The Leafs move to 11-6-1 with a 2-1 shootout loss after giving up the lead late in Minnesota. The Leafs have only scored three goals in their last four games, only one of which has been at even strength. Let’s hope a back-to-back home and home with the lowly Sabres is the tonic to the offensive woes, but the Sabres will have good first impressions to play for with new head coach Ted Nolan behind the bench.
- It was a pretty boring start to this road game, but a relatively safe one from the Leafs perspective. Toronto was doing their their best to force Minnesota wide and was was sending short dumps into the neutral zone and forcing Minnesota to transition.
- While focused on tipping a shot on goal, Kadri gave Backstrom a forearm shiver that was avoidable but not pre-meditated. Backstrom was laying motionless on the ice, a sight no one wants to see. The resulting powerplay generated nothing much in the way of opportunities. After Josh Harding took over from Backstrom, Kadri drew a hooking penalty and TO went to the PP. The first shift saw PP#1 with great movement, nice D-to-D passes, and 3-4 shot attempts. PP#2 brought more quick puck movement and chances. Gardiner took a great charge in from the point and got a shot off just before the period ended. Shots were 7-6 Toronto after 20 minutes.
- The Leafs had only 11 forwards and were rotating their bottom six lines, but Ashton-McClement-Orr offered a great cycle and were able to eat up zone time in the first. If this team were healthy, this line should be the fourth.
- Kadri was at the centre of just about every refereeing decision in this one. In the early second, Cooke drew one by squeezing his legs together for a hook that was really more of a hold on Kadri’s stick. The Leafs killed it off with great work from McClement and Kulemin, especially.
- After who else but Kadri got hooked by Charlie Coyle, PP#1 had some trouble getting into a rhythm and another PP chance looked to be waning. PP#2 came to the rescue: Gardiner made a great baseball play to keep the puck in, Rielly walked in off the point and ripped a great rist shot off a quick release, and Harding kicked out a rebound to Raymond, who made it 1-0 Leafs. This seemed to inject some life into a boring first half of the game.
- After the Leafs carried momentum and looked to take over play for a short while, Minnesota came back just as hard and controlled the pace of play. Perhaps it’s Toronto’s injuries or just the makeup of the team, but they are simply not hard enough on pucks and still turning the puck over in dangerous areas of the ice to put their mighty offense to work. It’s a wait-and-see proposition, but you would like to see better battles along the boards and to see players first to pucks more consistently than what the Leafs have been displaying in the last 5 games.
- The 3rd period from the Leaf standpoint was drastically hindered by three separate penalties: Jay McClement (Tripping), Jerred Smithson: (Interference), and Nazem Kadri’s 10 Minute Match Penalty for Deliberate injury (Served by Phil Kessel). The Kadri penalty will get a look from the NHL Head Office, but I’m not sure it’s cut and dry; he didn’t leave his feet, his arms were down, but the principal point of his shoulder contact was either the head or just below it. We’ll wait and see on that one. It seemed to look and sound worse in real time than it was on the slow motion replay; Granlund’s head was down as he fished for the puck, and Kadri seemed to land a tough but clean hit. Kadri’s stick also smacked the boards, making it sound worse than it was.
- Almost half of the 3rd period was spent on the penalty kill. Despite being a “bad Corsi player,” Jay McClement (and Nikolai Kulemin) are absolute machines on the PK. Active sticks and consistent clearings from both players. Not sure we can emphasize enough how important McClement is as one of the more subtle core pieces on this Leafs team. The Leafs sustained only two shots on a 5 minute penalty kill, and only once allowed Minnesota to set up for sustained zone time.
- The Leafs were holding on for dear life in the final ten, and were edging closer to stealing this game. That’s until Kessel capped off a game of whiffing on the puck and struggling to find openings by floating a soft pass in the middle of the slot, intended for Raymond, that was intercepted and left Rielly and Ranger scrambling. A pass out front connected with Parise’s skate and would’ve bounced out of danger, but Kessel was scrambling back and it bounced off of his skate, as well, and went in the empty net. A combination of both a horrible giveaway at a crucial time in the game and poor luck.
- 4-on-4 OT didn’t produce anything, but the Leafs outshot the Wild 3-0 during that shortened frame. The shootout saw Parise and Pominville beat Bernier while Kessel did his best Lee Stempniak impression, sort of summing up his night.
The Leafs don’t get a point without Jonathan Bernier’s unshakable play in net, but we’ve almost come to expect it of our goaltenders. Also worth noting on the positive side of the ledger is that the Leafs’ D, 1-7, played well in their own zone. Best defenceman tonight? Paul Ranger. He broke up more than a handful of plays with a strong stick and delivered consistently on his first pass. The game seems to have slowed down for him now that he’s had 15+ to adjust to NHL speed.
The Leafs special teams got back on track after costing the Leafs in Boston on Saturday, going 1 for 3 on the powerplay and 5 for 5 on the penalty kill, which understates their penalty killing excellence on the night given one was a five minute major.
We’ll await word from the league office on any supplemental discipline for Kadri. The one thing this team cannot afford is another lost centre for any length of time.
You be the judge:
If Gionta didn’t get suspended….
Hit on Granlund:
You wonder if Kadri throwing any big hit, clean or dirty, was going to get him in trouble after his run in with Backstrom.
Maple Leafs at Wild - November 13thLeafs 1 at Wild 2.
|7:32:00||TOR||PPG - Mason Raymond (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Morgan Rielly (6), Nazem Kadri (9)||1 - 0 TOR|
|15:43:00||MIN||Zach Parise (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Charlie Coyle (2), Mikko Koivu (11)||1 - 1 Tie|
Look familiar? No suspension....listen to that asshat Healy though.
