Game in 10: Game #14, Leafs 4 vs. Flames 2

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Photo: NHLI VIA GETTY IMAGES

The Leafs are the first team in the East to hit the 10-win mark thanks to a 4-2 win in Calgary. It was far from pretty, but in second leg of a back to back on the road, these are two points the Leafs will happily pocket before hitting the road further West to Vancouver for what will be their stiffest test of the road trip. The Leafs will remain top of the East thanks to two shorthanded goals (JvR, Ranger), David Clarkson’s first point as a Leaf (on Raymond’s goal), and a powerplay (basically) goal from Joffrey Lupul.

Game in 6 Highlights | Carlyle Post Game | Fancy Stats Summary

1 – Greg Cronin spoke about the coaching staff’s confusion surrounding the Leafs’ poor first periods before the game. He didn’t think the Leafs played well despite holding lead after 20 minutes in Edmonton. Different Albertan rink, same result: The Leafs were up 2-0 after one and it wasn’t representative of the run of play.

Leafs were under siege at five on five for much of the first, but Kadri-Kessel-JvR did have a few good shifts. They weren’t on the ice for the goal ultimately, but drew the penalty that helped open the scoring for the Leafs. It wasn’t the prettiest breakout leading up to the powerplay, but it worked. Phaneuf played it into an empty corner as both teams changed; Kadri came back to retrieve in the corner and got some good fortune as his soft ring on the boards made it up to Kessel. If the D is in control of the puck, sometimes one of JvR or Kessel will go straight to the other team’s blueline for the stretch option. These gaps in the breakout can get the Leafs in trouble some times, but they do have their time and place. It led to a powerplay as JvR took a slash from Dennis Wideman.

Some patient movement by the second PP unit, with Raymond, Gardiner and Kadri playing catch, eventually led to a point shot from Gardiner that bounded out front. After a couple whacks at it, Lupul deposited his seventh of the season to make it 1-0. Ramo was just kind of chilling to the side of the net waiting to see what was going to happen. Not technically a powerplay goal as the two minutes had expired, but may as well have been.

2 – JvR’s growing role on the penalty kill (up to 2:35 per game) has the added benefit of adding a shorthanded goal threat to the Leafs’ stingy PK units. With seconds to go in the first, JvR and McClement worked their up the ice before JvR fired a shot from the left circle that somehow went through Kari Ramo. A really soft goal, but everything van Riemsdyk touches turns to gold lately. I also don’t know JvR had so much time and space to skate the puck up ice starting from his own zone on a Flames powerplay. Anyway, this man is an all-situations beast.

The Leafs were outshot 13-6 in the first period, and 8-1 to start the game. They were largely outplayed at 5 on 5, and yet their dominant special teams and goaltending edge had them in control after 20 minutes.

3 – The first eight minutes of the 2nd period was the Jonathan Bernier show. The Leaf slot was open season for the Flames, be it blown clearances, giveaways, not moving their feet, or bad reads getting the Leafs caught up ice. For several consecutive shifts, Bernier turned away shot after shot from good scoring positions. After seeing the performance out of Ramo at the other end, the Flames players must have been just shaking their heads in disbelief. The Leafs spent the first eight minutes of the period passively reacting to whatever the Flames were doing, but thankfully Bernier was awake – and not just awake, but mustering superhuman feats.

4 – What’s so essential about the night-in, night-out excellence of the Leaf goaltending is that it’s bailing the Leafs out of the ugly spells where they have basically nothing going for them – this stretch of play would have been crippling if the goalies switched nets.

5 – The Leafs got what was coming to them after the Leafs were fortunate that a dirty hit resulted in only a fight between Carter Ashton and Shane O’Brien and off setting minors. The Leafs lost a defensive zone draw, Kadri got beat, and Carl Gunnarsson left his man in front. That man was Matt Stajan himself, who made it 2-1 through 40.

6 – The Leafs were holding onto the puck a little better for a sequence in the early third, twice sending back passes to the defence to try to maintain some semblance of extended possession. They got the insurance marker they very much needed at the six minute mark of the period. David Clarkson cut out a play in the neutral zone, walked in, toe dragged and fired on Ramo before Raymond neatly tucked in the rebound. There was no great mystery as to how the Flames were to be beat tonight – it was through getting pucks to the net and waiting for Ramo to spit out rebounds and/or take himself horribly out of position.

7 – The sheer volume of shots paid off for Calgary with 5 minutes to go in the third. The Leafs were in good shape after Gunnarsson recovered the puck to the left of the net, only for him to either fall or – as it seemed to me – get tripped. The Flames’ Stajan was first to the loose puck, the Flames worked it D to D, and got a bounce off of David Jones’ leg to set up an uncomfortable final five minutes.

