Game in 10: Game #16, Leafs 2 vs. Devils 1 (SO)

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Photo: Getty Images via NHL.com

The win wasn’t aesthetically pleasing, and that’s par for the course against the New Jersey Devils, but this is an important two points for the banged-up Leafs before they head into Boston. The Leafs move to 11-5-0.

1 – The Leafs played a good first overall, but they needed to come away with a goal considering their double minor powerplay which included 50 seconds of 5 on 3 time. On the upside, the Kadri, Clarkson and Raymond line had several positive shifts, with Clarkson nearly scoring (rejected at the goalline by Zidlicky) and putting in good work down low throughout the period. Clarkson seemed to have an extra step against his former team, as one would expect, and he was getting a few more scoring looks beside Kadri and Raymond. Goal #1 will come soon for Clarkson.

2 – During said powerplay time, the Leafs had plenty of good looks, but they were not putting enough rubber at the net, and couldn’t connect on any cross crease passes on the doorstep. There was a predictable pass-first tendency going on throughout much of the game on the part of the Lupul, JvR and Kessel line.

3 – It’s become an increasingly popular narrative for the MSM to jump on, but man did Ray Ferraro and Gord Miller harp on the shot thing in the 2nd period on the TSN broadcast. It’s often appropriate with this team, but I don’t think it was tonight. Ferraro was conflating shots with the Leafs being badly outplayed, which to me was a misrepresentation. The Leafs were not shooting enough despite some good looks, playing way too cute, and their pass-shot selection was favouring the pass heavily.

That said, Bernier had to make some good saves after Leaf breakdowns in the second period. He was really sharp in the second 20, but the Leafs were not notably out possessed. I don’t think either team had the better of the play in the second, or even in the general sense. It was sloppy, as games against New Jersey are wont to be, and the Leafs were refusing to simplify. It seems the Leafs did not take to heart Carlyle’s insistence that his team simplify their game and get back to a meat-and-potatoes effort. Not enough getting pucks on frame and crashing the net.

4 – The Leafs got themselves another powerplay half way through the third and it was really stuttering at first. The top unit couldn’t break the zone and it had many on the forums calling for the second powerplay unit to come over the boards (it was more effective in the first two periods). Enter Phil Kessel. The Thrill picked up the puck outside the offensive blueline, did a big loop, and attacked the zone with speed. He found a seam, split Henrique and Zidlicky, and beat Schneider between the legs. Phil was a little off for the first two periods, but he was the Leaf gamebreaker again tonight, picking up a floundering PP by the bootstraps. That should’ve been the game winner.

5 – Jonathan Bernier is extremely calm and casual in net, and it’s one of his best qualities, but it’s caught him twice now when it comes to blunders handling the puck. He was going to deflect a puck wide of the net with his stick and didn’t have his blade square to the ice, allowing it to deflect off the top of the blade and up and over his shoulder for the tying 1-1 goal late in the third. Just a mind fart. He was steady as can be otherwise.

6 – It was a grindy, messy affair with a lot of clutching and grabbing from the Devils during the first 60. I expect the Leafs to be a good 4 on 4 team with the speed and skill at their disposal, and usually like their odds once the game opens up in OT.  The Leafs had the best scoring opportunity – After they got away with leaving a man alone in front, JvR, Dion and Kessel counterattacked on a 3 on 1. Dion, JvR and Kessel worked a beautiful passing play, but Schneider got across brilliantly and Kessel shot the puck back across the net a little rather than straight in.

7 – Win or lose, the shootout sucks. But the Leafs (yes, the Leafs) are now 2-0 in the shootout (0-5 last season), as Bernier made up for his gaff with three stops (hat tip to the post) and JvR replaced Bozak’s automatic conversion on shootout attempts.

8 – Jerred Smithson did his job tonight. He won 8 of 9 faceoffs, many in the defensive zone and on the penalty kill. He crashed and banged, and made some heady plays on the penalty kill. In two key penalty kills with under 10 minutes to go in the third, Smithson cleared three pucks; once by breaking up a play on the boards for his teammate to clear; the second was a soccer kick over the blueline amid a scramble in front; the third was a smart ring around against the flow of traffic that cleared the zone. Smithson wound up playing over 10 minutes, including 7 at evens. More efforts like this will not give Carlyle any hesitation in bumping up his minutes.

9 – JvR was okay at center for his first game. You could tell he wasn’t totally comfortable working from the middle of the ice, and he was 40% on the draw, but there’s no reason not to continue to let JvR try to get his bearings. Commendable effort for his first game at center in the NHL.

10 – Carlyle was rotating Rielly onto the Franson pairing at 5 on 5. Rielly played only 9 minutes (to be expected for the 7D) at evens. I would’ve considered giving him some more of Gardiner’s minutes as the night progressed. The Franson/Gardiner pairing did not have a sterling first reunion. Gardiner was back on his left side and seemed to take it as his greenlight to make something happen. That’s great and he should, but he has to be more mindful of when and when not to pinch. As for Mark Fraser in his return – he had his good and bad moments, but you have to love his crease-clearing presence and sheer fury when an opponent buzzes his goalie.

