Game in 10: Game #13, Maple Leafs 4 at Oilers 0

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Phil Kessel
Photo: GETTY IMAGES/MapleLeafs.com

The Maple Leafs started their western road trip on the right note, putting away the Oilers 4-0. It was an impeccable road game, and possibly Toronto’s best work over sixty minutes this season. James Reimer tightened his grip on the starter’s role with a shutout and Phil Kessel moved into a tie for second in league scoring with four points.

1. One minute into the game, Raymond chips it up along the boards to Kadri, who almost immediately sends it to Kessel streaking down the middle of the ice. As the Edmonton defender falls to the ice behind him, Kessel calmly dekes Bachman and deposits his first goal of the night. To be fair, since Kadri’s role in this play was rapid deference of the puck to Kessel, we can’t snidely claim that Bozak would have done it differently. Regardless, if the two continue to make plays at this rate, you would think (and hope) that Carlyle will have a tough decision on his hands when Bozak returns.

2. One defender who has not had the greatest start to the season: Jake Gardiner. But Gardiner’s been coming along lately as he is clearly working very hard to cater his offensive inclinations to Randy Carlyle’s wishes. He’s been getting solid minutes – an indication that the coaching staff is liking his efforts in this respect. The two sides of Gardiner’s game were on display very early: he rushed the zone and made a play from behind the net to Lupul early in the first for a high-quality scoring chance. Later in the same period, he made a defensive stop directly in front of his net by tying up the opposition’s stick. Then, he flashed some snarl as he got upset with Nail Yakupov’s run on Reimer. Gardiner’s faults are nothing more than a highly-skilled defender learning the ropes of playing a two-way game from one of the best.

3. It seems some in Leafsland moved on rather quickly to the newest shiny young blueliner in Morgan Rielly, but the fact is that Rielly could experience very similar growing pains in the coming years. He’s continued to look strong and at the moment seems to have more poise with the puck and better decision making than Gardiner. But remember – Gardiner was an all-rookie defender in his first go around with the Leafs. Both of these players are extremely young at a position that typically sees maturity achieved at a later age. Patience and opportunity should be the mantra with these two blue chippers who even saw some time together at even strength in the third.

4. Yes, Mason Raymond is not going to light it up all season along. But there’s a reason that he will continue to be featured alongside Bolland on Carlyle’s shutdown line – he brings an underrated defensive presence. Obviously, his is not the bruising genre of defense. Rather, Raymond’s defense relies on speed, stickwork, and attentive effort, as evidenced by a stick-play he made in the first in front of James Reimer that could very well have stopped a goal.

5. Kessel and JVR sped down the ice early in the second to strike again, with JVR playing the role of scorer this time around. With JVR’s recent improvement in skating, both of these wingers are legitimate speedsters and will continue to devastate other teams for the rest of this season and beyond. Either player has the ability to pass or shoot with the best of them, making them a rare and lethal combination in this league.

6. There was a slight injury scare for Nazem Kadri in the second, alleviated when the feisty center came back to be part of yet another Kessel goal. Kadri hit Kessel in the neutral zone to gain entrance into the zone, retrieved it along the halfboards and then got a shot on net that was tipped off the boards by Phaneuf. The puck came to Kessel at the other side of the net who performed some quick magic with his hands to pot his second of the night, sending Joe Bowen into hysterics. Just another night at the office for one of the league’s very best.

7. Another defender that has been maligned in the early goings? Paul Ranger. Ranger deserves the same type of patience and opportunity that Gardiner and Rielly do – for different reasons. His game has also come along recently, apparent tonight as he took the body of a rushing Oiler late in the second period, retrieved the puck and decisively turned the play back around. We may be seeing the readjustment of Ranger’s game to the NHL level, likely helped along by the implied pressure of recalling John-Michael Liles.

8. David Clarkson is obviously still getting his game legs under him. This hasn’t stopped him from throwing his body with reckless abandon, but has been exemplified in his decision making offensively. He had two chances early in this game to just get puck on net (which is a trademark of his game) but chose other options instead. Then, late in the second, he willed it towards the Oilers crease and the Leafs almost scored as a result. As we’ve said all along – the goals will come for Clarkson, but he’s a welcome presence with a positive impact regardless.

9. Rielly almost got his first NHL goal tonight. Assisted by – who else – Kessel and Van Riemsdyk, it was a solid wrister to the top corner. Unfortunately, later review of the tally indicated that it deflected in off Nazem Kadri. Either way, with the quality of players surrounding him, Rielly will get his chances offensively this year and it will be a treat to watch him develop at the NHL level.

10. James Reimer isn’t making life any easier for Jonathan Bernier. The ball will be back in Bernier’s court tomorrow tonight but short of pitching a shutout and scoring a goal a la Mike Smith, there’s not much Bernier can do to take away the Vancouver start from Optimus Reim. Yes, these two are only making each other better and it will be a boon to the Leafs all season long.

