Leafs Nation woke up this Sunday morning with the Leafs in first place in the Eastern Conference standings after a redeeming effort against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night on Hockey Night in Canada. For a few hours, anyway – Tampa Bay could take over the Conference lead with a win today over Florida.
A certain level of production will be expected of David Clarkson given his pay stubs, but his ability to impact a game without showing up on the scoresheet was on full display last night. The Davids of Mimico led Leaf forwards in ice time with 21-22 minutes, as Carlyle leaned heavily on Clarkson and Bolland’s ability to close out a game and refusal to give up an inch of ice. Clarkson led all skaters with eight hits.
Bolland’s line, along with the Phaneuf and Gunnarsson pairing, kept Crosby off the scoresheet and in customary losing form complaining to the referees, while Franson and Kadri took on the Malkin assignment; Malkin was quiet but did notch a powerplay assist.
A lunchpail third line of Carter Ashton, Jay McClement and Colton Orr received around 11 minutes of ice time as they brought a simplified but effective effort, consistently mucking it up in the right end of the rink and getting the better of the Penguins’ bottom two lines. Not that this combination should be a third line fixture under ideal (i.e. healthier) circumstances, but credit to all three players for last night’s effort. Ashton in particular took advantage of an opportunity to not only play but play in the top 9, impacting the game more than he did at any point in his first stint on the team with some strong work on the boards.
Let’s be sure to mention that the Leafs likely aren’t even in the position to go win the game with a big third period if not for James Reimer’s heroics in a 16-save second period in which the Leafs were quadrupled on the shot count. Two consecutive pad saves with Pascal Dupuis wide open off a 2 on 1 were unquestionably the MLHS Turning Point. And what more needs to be said of the combination of JvR and Kessel in terms of their talent levels and telepathic chemistry.
Sunday morning discussion point: With Lupul sounding probable for Tuesday and Bozak out at least for the next three games, how do you see this lineup shaping up for this week’s Western road trip? Does Lupul obviously join Bolland and Clarkson on line two? Or perhaps Ashton and McClement on line three (assuming Kulemin’s still out)?
Thanks to Tim (@tj_bayer) for putting together this morning’s links…
Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nazem Kadri makes the most of top-line opportunity in win over Pittsburgh Penguins
I’m pretty OK with Kadri at first line center for the next few games. From Michael Traikos of the National Post.
Shoalts: Leafs get shutdown effort from Bolland and Phaneuf
Crosby gets Phaneuf’d. From David Shoalts of The Globe and Mail.
Maple Leafs’ Bozak out 7-10 days with lower body injury
This news came across the wire after the game.
Maple Leafs getting the best out of Bolland
Carlyle continues to gush about how much of a pro this guy is.
Exploring David Clarkson’s Toronto roots
David Clarkson revisits his Etobicoke roots. Video from CBC Sports.
VIDEO: Minnesota players celebrate goal, get helmets stuck together
This isn’t Leafs-related, but it’s pretty funny nonetheless. From Chris Peters of CBS Eye On Hockey.
With tonight’s trade, the Sabres will now have a combined 17 first- and second-round picks over a four-year span from 2012-2015 – the most in the 43-year history of the Sabres’ franchise.
The picks breakdown as follows:
1st round: Mikhail Grigorenko (12th overall), Zemgus Girgensons (14th)
2nd round: Jake McCabe (44th overall)
1st round: Rasmus Ristolainen (8th), Nikita Zadorov (16th)
2nd round: J.T. Compher (35th), Connor Hurley (38th), Justin Bailey (52nd)
1st round: 2 picks (own, NYI- Vanek trade)
2nd round: 3 picks (own, MINN- Pominville trade, LA- Regehr trade)
1st round: 1 pick (own)
2nd round: 3 picks (own, LA- Regehr trade, NYI- Vanek trade)
Late game anyone? Tough call on Frattin– goaltender interference on the go-ahead goal for the Kings, well outside of the crease. Right call?
Crap. Was just looking on Sportsnet and read that Regier has already implied that he made the trade so that he had Moulson to flip as a pending UFA at the deadline. So he's going to get a 1st, a 2nd, PLUS whatever he gets for Moulson ( a three time 30 goal scorer only making a little more than 3 mil-so no cap worries) at the deadline. Buck Fuffalo!
I see Kessel-Bolland-JVR, Lupul-Kadri-Raymond, if Kulemin is still out.
Remember the haters saying Kessel can't play without Mark Savard?