Shot_Chart_Leafs_Devils

Maple Leafs vs. Devils - November 8th, 2013.

Maple Leafs 2 vs. Devils 1 (SO)
NO.PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PP TOISH TOITOI
2M. FraserD0000004240-0:00:002:42:0014:16:00
3D. PhaneufD0000211210-6:20:002:07:0027:06:00
4C. FransonD0110024011-6:03:000:48:0022:48:00
11J. McClementC000001300053%0:00:003:04:0016:22:00
12M. RaymondL0000011111-4:21:002:09:0024:02:00
15P. RangerD0000013411-0:00:002:42:0014:44:00
19J. LupulR000006210050%5:43:000:00:0021:18:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000000501040%5:50:001:37:0022:10:00
22J. SmithsonC000000400189%0:00:003:16:009:44:00
36C. GunnarssonD0000003000-0:00:003:19:0021:49:00
38F. McLarenL0000000100-0:00:000:00:002:19:00
40T. BodieR0000001000-0:00:000:00:008:36:00
41N. KuleminL0000212001-0:03:001:32:0015:31:00
43N. KadriC000003313056%4:28:000:00:0021:02:00
44M. RiellyD0000023000-3:55:000:00:0012:55:00
51J. GardinerD0000024001-4:04:000:00:0016:42:00
71D. ClarksonR0000023000-4:28:000:00:0020:11:00
81P. KesselC1010261120-5:40:000:00:0022:36:00
Goalie
NO.PLAYERSAVESSV%PIMTOI
45J. Bernier (W)34/350.971065:00
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Special Teams
80 %
Even Strength
70 %
Goaltending
85 %
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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 [email protected]
  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Refresh

  • MLHS_Luke

    Wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.

  • Tim Horton

    DeclanK Very refreshing, yes.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Tim Horton DeclanK 😉
    Added home plate into the shot charts. TO did a good job of keeping shots to the outside, away from prime scoring areas.

  • Tim Horton

    DeclanK Tim Horton Interesting, paints a perfect picture.

  • Burtonboy

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/399025643871952896
    Kessel goal reminded Carlyle of Frank Mahovlich

  • Tim Horton

    Smithson 8-1 on the dot… Nice to see.

  • MLHS_Luke

    re: Ferraro.  I’m just going to come out and say it.  I miss Pierre McGuire.

  • B_Leaf

    Just finished watching on PVR.
    Our motto is we have great goaltending and score highlight reel goals

  • LargusMeans

    So the Leafs out shot the Devils 13-11 in the gritty area of the ice (inside the face dots and circles), but all we’ll hear about until tomorrow is how we got so badly outshot yet again and the game was taken to us.  Shots on goal are not a stat that everything should be thrown on about how a game goes.

  • B_Leaf

    MLHS_Luke 
    Actually I thought the TSN guys were good tonight…never watched between periods…and I fast forwarded between whistle. I guess that explains it. LOL

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Tim Horton DeclanK 
    It paints a different picture than what we are constantly forced to listen to each night/read each day.

  • B_Leaf

    Tim Horton 
    Smithson was very good tonight in every aspect.

  • MLHS_Luke

    B_Leaf MLHS_Luke I just find Ferarro to be very boring, and maybe not obviously anti-leaf, but overly critical.  McGuire might be a bit over the top, but he makes me remember why I love to watch hockey.

  • Burtonboy

    DeclanK Tim Horton I like that Dec . Whole different perspective

  • B_Leaf

    We were OK tonight but we have to start out working teams.
    On another matter…Rielly is going to be good isn’t he.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    LargusMeans 
    I feel like we are a site that is on an island about this. I’ve always noticed this and all I hear is people drone on about shots. It’s not a 2 dimensional game. 
    Now: add in the scoring chances. Then, add in odd man rushes as a better type of scoring chance. 
    Now that’s a different game than what we heard broadcast tonight.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Burtonboy DeclanK Tim Horton 
    Ya, going to make that addition to shot data for every game.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Refresh for the ratings.

  • B_Leaf

    MLHS_Luke B_Leaf 
    I actually don’t mind MaGuire or Ferraro. Heally, Simpson, and Kypreos makes everyone else look good.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    A COACH’S TAKE
    Former Leafs coach Pat Quinn isn’t overly concerned about the current club’s negative shot differential. His teams were often outshot, just not by such a wide margin. 
    “I learned a long time ago that you look at where the shots are coming from. The number of shots at the net is less important. There are some coaches that say: ‘Throw it at the net.’ That’s their way of giving the puck up.” Added Quinn: “The team that won four straight Stanley Cups in Long Island, they didn’t care if they got outshot. They were looking for their quality of shot. They’d hold the puck until they put it in the right spot.”

  • Waiting4LSC

    NO!!!!!!!!! Generational !!!!!!!!

