The Leafs pulled out a win in the shootout Saturday over Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals to move to 14-8-1 on the season, good enough for second place in the Atlantic division. Sitting three points back of the Boston Bruins and in a tie with Tampa (Leafs ahead on goal differential tie-breaker), this week is an important one for the Leafs as they approach a real tough stretch of games in early December. This week sees Columbus in town Monday, Wednesday at Pittsburgh, and closing with a back-to-back in Buffalo and Montreal, Friday and Saturday respectively.
Pulling points out of the games this week will be vital for the Leafs to maintain their position in the division, with Columbus, Buffalo and Montreal all sitting below Toronto in the standings. Despite the fairly ridiculous slew of injuries the Leafs have withstood through the first quarter of the season, the Leafs have managed to get by on a combination of arguably the strongest goaltending tandem in the league and, while maybe not recently, timely scoring. James Reimer was incredible on Saturday, only beaten on a pretty insane shot from Ovechkin in the third period. The ever-popular Tyler Bozak will likely make his return on Monday after being a somewhat surprising late scratch for Saturday’s game. Head Coach Randy Carlyle has been consistently rolling new acquisition Peter Holland out with JVR and Kessel, but that will likely come to an end as soon as Bozak is ready to play.
It will be interesting to see what the deployment will be for Holland with Bozak back in the lineup. If Carlyle wants to maintain his shutdown line going forward with McClement, Kulemin and Raymond, it wouldn’t shock me to see Holland sent to the Marlies while McClement and Smithson run the third and fourth lines and Bozak and Kadri occupy the middle on the first and second lines. While Holland’s game is far from complete, he has shown flashes of the skill that caught the scouts’ attention leading up to the 2009 draft where he was taken 15th overall. Management may decide that refining his game in the AHL in big, all situations minutes is the way to go with Holland, but that is a decision to make once Bozak is back in the lineup.
A note on Anthony’s Notebook: with four games this week and one tonight, Anthony is posting tomorrow.
Some Leafs links for your Monday:
– The Leafs’ “hang-back plan”…is that what we’re calling the system now? Mirtle on the Leafs continuing success against the grain.
I'm on the fence with this one. Bozak isn't a bad player but on the other hand he's also not that super star 1c we would like to have. I think we need a different approach here. Maybe we need to strengthen our defence to help Dion instead. This might prove wiser with the two top goalies we got running now.
To what extent have the Leafs missed Bozak?http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/25/to-what-extent-have-the-leafs-missed-bozak/ … #tmltalk #leafs
Good Morning Gents. Excellent I didn't know that a game was on tonight. That's awesome.
Hope everyone is warm and comfy thi morning. Its really cold here in TO. And I heard it snowed on other parts of Ontario.
I bet Bernier was saying to himself . Well Reims you just took it up another notch and is itching to get back in . This whole situation is dammed fascinating to watch . A battle of epic proportions lol
I kind of feel there is some kind of addendum Carlyle has with his defence shooting the puck as he fears the shots will get blocked and away the other team goes.
Rushing is different as he has more faith in someone covering.
@TheCanucksnaphook 2 points for the leafs :)
@TheCanucksnaphook Your horse?
@TheCanucksnaphook Drew Mcyntyre :)
@mcloki Morning MC, snowed all around me here, London got Dumped on, we got nothing
@Burtonboy I think Reimer deserves the next spat of games
@Burtonboy So Bernier gets the easier BJ's tonight :), and Reims gets Pitsburg ?
@Burtonboy And that is why Nonis should go out and a center for JVR and Kessel and another shutdown d-man. We have a windows of 2-3 years to get a cup running Reimer and Bernier
@-Keon- Yeah, it may depend on Reimer's position on an extension. If his numbers stay in the stratosphere, he will be a RFA seeking salary in the 4-5 million range. And, how knows, he might agitate for a trade - he didn't sound happy about the 1A and 1B situation going into the season. Reimer's a soft spoken team first guy, but a lot of goalies of his stature would be seeking big money and a guarantee of #1 status.
@-Keon- Morning Bro, how's the new job going ?
@-Keon- He seemed doubtful he could keep them Long term . Probably won't be able to afford both
@MaxwellHowe Agree - we just need another Gunnar nothing more that should be possible to acquire.
@Great Dane I'm not convinced the big time dman is what the Leafs need. Our defence has been playing well.
@Cameron19 And I don't buy the mennonite discount argument
And thats when Nonis may have his most difficult choice to make. Does he trade one of Reimer / Bernier? Where does he find another backup? Is there some way he can leverage that extra goalie for the #1 centre the Leafs have been searching for years? I know this - Reimer is making it very difficult for Nonis to contemplate trading him.
@-Keon- Well make some Bank while you can bro !
@-Keon- Hahaha Been there ,done that lol
@-Keon- God... just back to work and facing a strike . Not good . You in management Keon ?
@-Keon- We have a good situation going here . Hope Nonis rides it as long as he can
@-Keon- Not a chance . We need to get inoculations for the tradeitis that infects this place sometimes lol