Game in 10: Game #17, Bruins 3 vs. Maple Leafs 1

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Photo: Getty Images via NHL.com

Returning to the scene of the catastrophe, this game was in some ways a microcosm of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series last May. The Leafs were badly overmatched at first, started to figure the Bruins out as the game wore on, but ultimately fell short. In the end, the Leafs fell 3-1 and move to 11-6-0 on the season. The offense has dried up on the Leafs as of late, scorers of just two goals in their last three games. Loss aside, this is a fun if frustrating rivalry (we all know the Bruins have mastered the art of getting away with dirty plays). 80 hits were thrown between the two teams and many of some magnitude.

1 – The Bruins dominated the first period. The Bruins were controlling pace of play (i.e. slowing it down and playing their game) with good puck management, clean breakouts and an effective chip game. Their forecheck was forcing turnover after turnover. The Leafs had one good chance, when Gardiner slipped into the slot unmarked. If he could have another shot at it, he probably would have taken it to the backhand for the empty net finish rather than one timing the puck into Rask.

2 – In the second half of the first period, the Leafs spent 2:10 straight in their own zone, as the Bruins were just cycling them into the ground with Ranger-Fraser on the ice and Kulemin wandering around without a stick (he passed his off to Ranger). Every Leaf was exhausted, standing still, and praying for a whistle, or the period to end, or something. I watched Fraser touch the puck and hand it back over three times on that shift. The Bruin siege led to a powerplay, which they inevitably scored on. Chara giving the Leafs fits in front brought back painful memories.

3 – What an amazing second period from the Leafs. So much to like in their 18-shot effort that stemmed from a similar territorial dominance to what the Bruins imposed on the Leafs in the first. Phaneuf got things moving in the right direction with two great hits four minutes into the second, which is becoming a positive trend from the Captain when his team is down and looking lifeless. Once the Leafs could actually string some passes together coming out of their zone, they were able to establish a forecheck, cycle and outskate the Bruins as we know they can.

More of this going forward, Leafs. Please, for the love of God, more of this.

4 – Finally, the Leafs got their reward with three minutes left in the second period. The play started after a great stick by Paul Ranger to break up an attack, before his flip pass sent Lupul on a rush the other way. Lupul turned the puck up ice  and drove to the outside of Dennis Seidenberg. Joffrey saw some room shortside-high on Rask and roofed it.

5 – The game kind of hinged on a double minor penalty JvR took at the end of the second period when he got his stick up high battling a Bruin in front of the net. JvR was getting chippy after he was taken down by Marchand in the first, and he seemed to be a ticking time bomb headed toward an undisciplined penalty. Fraser and Ranger made a mess of their net front coverage on the PK (Ranger fell over Reimer) and it was 2-1 Bruins.

6 – The game got downright dirty in the final 10 minutes, and it was mostly the Bruins’ doing. Elbow to the face of Ashton, high hit on Kadri, high stick to the face of Lupul, cross check to the back of the head of Gardiner, hit from behind on Clarkson… the one thing that got called was a cheap little hook on Lupul. The Leafs landed one good hit when Franson cleared out Marchand (I think it was Marchand, going from memory) as he tried to drive the net shorthanded.

7 – The Leafs could not get anything going on their two third period powerplays, one of which they were forced to use Smithson for because Kadri had to be checked out in the dressing room. Toronto was just gassed in the third period; Phaneuf’s play exemplified it, as he was so good for the Leafs for much of the night but just had nothing left on the final few shifts.

8 – I said before the game that Carlyle made a mistake not playing Rielly in this game (over Fraser). The best way to diffuse the Bruin pressure is with defencemen who can move their legs, evade a forechecker, move the puck through traffic, and join the attack. I thought we learned this lesson last May. It’s the only way the Leafs can beat the Bruins, who are fierce on the forecheck and well-organized defensively with ample backside pressure. One personnel decision does not a game break, but it sure didn’t help. Fraser-Ranger spent a lot of time in their own end tonight (primarily matched up against Reilly Smith, Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly).

9 – The Gardiner-Franson pairing knows how to handle the Bruins. Both are able to move the puck against the Bruin forecheck and seem to elevate their physical games. Gardiner is the tonic to the Bruins; his speed and puck moving ability is huge and he can get away with pinching (which he did a number of times, effectively) against a team that can’t burn you with speed. Fraser, on the other hand, really struggled in the playoff series under the trademark Bruin forecheck pressure, and he had a poor game tonight; he struggled to get his feet moving and struggled to move the puck safely under the heat applied by the Bruins.