  • Loric76

    DeclanK Burtonboy Tim Horton like it

  • Jay_Berg

    My. Thoughts:
    – Rielly played extremely well in his limited minutes
    – Gardiner played like he did in preseason: a little out of control, careless offensively
    – smithson played as advertised won draws, took the body, slow as hell
    – Kessel: wow
    – Bernier was solid outside of whatever the hell happened
    – JVR played OK. Time will tell
    – Lupul was somewhat invisible which is rare for him
    – Kadri was poor defensively tonight IMO. There were a few occasions where he was lazy in his routes to the puck.
    – Clarkson can’t buy one right now. Not from lack of effort
    – Raymond solid again
    Overall I thought the effort was OK tonight but the execution was awful. This team just seem “off” right now. Likely due to the fact we never have our full lineup.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    DeclanK This is basic hockey logic, but it’s made to be way more controversial by those who would hate for their shot attempt formula, the livelihood for their analysis, to have a few warts.

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/399031110262218753
    Carlyle says big difference tonight was Leafs drew six penalties, which came from a good chip & support game & more o-zone time

  • Zep2

    DeclanK LargusMeans When Kessel scored,  TSN stat was he had 3 scoring chances on 4 shots. He had a couple of more after that
    Advanced stats are a work in progress and need to quantify Quality of shots and chances
    Using Corsi  , Habs smoked the Sens last nite

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/399031352290340864
    Carlyle says JVR was fine at centre but one concern: he has to keep his feet moving in D zone, have more urgency to support d-men

  • Loric76

    wow Preds emulating Flyers (or Sabres) tonight
    https://twitter.com/NHLhttps://twitter.com/NHL/status/399031369671929856View translation
    FINAL: https://twitter.com/PredsNHL (0) – https://twitter.com/NHLJets (5)
    Recap: http://t.co/RdwVfXe1iy

  • Loric76

    https://twitter.com/markhmastershttps://twitter.com/markhmasters/status/399031541323411457
    Carlyle on Kessel: “Those are difference-maker goals”

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Here is the Carlyle post game – http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/08/carlyle-tornj-post-game/

  • Tim Horton

    DeclanK Oh Oh I heard him say this first hand, it was glorious. I volunteered for hockey Canada and my job was essentially to cater to his and Bob Nicholsons whim in a VIP box at Womans World Hockey Championship. 
    Canada was being crushed by the US in shots by the end of the 1st 14-2 But the score was 1-1. I said US was really taken it to them and he said “how so”. I said look  at the shots but he was more worried about Canadas turnovers than the shots. and went on a shot quality rant. Great day. 
     I also met the president of hockey USA and he said JVR was going to be a star and Holmgren had no direction for the Flyers.

  • Zep2

    B_Leaf MLHS_Luke I don’t like Shannon. he winces when anyone says something good  about the Leafs. Grange was just hostile tonite

  • Zep2

    Loric76 Kessel keeps on making the naysayers look silly.

  • wiski

    Alec Brownscombe DeclanK https://twitter.com/mlsehttps://twitter.com/mlse/status/399030938635489280
    “we don’t need your Corsi, we don’t need your Corsi NA NA NA NANANANA! We don’t need your Corsi we don’t need your Corsi NA NA NA NANANA!”

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    wiski Alec Brownscombe DeclanK

  • Uncle Otis

    That was almost a broken plasma tonight lol..take the win and run.
    The first thing you teach beginner goalies is to keep the blade square and firm five hole…NEVER on a 45 degree angle
    It often happens when they reach for pucks…but that was a Novice house league mistake by Bernie….argggh
    Guess Ill take the good with the bad…he was outstanding otherwise
    Still,after two Toskala brain cramp moments early in the season, I can’t help but wonder about concentration lapses….just a little odd and concerning
    REIM TIME tomorrow baby…go get those B’s

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Tim Horton DeclanK 
    Quinns teams used to get outshot a lot. He was my favourite post-game interview. Learned a lot about the game from him.

  • B_Leaf

    Uncle Otis 
    Bernier was great other than that one miscue..

  • gunner_36

    DeclanK How long has their been ratings of games for? First time I noticed it.

  • Zep2

    Uncle Otis I made the same comparison on the last post. 
    Graet game other than that one stinker though

  • Uncle Otis

    B_Leaf Uncle Otis 
    I agree and said that too..but those kinds of mental miscues are unacceptable by a goalie B Leaf
    I have taught goalies and its a natural mistake in the tyke and novice leagues…just cant happen in the bigs

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Uncle Otis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI_vldttAgY

  • Doorman

    Nice Write Up AB!!!

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Zep2 Loric76 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrcSyl3KRCI&feature=em-uploademail

  • Zep2

    Jay_Berg They were  physical tonite   . Haven’t seen much of that since Habs/Ott at start of season

  • Doorman

    Uncle Otis 45 degree for fishing is perfect!!!  lol

  • gunner_36

    Didn’t realize Smithson played quite that much. Solid showing from him. Good game in 10 Alec.

  • Uncle Otis

    Doorman 
    Yessir….just add ice 😉

  • Uncle Otis

    DeclanK 
    Doesn’t seem to worried about it 😛
    Goalies.