A promising first period went badly astray as the Leafs had their five-game home winning streak snapped by four unanswered goals from the Nashville Predators. The Leafs move to 13-8-1 on the season.
1 – At least there were some things to like about the Leafs’ first period.
The Leafs needed some Bernier heroics on an early PK (Kadri offensive zone holding penalty) before they took control of the opening period. Forgettable game for Bernier aside, he has an amazing ability to make really tough saves look routine with sharp reads and good positional sense. He was two-steps ahead in his read on a really nice passing play by the Preds on their early PP before making a great pad save.
2 – A few shifts after the PK, a strong drive by David Clarkson, initiating a cycle with a strong one-armed board play, seemed to get the Leafs going. A few positive shifts later, a good play by Kulemin on the boards (this is a recording) to suck in and hold off the pinching defenceman in the neutral zone got the scoring play started. Kulemin chipped a Rielly stretch pass to Peter Holland, who had gathered speed through through the middle and hit the zone with speed before beating Marek Mazanec with a nice shot from the left circle. Great wheels on display there from the new guy, and a good shot caught Mazanec deep in his net.
Peter Holland’s first:
3 – One thing you’ll notice about all of the Leafs new additions is their ability to skate well. While not picturesque, Clarkson’s stride is quite efficient and he gets around the rink/covers ice well. Holland showed good top speed on that goal (also a previous Underhill understudy). Bolland is a pretty good skater, too. The identity on this club is that of a skating team. This strength can be utilized on a cycle, too, if the Leafs can ever figure out that part of their game consistently. This is a skating team that would love to trade chances if the opponent allows it. Unfortunately, at times the Leafs can be one-dimensional, or struggle to use their speed altogether.
4 – Speaking of which, the Leafs were skating well in the first, breezing through the neutral zone and hitting the Preds’ zone speed (starts with better breakouts). The Leafs enjoyed two consecutive powerplay opportunities after taking the 1-0 lead and generated a number of good chances in the goalmouth area (Clarkson hit a post). The Leafs should’ve been up by more than one after the first 20. They would soon regret it.
5 – An unfortunate high sticking double minor on Mason Raymond 1:25 into the period set the stage for a second-frame letdown as well as the tying goal in the early 2nd. Early in the powerplay, Seth Jones got a deflection off Jay McClement’s stick and the high-rising point shot beat Bernier.
The Leafs escaped the remainder of the four-minute penalty kill, but started to sag and became reactive after conceding the 1-1 goal. A few minutes later, the top line was caught flat footed and puck watching as Matt Cullen slipped into the slot unmarked and put the Preds ahead 2-1. No reason for that goal to happen when the Leafs had the numbers.
6 – The Predators were bogging the Leafs down through the neutral ice much more effectively in the second and found structure in their game. On a rare appearance for the Leafs in the offensive zone in this period, a suspect call on JvR for a hard play in the offensive zone led to another powerplay goal against. I hate pulling the ref card, but I thought this was a brutal call. The Leafs got unwound by penalties in this period and the PK was not up to the task tonight.
On the late penalty kill, Phaneuf and McClement lost the battle in the corner and got beat to the front after the puck went around back of the net. Craig Smith jumped on a pass out front to make it 3-1 Predators.
7 – You knew what to expect from the Predators in the third period as Barry Trotz’s team clogged up the neutral zone and shut the game down. The Leafs tried to get pucks in deep but struggled to retrieve. Attempts to carry over the blueline usually resulted in a turnover.
8 – The Predators put the game out of reach five minutes into the third. The Leafs won a defensive zone draw only to turn the puck over up the boards. Another turnover later, Craig Smith threw the puck on net from the sideboards and it caught Bernier in an awkward spot on the top of the shoulder as he squeezed the post. Bernier lost the rebound and it bounced in behind him, all but ending this game with 15 minutes to go. Pretty rare that we’ve seen a Leaf goalie get beat from there this season. The Ranger and Rielly pairing had a few rough shifts against Smith – Cullen – Spaling line, but more than anything Bernier needs to have that.
9 – Nazem Kadri threw a puck on net out of desperation and got a bounce to go in for him with 4 minutes left, making this game briefly interesting. Also rare to see the Leafs throw pucks on net from that area of the ice, but the Preds were giving them nothing in this period. At a certain point, getting pucks to the net with traffic has to be more of an impulse for this team when it’s all that is available. Peter Holland rang the iron with a really nice release shortly thereafter; a few inches lower and it would have made for a thrilling finish.
10 – Adjustments by the Predators, an inability for the Leafs to readjust, and penalty trouble sunk the Leafs in this one. Can’t rely on the goaltender every night (just most nights, apparently). The Predators had won only one game this season when trailing after the first before tonight’s win. Worth acknowledging that this is a Predators team that has been finding their stride as of late, with combined 9-2 wins over Detroit and Chicago coming into the game.
The Leafs welcome Alex Ovechkin and Mikhail Grabovski’s Washington Capitals to the ACC on Saturday. James Reimer should start or it’s a crime.