Aside from the ridiculous reffing, our PK was solid. We turn over the puck a lot even strength and fail to shoot on PP. Still some work to be done. Playing not to lose, instead of to win.
Why is everyone saying Backstrom was in the crease ? He wasn't, Just watch around the 45 sec mark .
Morning Gents.....always a great day to be a Leafer. The commentary from Mac last night, when discussing Kadri running Backstrom was ridiculous. Why is it that examples of suspensions were mentioned but nobody thought to mention Reims being run, more than once, I might add where no suspension was deemed appropriate? Two sets of rules depending on players and team involved is very apparent. All I want is a little consistency across the board.
Dare to be different!
Great job calling out what others know and feel but are afraid to speak.
@Shift_Disturber1 Just read it all, pretty good rant. The guy's going out on his shield I'll say that much.
@ingy56 Fair or not, Kadri is getting suspended. I think Shanaban has only decided to NOT suspend a player once or twice after calling for an interview in the history of this process.
Hopefully it's only a game or two.
In any case, he simply couldn't play the way he did against Buffalo on Fri and Sat anyway. The Wild are a soft team and you can (and should) take advantage of that as he did.
If he ran Ryan Miller, he would have gotten stretchered off the ice...
@Mcost61 the PP looked lethal at the end of the 1st
Somebody tweet this fool to help him understand the contradiction of his statement.
@Burtonboy What Crime, Hitting ? Bah
@Burtonboy Penalty on ice did not fit the crime. How does the match penalty make sense if the PPOC was not the head, he stayed on his feet and it wasn't from behind? Ridiculous call, reffing the result not the play.
@Burtonboy I wonder what they'll think about the other hit though. Could be embarrassing to suspend a player for a 2 minute penalty and not a major.
@Burtonboy Three points:
1 - Kadri is following the puck at the time of collision, and he is not looking at Backstrom at all
2 - Backstrom moves in Kadri's path just before the collision - not on purpose, but he does move right into Kadri
3 - Kadri seems to forearm him, but a close look suggests he is trying to get out of the way
Not sure any of that will make a difference tho
Not even sure why they have a crease anymore BB as the league seems to indicate goalies can do/be where they like and are somehow sacred.
Outside of a D man putting his hand on the puck in the crease,where does it matter?
@wendelsway1 If Backstrom isn't hurt there is no discussion, lets face it.
I wouldn't hold my breath WW...song remains the same.
Having the MSM make the league's case sure doesn't help our cause either.
They didn't even suggest the Slapshot double hit on Dion FROM BEHIND was worthy of two minutes either
@wendelsway1 YES, thank you. How do they not bring up the Reimer concussion there? No suspension. Of course the immediate talk on the broadcast is about suspension.
I hope he comes Kadri comes armed with a video collection of far worse hits that were clearly ignored by the league
Gotta be careful though..might get blacklisted
@Yaknowwhat Good clean hit on the Swedish kid, I thought. But, I think the refs were building in a bit of cumulative impact from the Backstrum hit, which was also a strong play IMO, although Kadri erred in extending the elbow post-contact. Didn't really add anything to the impact, but did make the penalty (and his intentions) more obvious.
@dlb eh Yeah, good observation. I agree with that. He plays down the lineup, so it's easy to under-appreciate him, but 4th in ice among defenseman confirms his value.
As long as he doesn't deny eating ,then it's entirely plausible :)
Shannon knows little about hockey and all about media
He's so far up the league's ass I expect bubbles to come out of Bettman's ears.
@Uncle Otis @wendelsway1 Ha....I know better than to hold my breath, when it comes to reffing, they can do no wrong..........Another team that loves to dole out the two person sandwich type hit is Phily......seen them get away with it several times, as well. We need some sort of a reffing revolution to happen........won't be holding my breath.
@Uncle Otis @Dan39 @ingy56 Yeah, but remember the whole culture changed after that. The whole team got crucified by their fan base and rightly so. I think if you run Miller now, everyone and anyone comes to do something about it. They have Scott and dirty Kaleta out, but they still have Folgino and Weber and Ott. Foligno took down Fraser as I remember it. Ott, who knows - he would do something dirty to get back at us if someone did something like Kadri did. Weber would have the gloves off - I don't doubt his character.
@Murph2417 @Dan39 @ingy56 Shanaban said that he has only once NOT suspended a player after an interview and that was because there was one thing the player could have been intending to do that excused the player. I don't know what Kadri could say - he was trying to jump over him, elbow first? - that would change things in player safety's mind.
That is exactly the way that we need to play to take advantage of these soft Western Conference teams (and the Red Wings).
Even with our depleted lineup where we are arguably out-skilled (especially with Kessel and JVR playing that way), I think we win.
That's a 7 game series, we definitely break them down and take it with that style. Hell, we should have won that game!
He'd likely be the best one...not fully indoctrinated in Bettman's house rules. :)
Think Lucic on Miller
When we played the game,if the goalie was in his crease,he was untouchable.
If the goalie played the puck like a forward,he was fair game
Id like to see the league go back to this rule...makes too much sense.
@dlb eh @Dan39 Well I've been really impressed with his physical play - it actually surprised me how strong he is playing against stronger NHL players. We did learn or I learned anyway that he has bulked up to 235 lbs. That is just huge for a guy that's 6'3" and reportedly in excellent shape, i.e., there's probably only 20 lbs of fat in that number.