One of the youngest teams in the league took it to another young squad tonight. Both teams have suffered through years without much success, but only one subscribed to a “true” rebuild in the “Pittsburgh or Chicago model” that many pundits decree as the only way to rebuild. The Leafs are an embodiment of the strong argument that there is no “one way” to do something in a sport as multifaceted and at-times unpredictable as hockey. Tomorrow, they’ll get a chance to continue to prove themselves against the Calgary Flames, who are now under the watch of the very man that was the architect of much of their own unconventional rejuvenation: Brian Burke.

VIDEO: Game in 6 Highlights | Randy Carlyle Post Game Presser

Leafs vs Oilers
Leafs / Oilers Shot Data Photo: ESPN

Maple Leafs vs. Oilers Boxscore - October 29, 2013

Leafs 4 vs. Oilers 0.
SCORING SUMMARY   
1ST PERIOD
1:08:00TORP. Kessel (8) Wrist shot - ASST: N. Kadri (6), M. Raymond (6)1 - 0 TOR
2ND PERIOD
1:41:00TORJ. van Riemsdyk (6) Wrist shot - ASST: P. Kessel (8)2 - 0 TOR
8:42:00TORP. Kessel (9) Wrist shot - ASST: D. Phaneuf (5), N. Kadri (7)3 - 0 TOR
3RD PERIOD
6:14:00TORN. Kadri (5) Deflected shot - ASST: M. Rielly (5), P. Kessel (9)4 - 0 TOR

Maple Leafs vs. Oilers Game Sheet - October 29, 2013

Maple Leafs 4 vs. Oilers 0.
NO.PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PP TOISH TOITOI
3D. PhaneufD0113001612-1:05:001:31:0019:11:00
4C. FransonD0001220112-0:55:000:00:0019:38:00
11J. McClementC000000221041%0:00:001:31:0016:45:00
12M. RaymondL0111020000-0:55:001:00:0019:23:00
15P. RangerD0000014002-0:00:000:29:0022:15:00
19J. LupulR0000040000-0:55:000:00:0016:24:00
21J. van RiemsdykL1013022000-1:05:000:59:0014:27:00
23T. SmithC000001430162%0:00:000:00:0010:33:00
28C. OrrR00001002000-0:00:000:00:008:00:00
36C. GunnarssonD0002010200-0:00:001:31:0018:59:00
37C. AshtonR0000011000-0:00:000:00:0015:08:00
38F. McLarenL0000003000-0:00:000:00:009:32:00
43N. KadriC123404010042%0:55:000:01:0016:31:00
44M. RiellyD0112002400-0:55:000:00:0020:12:00
51J. GardinerD0000211130-1:05:000:29:0020:01:00
63D. BollandC000002210128%1:05:000:28:0016:18:00
71D. ClarksonR0000024011-0:00:000:01:0017:36:00
81P. KesselC22440300210%1:05:000:00:0015:17:00
Goalie
NO.PLAYEREVPPSHSavesSV%PIMTOI
34J. Reimer (W) 4-0-038 - 385 - 50 - 043/431059:50:00
  • skiingallday

    WOOO GO LEAFS GO

  • Loric76

    skiingallday your studying made you miss one hell of a fun game

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/395395485164265472

  • Loric76

    DeclanK what a little competition does…

  • skiingallday

    Loric76 skiingallday I caught parts of it, and watched all the highlights already

  • loomx

    https://twitter.com/kevin_mcgran/status/395383603645132801
    But….But….he can’t hit the net!!

  • Loric76

    loomx while playing with plugs like Kosta and Holzer…

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Giordano not playing tomorrow…..as if that really makes a difference…

  • Wilbur

    Loric76 loomx and Gunnar 😉

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/SkinnyPPPhishhttps://twitter.com/SkinnyPPPhish/status/395396313551863808
    In the 2 games w/o Bozak the JVR-Kadri-Kessel line has 6 goals, 7 assists, 13 points.

  • ReimNier

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DRIVING THE LEAFS BANDWAGON DRIVING OVER YOU WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Denied

    Oh no ‘C’algary tomorrow, we need to overcome this “C” thing!!

  • Loric76

    wiski see what happens when they don’t play Miley Cyrus in the locker room?

  • wiski

    Good game in 10 Nik they seemed to take the foot off the gas in the third though.

  • Nikhil Daljeet

    wiski 
    Yeah I agree, partly playing a little more defensively and also partly due to giving the lower lines more ice time so the big boys are fresh for tomorrow

  • sniperstar

    Loric76 wiski But Kessel can’t stop. He won’t stop.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    ‘nother great game in 10. Thanks for grabbing it, NIk.

