Game in 10: Game #27, Habs 4 vs. Leafs 2

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MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 30: Morgan Rielly #44, Paul Ranger #15 and Jonathan Bernier #45 of the Toronto Maple Leafs defend the net against Brian Gionta #21 and Daniel Briere #48 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game on November 30, 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Murphy’s Law is gripping this Leafs team at the moment. The performance wasn’t terrible in this one; it wasn’t exactly great, but there is a confluence of bad things happening to this team at the moment, some in their control and some not. The most disconcerting part about the conclusion to this month, as the Leafs enter a brutally tough December – 2 regulation wins in 13 November games.

1 – The last thing the Leafs needed was a bad start, but the Leafs got started on one with an interference penalty by Carl Gunnarsson. On the ensuing penalty kill, Fraser and Phaneuf left the stretch option wide open while stepping up to hold the neutral zone. Phaneuf motioned toward Fraser a little late and neither picked Pacioretty up in time. Bernier made a great initial two or three saves on Pacioretty, but he had time to set up a three-course picnic lunch in front while he jammed in the rebounds.

2 – The Leafs had a goal called off a few minutes later. A hit from behind in the corner by P.K. Subban on JvR went uncalled, before JvR went out front and parked himself in front for a good screen on a legal Dion Phaneuf goal. The varying standards from officiating crew to officiating crew certainly appears to be screwing the Leafs this past week (compare: Malkin goal on Wednesday; hit from behind call against Franson on Friday). The ref never hesitated to wave this one off.

Here’s the rule for goalie interference and goals disallowed:

69.1 Interference on the Goalkeeper – This rule is based on the premise that an attacking player’s position, whether inside or outside the crease, should not, by itself, determine whether a goal should be allowed or disallowed. In other words, goals scored while attacking players are standing in the crease may, in appropriate circumstances be allowed. Goals should be disallowed only if: (1) an attacking player, either by his positioning or by contact, impairs the goalkeeper’s ability to move freely within his crease or defend his goal; or (2) an attacking player initiates intentional or deliberate contact with a goalkeeper, inside or outside of his goal crease. Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact. The rule will be enforced exclusively in accordance with the on-ice judgment of the Referee(s), and not by means of video replay or review.

Being in the crease alone does not justify a no-goal call and JvR didn’t seem to make any notable contact or prevent Price from making a save, at least not to an extent any greater than the entire purpose of screening a goaltender.

3 – Outside of that one should’ve-been goal, the top line was a struggle in the opening period, and at one point were pinned in by the Habs’ fourth line. Some terrible breakouts, being second to pucks on the boards, and blind throwing of pucks into the neutral zone by this group. On a lost faceoff with four minutes to go, Kessel took the wrong angle on his man in P.K Subban, failing to recognize he had stepped up to the top of the circle. Subban beat Bernier blocker side with a quick release.

4 – All that said, there’s no way this team should’ve been down 2-0 come the start of the 2nd; they weren’t outplayed overall, had a legal goal called off, and Kessel hit the post on an empty net on the first shift of the 2nd. The top line had a better second period but were overpassing on their opportunities.

5 – This game got out of reach with five minutes to go in the 2nd. Gardiner was double teamed in the corner on a shift against the Plekanec, Briere and Gionta line, and the Leafs seemed to be in OK shape as Bozak dug the puck out in support only for Bozak to throw a soft out up the boards. The play worked its way around the back of the Leaf net and the Habs had numbers in front as Leafs lost their coverage. Plekanec made it 3-0 as Bernier got a piece but not enough.

6 – A shorthanded goal – there’s one remaining bad thing that hadn’t happened tonight – followed a minute-twenty later, one Bernier simply had to have. A backhand along the ice from Pacioretty beat him through the legs and ended up more crucial than it seemed at the time, but maybe the Habs started to let off at 4-0.

7 – This game was quickly going the way of a blowout, before JvR responded with a beautiful lob shot on the PP to beat Price up high with two minutes to go.

8 – 22 seconds later, it was nice to see the rarely-used point shot thrown at net by Paul Ranger. It led to the 4-2 goal as Mason Raymond pounced on a loose puck to the side of the net.

