broll, et al.). Yet with injuries to players such as Kulemin, Fraser and McLaren, the Leafs had been noticeably less physical to start the season. The return of Clarkson and a stretch of poor play has apparently got the rest of the team engaged, something that clearly occured both physically and mentally as they took it to the Penguins for large stretches of the night.

3. With respect to Clarkson, he trotted out his trademark game tonight. He finished checks early and often, was strong along the boards, and did what he could to get pucks to net (prettiness be damned). One of his checks resulted in an injury to Pens blueliner Rob Scuderi that in turn prompted a McLaren-Engelland scrap. A simple display of how agitation and physicality can escalate into a situation that prompts team-wide motivation. This type of play is contagious as the Leafs were relentless with their checking all night long.

4. After Pittsburgh put one away with their first powerplay, Dave Bolland scored yet another big goal by answering with a shorthanded goal on Pittsburgh’s next crack with the man advantage. Bolland has been rejuvenated after an off-season last year with added responsibility on this young Toronto team.  Bolland played the role of shutdown center to perfection on Crosby (as Phaneuf did on defence), capping it off with an empty net goal.

5. Surprisingly, with Tyler “but he’s good at faceoffs” Bozak out of the lineup, the Leafs held their own in the faceoff circle against Crosby, Malkin and company. Clearly not much can be said decisively after one game, but perhaps it will show Coach Carlyle that there is potential for life without Bozak cemented onto the first line.

6. If Toronto not imploding defensively without Bozak doesn’t convince Carlyle to give Kadri an extended look on the top line, perhaps #43′s go-ahead goal to open the third will. Kadri finished off a play set up by Kessel with the pizzazz of a player that is actually on the same level skill-wise as his two star wingers. Shortly after, Nazem tried a gutsy bank move that didn’t land but yet again flashed creativity. The potential is there for a lethal first line. Carlyle’s concerns about Kadri’s game against top players on the other team are of course understandable – but for the love of god – throw him out there with JVR and Kessel regularly and let him grow.

7. James Reimer has fought tooth and nail for the crease since landing in Toronto. Nobody should ever write him off because he certainly won’t. Given the tougher of two matchups in this back-to-back set, Reimer came out with the decisively better performance. Per Carlyle, the ball should be firmly back in his court.

8. After Reimer helped the team weather a storm in the second, the Leafs came back out aggressively in the third. Starting with the Kadri goal and continuing with an uptempo forecheck, the team look determined to finish off the conference-leading Pens. The coach and the players have all been vocal about the difference between winning games and playing the type of game they want to. They took a big step in the right direction tonight in returning to the physical, defensively-sound hockey that they displayed for most of last season.

9. Kessel scored again in the dying minutes of the third, giving him five goals and six points in his last three games. With a full year alongside JVR and their developing chemistry, Phil will threaten the 40 goal mark this campaign. A truly special player.

10. Toronto got some good news on the injury front tonight as a CT scan on Lupul came back clear. Lupul, Kulemin and Fraser should all be returning in the near future, finally giving the Leafs a chance to field their full lineup. That they’ve done this well with so many regulars in and out of the nightly roster bodes well for the club going forward.

The Leafs head out on their yearly Western Canadian trip starting Tuesday in Edmonton. In years past, this has been the unraveling point for some of the weaker iterations of this franchise. Considering the current state of all four of the teams involved, that won’t be happening this time around.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Pittsburgh Penguins Boxscore

October 26th, 2013 TOR 4 - PIT 1
Scoring Summary
 
 
 
1ST PERIOD
6:52PITPPG - K. Letang (1) Snap shot - ASST: E. Malkin (7), P. Martin (3)1 - 0 PIT
16:33TORSHG - D. Bolland (5) Slapshot - ASST: D. Phaneuf (4)1 - 1 Tie
2ND PERIOD
NONE
3RD PERIOD
1:26TORN. Kadri (4) Backhand shot - ASST: P. Kessel (7), J. van Riemsdyk (5)2 - 1 TOR
17:05TORPPG - P. Kessel (7) Wrist shot - ASST: J. van Riemsdyk (6), C. Franson (9)3 - 1 TOR
19:18TOREN - D. Bolland (6) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE4 - 1 TOR