10 – The Leafs scoring depth is obviously damaged by the losses of Bolland and Bozak. It’s a little disappointing, however, that the likes of Nikolai Kulemin and David Clarkson have been unable to grind out a dirty goal or two for this team as of yet. Mason Raymond and Nazem Kadri are also pointless in the last three. Uncharacteristically bad night for the Leafs special teams, as well.

The Leafs are off until Wednesday, before another back-to-back next weekend (the schedule is BS).

Leafs-vs-Bruins-Shot-Data

Leafs vs. Bruins - November 9, 2013

Bruins 3 vs. Leafs 1.
NO.PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PPTOISHTOITOI
2M. FraserD0001022210-0:00:001:32:0018:36:00
3D. PhaneufD000-1025202-4:13:002:39:0024:48:00
4C. FransonD000-1026100-2:51:000:25:0017:45:00
11J. McClementC000121211053%0:00:002:10:0017:46:00
12M. RaymondL0000031011-2:44:000:57:0017:46:00
15P. RangerD0111005110-0:00:000:56:0018:41:00
19J. LupulR101008110025%3:16:000:00:0021:24:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000-141301043%3:16:000:21:0018:58:00
22J. SmithsonC000000120050%0:30:002:34:008:50:00
36C. GunnarssonD0000003200-1:35:002:28:0020:39:00
37C. AshtonR0000025100-0:00:000:00:0012:49:00
38F. McLarenL0000500000-0:00:000:07:002:07:00
40T. BodieR0000000000-0:00:000:00:002:50:00
41N. KuleminL0000013400100%0:00:001:51:0018:28:00
43N. KadriC000-101200147%2:14:000:00:0018:13:00
51J. GardinerD0000070000-3:21:000:00:0019:31:00
71D. ClarksonR00005130100%2:44:000:00:0016:01:00
81P. KesselC0000031041-3:16:000:00:0021:11:00
Goalie
NO.PLAYEREVPPSHSAVESSV%PIMTOI
34J. Reimer (L) 4-2-026 - 265 - 70 - 031 - 330.939059:37:00
Boxscore    
1ST PERIOD
15:27BOSPPG - Zdeno Chara (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Jarome Iginla (7), Torey Krug (4)1 - 0 BOS
2ND PERIOD
16:52TORJoffrey Lupul (8) Snap shot - ASST: Paul Ranger (4)1 - 1 Tie
3RD PERIOD
1:05BOSPPG - Patrice Bergeron (4) Snap shot - ASST: Carl Soderberg (5), Reilly Smith (9)2 - 1 BOS
19:38BOSEN - Patrice Bergeron (5) Wrist shot - ASST: Loui Eriksson (3), Brad Marchand (4)3 - 1 BOS
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Goaltending
85 %
Special Teams
25 %
Even Strength
70 %
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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]
  • peterbleafs

    Well we still have to learn to play the entire game.  Once we do that, we are good to go the rest of the season.  Phaneuf was awesome tonight!

  • Burtonboy

    Thanks Alec # 8 and # 9 are dead on the money . Fraser should not have played over Rielly

  • HHT

    We were missing some useful guys tonight and to our credit didn’t get blown out.  Decent but still need some pieces.

  • wiski

    Damn double minor cost us the game.

  • Zep2

    Im a big Kulemin fan , but he needs to get engaged more physically.

  • NotInsane

    wiski 
    Yep.  That is about as succinct a game re-cap as it gets

  • rustynail

    wiski our special teams cost us the game

  • NotInsane

    Disagree completely on #8.  The Leafs need to rely on a 19-yr old to beat the Bruins?  Give me a break.  let the rookie sit and learn something while the men play

  • wiski

    LOL 3 zip kings put a smile back on my face

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Forgot the ratings  – refresh

  • Alec Brownscombe

    who said they needed to rely on him? I even said one personnel decision didn’t fully determine the result. The Leas did spend a ton of time in their own end with Ranger/Fraser out though.
    I was just saying he was the better choice over Fraser. Not applying hindsight either, said it before the game.

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Giving the Leafs 25% on the PP  and PK? We went 0 for 3 on the PP and we only killed 1 of 3 penalties.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jmessih Alec Brownscombe 25% is a miserable failure

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Jmessih You homer lol

  • rustynail

    Alec Brownscombe after a month off B2B is a lot to ask of Fraser even if he was a better skaters

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jmessih Alec Brownscombe It would affect the overall rating and give them like a 40 if I dropped it too low. Leafs weren’t that bad overall.

  • DJBrianBurke

    wiski Refs are not helping them tonight. So no surprise they’re losing.