8 – After a second missed call on Ramo for a trip on Kessel in front of the net, the refs picked Clarkson’s boarding out of the pile and gave the Flames a late powerplay in a one-goal game. This could have made for a dicey ending, if not for the much-maligned Paul Ranger. In a play similar to when he outmuscled Ryan Getzlaf and Kessel scored on the resultant rush, Ranger leaned his weight on Hudler, forced a turnover high in the zone, and with Hudler water skiing behind him, scored on the empty net to seal the win.

9 – Morgan Rielly was really good tonight. Good reads and smart defensive plays for the most part. This kid is sharply wired in addition to being immensely skilled.

10 – One of the concerns about the way the Leafs win some times is the habits it could instill. The more the Leafs get away with their slow starts and long spells of uninspired play by scoring opportunistically and having amazing goaltending as an available resource to lean on, it has to creep into the team’s psyche.

It’s hard to criticize wins period, let alone wins in a back to back scenario on the road with about 20 hours rest in between. There were long periods were the Leafs simply weren’t moving their feet and leaning heavily on Bernier. That could easily be a product of tired legs. Goaltending and special teams were the story for the Leafs in this one; Ramo was awful and Bernier was brilliant, stopping 41 of 43; a number made all the more awe inspiring when you consider he was not spitting out many second opportunities. You take wins like this one any way you can get them.

The Leafs are 10-4-0, and somehow the shooting and save percentages continue to rise.

Leafs vs Flames Shot Tracking Data
Photo: ESPN Shot Chart

Maple Leafs vs. Flames Box Score - October 30, 2013

Leafs 4 vs Flames 2.
Boxscore   
1ST PERIOD
7:56 AMTORJoffrey Lupul (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Jake Gardiner (3), Nazem Kadri (8)1 - 0 TOR
7:56 PMTORSHG - James van Riemsdyk (7) Snap shot - ASST: Jay McClement (1)2 - 0 TOR
2ND PERIOD
5:03 PMCGYMatt Stajan (1) Snap shot - ASST: Curtis Glencross (3), TJ Brodie (3)2 - 1 TOR
3RD PERIOD
5:59 AMTORMason Raymond (5) Backhand shot - ASST: David Clarkson (1)3 - 1 TOR
2:39 PMCGYDavid Jones (3) Deflected shot - ASST: Kris Russell (5), Dennis Wideman (7)3 - 2 TOR
6:38 PMTORSHG - EN - Paul Ranger (1) Wrist shot - ASST: NONE4 - 2 TOR

Maple Leafs vs. Flames Game Sheet - October 30th, 2013

Leafs 4 vs. Flames 2.
Game Sheet            
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Carter Ashton0010:03017003000
Dave Bolland0019:3011410153101
David Clarkson0115:38014002012
Cody Franson0020:33110003100
Jake Gardiner0118:14100000000
Carl Gunnarsson0020:41000001410
Nazem Kadri0120:090107101111
Phil Kessel0016:40-112000001
Joffrey Lupul1016:52030200001
Jay McClement0120:521102170211
Frazer McLaren000:04005000000
Colton Orr005:57000102100
Dion Phaneuf0021:56010002102
Paul Ranger1019:45140001310
Mason Raymond1017:43210000202
Morgan Rielly0018:51110000220
Trevor Smith002:59010210000
James van Riemsdyk1023:33140011002
GOALIESDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Karri Ramo (2-3-1)L21180.85758:16:00
Jonathan Bernier (6-4-0)W43410.95360:00:00
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Special Teams
95 %
Goaltending
95 %
Defence
65 %
Offence
65 %
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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.
  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    You smell that??

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Anyone else noticing Franson’s physical play ratcheting upwards??  He’s a keeper.

  • Tim Horton

    Wow McClement with 21 faceoff wins, thats nice to see from a leaf for once.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Tim Horton 
    McC had a fantastic game tonight.  He does all those little things that count.  One of Burke’s best pickups, imo.  He played a vital role in bringing us from where we were to where we are.

  • Biltmore

    Shift_Disturber1 I’m partial to Animal myself…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_BmeBfV-O4

  • BERNYAY

    the points and all of the information compiled so quick after the game is perfect, thanks mlhs

  • loomx

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Yep. Gotta be more physical in front of his own net though. Getting out of position by stepping up at the blue line is useless if you’re soft as a tulip in front of the net.

  • wendelsfist

    I thought everyone the past few weaks, were saying the leafs SH% was supposed to regress.  They have actually been improving – tonight they had  19.1%.

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    MikeGartner11 I really hope he can stay healthy for us. He can be a stud.

  • Zep2

    Other than Bernier, Rielly was the best Leaf on the ice.
    Ranger is playing better.
    Good nite folks

  • Jay31

    Great game in 10, nailed all the points as usual. I like the review overview addition! Goaltending was definitely the key

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Zep2 I think our defence has played well since the Pittsburgh game.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jay31 Thanks for reading Jay

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Going to be real tough for Fraser to crack this lineup.

  • wiski

    Nice game in 10 Alec, I like the overall score on the end.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    @BERNYAY Thanks man, we try

  • Alec Brownscombe

    wiski Thanks wiski

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Alec Brownscombe Jay31 Solid stuff as always.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Alec Brownscombe wiski Hey Alec, i emailed you yesterday, just wondering if you got it?