Terrible trade for the Isles. Especially when fans on there site keep saying they don't need more forwards.. but defence men. Giving up a 1st + 2nd + Moulson for a guy who is heavily rumoured to be heading to Minnesota this summer is just dumb move by Snow IMO. Especially when they are weak on the back end.
Anybody think that Liles will be targeted by Snow now considering he won't be looking to give up much if not anything for a defence man?
Also, how you guys feel about a trade with Buffalo that involves Ott for Bozak?
WOW! I am totally stunned. I would have never thought that Snow would EVER make a trade like this. He has a history of only making trades that are hugely lopsided for them or not at all. Now, he hugely overpays for an upcoming UFA. I can only assume that Wang has implied that the move to the Barclays Center means that the the potential for increased revenue will result in an easing up of the shackles regarding the team's internal cap.
Either way, I just don't see Vanek as that much of an upgrade over Moulson to make giving up the picks worth it. They have added at most 5-10 goals a season. AT MOST. And you know that it will cost them more to keep Vanek then it would have to keep Moulson. Not to mention the age difference between the two. I hate seeing Buffalo make another killing selling off their vets after the ludicrous overpayments they already received for Gaustad, Pominiville, etc.
@leafmealone I would've at least wanted a good young player in a deal for a guys who has 500 points in his career. If he waited until the deadline he might've got way more. Think about it this way, the difference between the Paul Gaustad trade and the Tomas Vanek trade is Moulson and a 2nd.
@leafmealone snows an idiot too
@-Keon- got some talent coming in the tears to come. Conner brown has been doing very well also.
I remember reading that chatter a few years ago them someone in Boston put up a YouTube of every goal he scored as a Bruin. There was absolutely no indication that that rumour was true. He and Savard played well together, but most of the goals looked the same as the ones he has scored in Toronto.
@GreekGod I don't get it. IMO it's a horrible deal for Buffalo and a great deal for the Isles(if they re-sign Vanek of course). It'll likely be a later 1st in a week draft, Moulson is a pending UFA turning 30 next year. Vanek is the same age but much more likely to be hitting 30g, 70 pts in his mid-thirties. Obviously if he walks it's horrible, but the Isles still have plenty of assets to acquire one of the Anaheim goalies.
@GreekGod IMO, horrible trade. Simply horrible.
@mike_84 Where is the Girardi talk coming from? Are the Rags shopping him?
@rustynail I think D'Amigo should go as Wolverine as he already has the natural facial hair for it. And as good as the Link costume is, wearing it in public is like walking around with a billboard that reads "I'm a bottom". lol
@Pent_House Are they playing FLA a lot?
@-Keon- fantastic *takes sip from scotch glass
@-Keon- Nice work if you can get it? lol
@-Keon- Boo hoo, cry me a river. lol Try working 360 nights a year.
@-Keon- Seriously? I know he took longer to get to the NHL than Vanek (almost 600 games vs. 333), but I really thought Vanek was a few years older to boot.
Meh, doesn't really change my opinion in the least. Terrible trade for the Islanders.
@-Keon- If you mean me, then most certainly. This is the most time I've had to get on here in months pretty much. Sometimes that's the problem with working for yourself. But, I made that change so that I could avoid job related stress as well, so I fully understand how giving up some cash can be worth it in the long run.
Sucks about working through most of the games, but I'm sure you'll watch 'em all on PVR or something. I know I definitely still make time to watch all the games. I sense good things to come this season as the team continues to figure it out. Being able to win when not playing at your best is a great sign, and the team chemistry seems to be better than ever.
@-Keon- Happy to hear of the new job, and the improvement in work related stress. Cheers man.
@-Keon- ahhh cool Congrats. I see why you were bitter so often. Its a win win, we get less Keon :)
@mike_84 Sorry, I was thinking right handed D. :-)
Problem is Snow will have to give Vanek quite the deal to stay. Considering that he's UFA and has been heavily rumoured to be wanting to play home next season in Minnesota.
Islander fans touched up on this matter just now and said what kind of message are we sending to our team when Snow penny pinches everyone and opens the bank for Vanek??
@ingy56 @Optimustic @mike_84 @Pent_House I didn't see the game on Friday, so I can't say for sure, but I know what you mean. I taped the game and would have watched it later, but someone told me that it wasn't a good result. As soon as I found out we lost, I knew I wasn't going to watch it with any interest so I skimmed through the game.