  • Wilbur

    Gardiner needs to learn to pass the puck more. He often rags it too long. Sometimes he needs to stick handle it once or twice in the Ozone and then make the quick pass but he stick handles it 4, 5, 6 times. While it’s great to skate the puck out of trouble in your own end there are numerous time when he could move the puck quickly up ice by passing it instead of carrying it. Everyone always talks about him needing to improve his defensive game but I see room for improvement in his offensive game.

  • LeafsForLife

    Thanks for the game in 10 Nik! Great job!

  • LeafsForLife

    I especially like the coments about Gardiner and Rielly! Dead on about blue chip prospects and need to be patient!

  • Nikhil Daljeet

    LeafsForLife 
    Thanks for reading LFL

  • Burtonboy

    Crippers Dion is now + 10

  • lucjen75

    loomx Just disgusts me how the rest of the hockey world wants to routinely throw this man under the bus for being an excellent hockey player.

  • Wilbur

    Kadri’s pass on Kessel’s first goal was a beauty…

  • loomx

    Burtonboy Only Gunnar played fewer minutes tonight. He’s gonna score tomorrow. :)

  • lucjen75

    wiski Fuck.Me….

  • Steve

    We’ll be out in force tomorrow night, everyone. Time to paint the Saddledome blue.

  • Wilbur

    While Calgary is no great shakes they are a hard working team that plays a different game than the Oilers. Leafs better be ready to work tomorrow night…

  • LeafsForLife

    CanuckUKinToronto Its funny so many thought Kessel would not be able to score under Carlyle’s system.

  • GreekGod

    Wilbur 
    I get what you are saying but so far Gardiner has been smooth. At this rate, kid is going to be a beast by the end of the season. He’s gaining more and more confidence

  • Wilbur

    Tell me Dion isn’t worth 7 x 7…

  • LeafsForLife

    Wilbur I agree but i think we will see Clarkson’s first goal as a Leaf!

  • Zep2

    I missed the 1st period and a half. the 3rd period speaks for itself and Riemer was great, But the 2nd period hilites showed a number of Oiler shots and they were just that, nothing spectacular .
    I guess the point Im trying to make, is that Corsi and Fenwick stats will indicate that this another game the Leafs were lucky to win.

  • Wilbur

    GreekGod Wilbur I don’t disagree. He’s playing well and I see room for improvement in his overall game. Patience is in order and we’ll be rewarded…

  • Reversethecurse67

    Did someone mention Bill Watters today?
    https://twitter.com/Jeffler https://twitter.com/Jeffler/status/395395018388545536
    “I don’t think (Kessel) is a player most teams need on their roster.” -https://twitter.com/RealBillWatters, March 2012

  • Loric76

    Reversethecurse67 lol he’s on a rampage

  • GreekGod

    Loric76 Reversethecurse67 
    Hahahaha I know… and I love it

  • Pent_House

    Gardiner was great tonight. I’ve really come to the conclusion that 1 on 1 Ranger is an absolute take-away beast, and also along the boards take-away beast. Not great with the puck, and without the puck makes some horrible reads in coverage some times. He’s like the gift and the curse.

  • Coldincowtown

    Wilbur Totally agree Wilbur, I live in Calgary. They have been coming out flying and have caught a bunch of teams by surprise. Good speed and aggressive. Our boys need to be ready or it will be a rough start.

  • LeafsForLife

    Nikhil Daljeet LeafsForLife YW

  • Cameron19

    Wow is it Reimer and Bernier don’t merit ANY mention whatsoever in the Team Canada goalie conversation? I mean, I understand why they might want Luongo over them, simply for the experience factor, but Christ….Mike Smith???

  • Zep2

    Wilbur Yeah , I was thinking the same.
    There will be a bit more testosterone in the Saddledome
    Still like our chances though

  • Loric76

    GreekGod Loric76 Reversethecurse67 lol me too.  We all know Toronto MSM are a bunch of circle jerkers, but it’s fun anyway

  • Loric76

    Cameron19 you mean experience letting in softies or experience losing outright?

  • Reversethecurse67

    Loric76 Reversethecurse67 oh, he’s killin it! How does the MSM sleep at night knowing they say this kind of shit?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Game never being in question allowed Carlyle to keep Kessel, Kadri, JvR at 14-16 mins so they’re fresh for tmrw.

  • Burtonboy

    Alec Brownscombe Same with his top defensemen too

  • Loric76

    the ONLY downer tonight is that Lupul didn’t light it up.  His turn tomorrow.

  • Cameron19

    Reversethecurse67 He’s embarrassing himself, that geriatric fuck!

  • Wilbur

    And are we not at the point where we can all agree that neither Reimer nor Bernier should be shipped out of town anytime in the near future. Can we at least give it until the off-season or next season?