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Reversethecurse67 Alec Brownscombe wiski Let me check. Been doing split screen essays/blogging and haven’t had much time for email today

  • Jay31

    TheColborneUltimatum Might be fine to just alternate between Fraser and Ranger

  • Reversethecurse67

    Alec Brownscombe Reversethecurse67 wiski No problem, it’s not time sensitive. I was just concerned it went to your junk mail.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Reversethecurse67 Alec Brownscombe wiski Got it! Will get back to you in the next few days.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    I still think the schedule has kept this team in sleepwalking mode. Aside from a game against coach Carlyle’s former club and another game against the Pens, there has been very little reason for our buds to draw up much emotion for their games given that our club faced no western competition last (half) season. However, every opponent of ours has heard all about our quick start this season and is revved up to compete with us.
    Give me a game against the Habs, or a rematch against the Sabres to see what we might be able to accomplish with some snarl to our game.
    I’m not expecting good things for us this Saturday, but we’ve pocketed enough points for another stinker if need be.

  • Wilbur

    Alfie ties it 1-1 with VAN

  • Reversethecurse67

    Alec Brownscombe Reversethecurse67 wiski Cheers!

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Jay31 TheColborneUltimatum It feels like this is the first year in a while there hasnt been any major problems on the defensive end. It’s refreshing.

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Wilbur I hope the fans in Toronto still boo Alfie when Detroit eventually comes to town.

  • Xxxxxnew

    Lineup’s been a little weird between freak injuries, youngster callups and suspension.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    TheColborneUltimatum I thought Fraser was playing rather tentative prior to his injury, anyway. I know Ranger has been a bit of an easy target in here, but I prefer some of the tools he brings to the table, and certainly more than Fraser if he isn’t coming back to play angry like last season.

  • Wilbur

    TheColborneUltimatum Wilbur I’ve no doubt they will and loudly :)

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    leafersutherland TheColborneUltimatum I think I’d take Ranger over Fraser. Ranger’s been getting better with each passing game.

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    leafersutherland TheColborneUltimatum Although I miss the physical stuff Fraser brought…I miss Komarov too.

  • http://theNHLarena.com/ leafersutherland

    TheColborneUltimatum leafersutherland The Komarov element is missed more than any other departed Leaf, IMO.

  • Jay31

    TheColborneUltimatum Jay31 Yeah i don’t really have a problem with any of our defenseman, but we’ve still gotta tighten things up a bit, like in the Pittsburgh game

  • TheColborneUltimatum

    Jay31 TheColborneUltimatum Very much so, but we dont have a Komi, Lebda or Exelby.

  • Jay31

    TheColborneUltimatum Jay31 Lol true, thank god for that

  • wiski

    I know Det is in our division but I am happy when they score can’t help it.

  • GreekGod

    leafersutherland TheColborneUltimatum 
    Hoping he’ll be back next season

  • Jay31

    Mirtle linked to the teespring site, that might give a sales boost

  • astrit07

    remember few years ago when we out shot and out chance teams  and lose now we win get out shot but win

  • B_Leaf

    Just finished watching on PVR…some thoughts on the game.
    I thought Gunnarson had a good game, same for Ranger. Rielly is starting to show flashes of becoming a very good player.
    Bernier was outstanding.
    The forwards really could have been better in all three zones, but once again Bolland came up big. JVR is huge for us right now, cannot believe the Flyers traded this guy.
    I can’t believe how much this team is missing Fraser and Kulemin…I wonder if they will be back for Saturday?

  • astrit07

    B_Leaf we only saw how they could play in one period vs pitt on Saturday on that third period how good this team can be but we are wining so I am happy

  • B_Leaf

    TheColborneUltimatum leafersutherland 
    Fraser will most definitely draw back in when healthy…he will not be a healthy scratch in my humble opinion.

  • B_Leaf

    astrit07 B_Leaf 
    We haven’t even played one really good game yet. Last year by this time there were games where we physically just dominated teams and destroyed them in every aspect…haven’t seen that yet…Vancouver??…maybe

  • wiski

    B_Leaf TheColborneUltimatum leafersutherland Who comes out the kid?

  • astrit07

    B_Leaf astrit07 I hope so I live here in van been talking to my supervisor all week how we are going to beat van on saturday

  • B_Leaf

    wiski B_Leaf TheColborneUltimatum leafersutherland 
    That is why they pay Carlyle the big bucks…I really am not sure but Fraser draws in. I doubt Rielly comes out against Vancouver, thats his home. Furthermore Rielly is looking better and better…if anything he should move up with Dion.

  • Black_Hawk

    Dam too bad i have work and cant watch these games. BUT WOOOT We won

  • B_Leaf

    astrit07 B_Leaf 
    I wonder if Kule and Fraser are back…we can definitely use the muscle right now.