Game Sheet
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
TORONTO STATISTICS
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
James Reimer (3-0-0)W38370.97460:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Carter Ashton0011:34010003000
Troy Bodie003:51010001000
Dave Bolland2022:3923217142010
David Clarkson0021:01020007000
Cody Franson0116:36110005012
Jake Gardiner0020:34100005000
Carl Gunnarsson0020:16112000401
Nazem Kadri1019:46140594011
Phil Kessel1117:39212000102
Jay McClement0017:541001273000
Frazer McLaren003:48015001101
Colton Orr0010:04010002000
Dion Phaneuf0125:38:00120001411
Paul Ranger0019:00132004111
Mason Raymond0023:06140001111
Morgan Rielly0016:04100001012
Trevor Smith003:21000332000
James van Riemsdyk0220:32150003010
PITTSBURGH STATISTICS
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Marc-Andre FleuryÊ(7-2-0)L29260.89758:43:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Craig Adams0010:09040011200
Sidney Crosby0023:33-23212182100
Matt D'Agostini0013:01-140001010
Pascal Dupuis0019:03050000200
Deryk Engelland009:04005000100
Tanner Glass0012:58000004100
Jussi Jokinen0014:38-322010101
Chuck Kobasew0014:26010003210
Chris Kunitz0019:27-140001000
Kris Letang1025:40:00-250002005
Olli Maatta0014:40020004101
Evgeni Malkin0119:46-322130012
Paul Martin0125:33:00-310002311
Matt Niskanen0017:16000001001
Brooks Orpik0019:55-112000300
Rob Scuderi007:26000001102
Brandon Sutter0017:030101174000
Joe Vitale009:48030970100

Nikhil has been writing for MLHS since the site launched in 2008. He misses talking about Mats Sundin and is currently entrenched in enemy territory (Boston) pursuing a doctoral degree. Contact Nikhil here: [email protected]
735 comments
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

Wake n' vape!!

Good game last night folks.  Lovin' the Clarkson factor (and it's contagious).

JWaterdrager
JWaterdrager

What about Jerred Smithson? Option to sign him for C depth right now? 

JWaterdrager
JWaterdrager

Leafs are 25th in times shorthanded(47 times), but 2nd in times shorthanded in the 3rd period(7 times). 30th in 1st period shorthanded, with 24 times. 

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

Huh - who would have ever foreseen that we might need some depth down the middle when we traded Colborne for basically nothing?  

Jay31
Jay31

@dlb eh I like that lineup a lot, but i don't think we're going to get to see it. I don't think they'll put Bozak there because of his cap hit. 

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

I thought you've been doing barn chores all morning? What with all that shit you've been shovelling on here...

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Good Afternoon, Bon.....Clarkson's a beauty!  Had to laugh when I read a comment linked to the Cox article this morning.......A  Leafs "fan" doesn't like Clarkson because he hurt Scuderi and feels that, with the kind of physical game that Clarkson plays, he sees him injuring more players this season, which isn't a good thing.....WTF?      He's the kind of player I'd much rather have on our team than have to play against.......Too Physical?....Fuck right off!!

Sundin_13
Sundin_13

@TheCanucksnaphook The Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and fell in six games in the 2013 Cup Finals, thanks in part to those two first-round picks—Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton.

LMAOOOO

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@JWaterdrager 

He will fuck up our average age and slow us down from being one of the youngest teams in the league.

whalz
whalz

Awful idea, they won't bring up an offensive guy to put him on a 4th line playing 5mins a game. 4th liners are usually pluggers hence the reason Smith is there...they want to give Mckeeg time to develop properly and try to give him as many mins with the marlies.

Jantz
Jantz

@Knights2Leafs He had a brutal camp and we were out of options with him. Would have sent the wrong message to the team to keep him over more deserving candidates like Ashton.

I was really hoping for a big season from him but he fell flat on his face.

Cloud09
Cloud09

@Knights2Leafs Bad camp or not he was the Leafs only real option down the middle and now Nonis is probably gonna have to go out and get another one at some point. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Knights2Leafs Hey, he showed nothing in a few pre-season games, so obviously the only logical thing to do was to assume his career was over

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@wendelsway1 @Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 

The funny thing is that without scoring a point last night he might have been our most valuable player.  Yes, I miss Leo, but I'd rather have Clarkson all day long.  He has really impressed me with his speed and skillset so far.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Sundin_13 @TheCanucksnaphook Players who were more important to their winning than Seguin and Hamilton;

-

Lucic, Krejci, Bergeron, Horton, Marchand, Kelly, Peverley, Chara, Seidenberg, Boychuk, Thomas, Rask.