Predators at Leafs - November 21Predators 4 at Leafs 2.
|21||J. van Riemsdyk||L||0||0||0||-1||2||1||0||0||0||0||0%||3:00:00||1:58:00||18:12:00|
|NO.||PLAYER||SAVES - SHOTS||SV%||PIM||TOI|
|45||J. Bernier||24 - 28||0.857||0||57:29:00|
|5:48:00||TOR||Peter Holland (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Nikolai Kulemin (3), Morgan Rielly (7)||1 - 0 TOR|
|2:01:00||NSH||PPG - Seth Jones (3) Slapshot - ASST: Matt Cullen (4), Colin Wilson (7)||1 - 1 Tie|
|11:14:00||NSH||Matt Cullen (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Gabriel Bourque (4), Craig Smith (8)||2 - 1 NSH|
|16:25:00||NSH||PPG - Craig Smith (5) Snap shot - ASST: Colin Wilson (8), Matt Cullen (5)||3 - 1 NSH|
|4:32:00||NSH||Craig Smith (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Matt Cullen (6)||4 - 1 NSH|
|15:28:00||TOR||Nazem Kadri (6) Wrist shot - ASST: Mason Raymond (9), Morgan Rielly (8)||4 - 2 NSH|
They were reaching on 3 of those goals scored against. For a a good skating team, this is indicative that they were a step behind mentally. Don't give up prime real estate too easily by chasing after pucks or opposing players dangling their rope-and-dope. Protect the high scoring zones by predicting and preventing the pass with good positioning. The coaching bench needs to help the young team with their mental focus better.
Nice to see Holland get his 1st as a Leaf. Point #2 suggests Kulie had another decent game. Bodes well for the playoffs !!!!!
The good, they tried in the first. The bad they didn't get the puck in the net when they had the chance. They could've totally taken the wind out of the Preds sails and coasted. They did looked gassed near the end of the 1st and that just carried over to the other periods. If they did have a practice today, then shame on Randy. I wonder what the average height for the Preds is at they seemed like a pretty big team? Anyways it seems like it's Reim time for next game. Honorable mention to Clarkson,Holland, and Kadri, (minus the penalty) he was grinding it up quite a bit tonight.
I expect Leafs will be much better on Saturday. Happy Grabo is doing well, so long as its not against the Leafs.
Rielly 2 apples but a minus 1. A Karlson like performance.
I didn't see the game, anyone have comments on his play
It's a little early in the season still but I wonder if Nonis is getting prepared for the once per year Burkian visit to the dressing room to remind the players the coach is going nowhere and it might be wise they start to bring it every period and not just certain periods? Carlyle has also done a tremendous job with how he has handled his young troops to date. I remember him explaining in a presser last year that you can't yell and scream at a young team. However, I wonder if it's becoming time for him to turn the heat up somewhat. At some point the boys have to become men and understand that it's not acceptable to put in a less than best effort on average throughout games. There's been far too many periods the team as a whole has gone MIA throughout this early season.
Yes, the call on van Riemsdyk was indeed brutal. They were down 2-1 still a close game and with the ref blowing that call the Leafs were down 3-1. Another instance of a ref helping out the opposition against the Leafs. I was watching the game at home in Brooklyn, NY on Center Ice and had the Predators feed. The Predators announcer when seeing the replay on the penalty call said "That call was very suspect".
Just a question to make sure i understand how things are done. With regards to shootouts and OT, is it 1 point for losing either?
I thought JvR deserved that penalty. I don't think its called enough, but it is contact that shouldn't happen.
Good writeup, I hadn't noticed all of our new additions are good skaters, but I like it.
Clarkson looked great tonight.
That being said, I thought a few calls against the Predators were missed.
Holland looked terrific and dangerous through the night, and it would have been an entirely different game if that had been more than a post at the end. Reilly looked great as well, especially paired with Gardiner on the PP. Our PP alone deserved a couple goals in the first, what with effective cycling and movement through the zone. At the end of the day, it was a game where power plays were better than penalty kills, and Bozak really could have been the difference.
Also if Kessel's wrist really is bothering him, an out-of-conference game would have been a perfect one for him to miss- except I suspect RC wanted Phil to build on his strong two-goal effort on Tuesday.
EDIT: I forgot to mention, Kadri played with an edge, like he had something to prove. He doesn't always play like this, but tonight he was going out there to make a difference.
Everything was going fine Alex, until you suggested the Preds needed to start clogging up the neutral zone or the Leafs would burn them. So this one is entirely on you my friend. Save your insight for our team.
Carlyle presser live
@Burtonboy I was having a similar thought. It seems they practice quite often and with the way RC is rumoured to host practices perhaps the boys get tired in the games. It just seems weird to me they'd skate for 1 period and then disappear completely for long stretches.
@Burtonboy not exactly a direct answer, clever
@DeclanK ty sir
@Zep2 The team had an excellent first period and failed to bury their chances. At some point during the first intermission they dozed off and woke up late in the third period.
@Zep2 Nothing at all like the swedish sieve in his own end
@Loric76 lol looks more like a jail cell than a motel room
@felixjvd Also Kardi's "holding" call was very weak, they let that same play go in the 3rd.
@Jordan29 no one was particularly bad (though Franson was really sucky at times). Just little team effort and enthusiasm. No hitting, no edge
@BPsotka Besides if it was anything serious they would have sat him out
@BPsotka Carlyle was asked in the presser if he was banged up and he said no more then any other player
@Loric76 He also said some responsibility lies with the coaching staff for having a full practice on game day
@LeafsForLife Thats why Rask blew a gasket . Went ballistic lol
@MaxwellHowe My bad. Didn't know Trotz was checking the forum in the first intermission.
@Loric76 I get that but im refreshing just to see more comments.
@Loric76 @Burtonboy It's also possible Kessel received fewer minutes tonight because RC felt he didn't earn them. He was sure as hell doing a lot of floating and p outside play tonight. Carlyle made it very clear a few weeks ago when Kessel went on a tear that it was because he was going to the dirty areas. Who knows at this point...