  • The_Polish_Cannon

    NotInsane I disagree. If he’s just a boy in a man’s game than he should not be in the NHL at all. #8 hit the nail on the head I said the same thing before the game. We need a mobile back end or partner Ranger or Fraser with someone who can move. Them together is ridiculous

  • Burtonboy

    NotInsane The Bruins have no problem playing Hamilton . The Preds play Jones and the Pens play Matta and I could go on and on. Why is Toronto supposed to be different

  • Jmessih

    Alec Brownscombe Jmessih Leafs PK system has always scared me, I think it is finally coming to bite them.

  • rustynail

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/399383256438554624
    Kadri on Boychuk hit: “It’s tough for the referee to call…but my helmet was almost sideways when I looked up.

  • Jmessih

    rustynail Thank you Nazem

  • DJBrianBurke

    Burtonboy NotInsane Hamilton is older and a different type of player and much less impressive. I don’t mind handling Reilly with kid gloves.

  • Zep2

    I feel a lot better about the leafs tonite than I did a week ago
    They are starting to skate , take the body and playing in the opponents zone.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Zep2 As do I, but he was completely useless on that “lost stick” play. I know he was hurt, but he needs to do something, not just stand around.

  • wiski

    Zep2 Me too, finally a good period of hockey.

  • Burtonboy

    DJBrianBurke Burtonboy NotInsane By 1 yr? There are numerous rookies from Riellys drat yr and even younger playing . I don’t get why it has to be different for Rielly

  • Knights2Leafs

    DJBrianBurke
    But Maatta isn’t older,isn’t any stronger than Rielly and while he’s a very good skater he’s not in Rielly’s class. If Maatta can play a key role for one of the top teams in the league, then Rielly should do just fine.

  • Knights2Leafs

    rustynail 
    I think the trainer took Naz back to the quiet room to give him one of Bon’s bowls to calm him down and straighten his helmut.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Burtonboy DJBrianBurke NotInsaneI really like Reilly, so I don’t mind if they play him great. I’m just saying if they want to keep him away from the game like this, that’s ok too.
    Comparing what the Leafs do and other teams do with their young players doesn’t make much sense to me.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    http://imgur.com/RE61FSd

  • newkb

    peterbleafs Phaneuf was awesome….he turned the game around with his physicality.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Any thoughts on JVR at center.  Early yet but I’m a little concerned that we are missing his stellar play off the wing more than we need him at center, but if not JVR, then who – Mason?

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Jmessih Alec Brownscombe 2nd last year and top 5 this year? Come’on.

  • NotInsane

    Burtonboy
    Bruins sat Hamilton plenty

  • Alec Brownscombe

    NotInsane Burtonboy It’s not that Rielly should never sit ever. It was just the better gameplan to play him, I thought.

  • NotInsane

    Alec Brownscombe 
    Him sitting isn’t such a bad thing.  Its only one game out of 82.  Rielly can play next time

  • Alec Brownscombe

    NotInsane Alec Brownscombe You’re missing my point

  • Burtonboy

    NotInsane Burtonboy Because he was playing like shit . That’s not the case with Rielly

  • DJBrianBurke

    peterbleafs Of course, but that will come in time. New Players, new system, plus there have been so many injuries. They have yet to play as a complete team for even 10 games, which makes me anxious. I would love to know what they have.
    Agreed, Phaneuf played well. Has all season.

  • NotInsane

    Alec Brownscombe Burtonboy 
    Its a good game plan and your analysis on how to beat the Bruins is correct.  But I didn’t think Rielly could deliver the results we’d all like

  • DJBrianBurke

    Alec Brownscombe NotInsane Burtonboy With the Leafs’ luck, he would have got a concussion after getting his tendon cut in a game like tonight.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Randy Carlyle Post Game http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/09/carlyle-torbos-post-game/

  • Jay31

    Great recap, completely agreed about Rielly. 
    Leafs played well considering the depleted lineup and pretty bad officiating. I’m hoping we see more of what they did from the 2nd period on in upcoming games.
    Gardiner-Franson was amazing, as were Reimer and Lupul

  • Tim Horton

    Marlies down 3-2 in the 2nd. Abbot with 2 assists and 15 points in 10 games. I really thought McKegg and D’amigo were going to breakout this year, but they cant seem to produce. Leivo with a goal. He needs to be put in Ashtons spot IMO. They both are good energy guys but Leivo has better goal scoring abilities.

  • Burtonboy

    Tim Horton D’Amigo is out hurt I do believe.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Jay31 Thanks man

  • Jmessih

    Tim Horton If it is a third or fourth line spot, its Ashton’s, if it is second line spot should be Leivo.

  • Burtonboy

    Jay31 Gards and Franny were excellent tonight . Never saw Franson or Gards for that matter hit as hard as they did tonight

  • Tim Horton

    Burtonboy Tim Horton  Must be back he is on the boxscore with 1 shot and -1 . http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011276