-

lol

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

They still won a cup so don't laugh too hard lol

whalz
whalz

Thats the plan IMO, he missed training camp so let him get Into game shape and prove his worth..

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jantz @Knights2Leafs Brutal is such a gigantic exaggeration  It is nothing more than an attempt to justify the decisions that were made.  No different than the people who pretend that Grabovski was 'garbage' for years before we moved him.  Did he have a good camp?  No. But if you were hoping for a big season from him, then hey, crazy idea, maybe we should have seen how the season went

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Cloud09 @Knights2Leafs This is part of the Carlyle effect.  For all the good he does, he also does things like this.  Even though it made FAR more sense to just send Ashton down and tell him he's the first call-up, we had to give him the spot because he 'earned' it over the stretch of a few pre-season games.  This is where Burke would have stepped in said 'body of work counts for something too.'

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@Cameron19 @Knights2Leafs 

And I get that Ashton earned a spot but the bottom line was there were going to be injuries ( and who would have guessed the suspension) but Ashton would have been called back up soon enought.

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

He has 0 assists on the marlies so far this year lol.

He isn't ready yet.

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@Pent_House @Burtonboy

Yes but the thing is as good a center as McKegg was in junior, Bolland was just as good.  It makes more sense for an established Bolland to be playing top 6 than trying to see if McKegg might be a fit.

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@dlb eh

RC does have a habit of liking or not liking players and then not giving them a chance to show what they have.  I see this more as Nonis bowing to RC's wishes short term rather than look at the long term effects.

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@MaxwellHowe 

Nah, it wasn't the money.  It's cause Joe's not an RC kind of guy and Ashton played like a demon in the preseason.  Agreed that it was a big mistake especially given our complete lack of C depth in the Marlies.  We have Ashton type players coming out our ying yang.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

I hate that I missed this debate because I think trading Colborne was an awful mistake. Trying for years to find a big C who might flourish into a #1 and we traded big Joe for nothing. His showing at the training camp was not as bad as many pretend. Watch him now. All for the big savings of $600 000.

Guys, come back here. I'm not finished lecturing you yet

Jantz
Jantz

@Cameron19 @Jantz @Knights2Leafs Fair enough but big Joe is the one to blame. If we had a weaker team then he would have been given a spot by default. There have been plenty of stories questioning his passion and love of the game so I can only assume that Management had seen enough.

WendelGilmour
WendelGilmour

@Cloud09 @WendelGilmour @Knights2Leafs The common belief was he would be on the roster as either 4th line C, or 3rd line winger. My point is he didn't show any compete at all, and guys like Ashton stole a spot by competing hard.

Jantz
Jantz

@Cameron19 @Jantz @Cloud09 @Knights2Leafs Agreed. I still have a little hope that good teams who lose a good PMD to long term injury will still take Liles off our hands. How much salary we retain is clearly unknown. Liles can still be a good player in this league but I certainly have less faith now then I did 3 months ago that we can somehow make a decent trade for him.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Jantz @Cameron19 @Cloud09 @Knights2Leafs Nonis isn't a perfect GM.  Just because he didn't have faith in someone doesn't make that the correct evaluation. He also thought he could trade Liles, but now we have 3 million in dead cap there on top of the 2.5 million we'd racked up before that little blunder.

-

I'm not bashing Nonis - I think overall he knows his stuff  But to defend every decision he makes just because he's generally got the hang of things isn't really fair either. 

Jantz
Jantz

@Cameron19 @Cloud09 @Knights2Leafs If Nonis had faith in him then he would still be here. All part of the Asset management, he had a spot wrapped up and on a 1 way deal and he couldn't have played any worse.Not looking back on him now.

Knights2Leafs
Knights2Leafs

@dlb eh @Knights2Leafs 

If they were duking it out for a top 6 spot then that might make sense. But Ashton was never going to be put in role of being a big difference make this year so it made way more sense to keep both players.

Jay_Berg
Jay_Berg

Steen actually had a good season. Colborne has not and his potential is nowhere near

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@TheCanucksnaphook @wendelsway1 @Knights2Leafs I agree  but I do feel that players have to earn their spots and to me Ashton did just that.  Really wish there would have been a way to keep Colborne in the system.....big Cman that is still developing and should not be written off just yet.  He is/will be a NHL player