9 – The Leafs were alright in the third, but just aren’t clicking well enough at the moment to mount a come back. This team also doesn’t seem effective when pressing late. As we all know, it’s more of a rush team and it’s in-zone offense needs work.

10 – The second line accomplished nothing of note tonight (Clarkson, Kadri and Raymond), with Clarkson looking particularly ineffective. Long shots with no traffic or bodies crashing, and nothing much in the way of physical play. I’d prefer if the vast majority of Clarkson’s shots came from below the hashmarks. Whether he ever had the chance to set up in front or not I can’t say, but he was a perimeter presence tonight. Only noticed him if he fell over or chirped after the whistle. Still not happy with the 4th line, either; the effort from Smith, Kulemin and McClement on line three is hard to complain about at least.

On a positive note, Morgan Rielly handled himself well; having both him and Gardiner in the group of six wasn’t a total nightmare as Carlyle seemed to picture it.

The book on the Leafs has been published and distributed league wide. The Habs were aggressive from the start on the pinch down the boards and the Leafs’ zone exits just weren’t consistently clean enough because the Leafs (wingers) are often second to the puck in those situations. That wasn’t as problematic as it has been in games previous, though; there is a lot going wrong for this team right now and it’s hard to pin point any one thing.

Indeed, all the critical points of failure seem to be there for this team at the moment indicating a tailspin has started – goaltending is slipping a little, which is seeing more of the mistakes end up in the back of the net; so are the special teams, and the confidence seems to be gone. Now, the Leafs enter the toughest part of their schedule, both in terms of volume of games and quality of their competition. Let’s see if this team can rise above the adversity rather than allow it to crush them.

SCORING SUMMARY   
1ST PERIOD
0:58:00MTL PPG - Max Pacioretty (8) Wrist shot - ASST: P.K. Subban (19), Carey Price (1)1 - 0 MTL
16:13:00MTLP.K. Subban (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Max Pacioretty (3), David Desharnais (5)2 - 0 MTL
2ND PERIOD
15:05:00MTLTomas Plekanec (9) Wrist shot - ASST: Daniel Briere (4), Brian Gionta (9)3 - 0 MTL
17:22:00MTLSHG - Max Pacioretty (9) Backhand shot - ASST: Lars Eller (8)4 - 0 MTL
18:10:00TORJames van Riemsdyk (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Tyler Bozak (6), Phil Kessel (10)4 - 1 MTL
18:32:00TORMason Raymond (9) Backhand shot - ASST: Paul Ranger (6)4 - 2 MTL
3RD PERIOD
NONE
PLAYERPOSGAP+/-PIMSHITSBKSGVATKAFO%PPTOISHTOITOI
M. FraserD0001003410-0:00:001:26:0012:29:00
D. PhaneufD0000411100-5:18:000:38:0022:39:00
J. McClementC000001000053%0:00:001:26:0010:56:00
M. RaymondL1010040010-3:07:000:00:0018:42:00
P. RangerD0110041210-0:06:000:00:0019:42:00
J. van RiemsdykL101-10631000%4:53:000:00:0024:35:00
J. SmithsonC000000001062%0:00:000:28:006:44:00
T. SmithC000103300040%0:00:000:00:0010:50:00
C. OrrR0000503000-0:00:000:00:006:25:00
C. GunnarssonD000-1211000-2:32:000:48:0019:54:00
C. AshtonR0000001000100%0:00:000:00:005:59:00
N. KuleminL0000002000-0:00:000:38:0010:06:00
T. BozakC011-103011038%4:44:000:20:0024:34:00
N. KadriC000-101100050%3:16:000:00:0016:14:00
M. RiellyD000-2020011-3:55:000:00:0020:02:00
J. GardinerD0000021210-4:09:000:00:0025:30:00
D. ClarksonR0000021000100%3:22:000:00:0017:50:00
P. KesselC011-1060000-5:25:000:00:0025:32:00
PLAYERSAVES SV%PIMTOI
J. Bernier (L)35 - 390.897057:51:00

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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]
  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    That opening gave me goosebumps.  I DL’ed the opening and am now DL’ing Pavarotti’s hits.

  • Jmessih

    My game in 10
    1. So the Leafs score to tie up the game and kill the Habs early momentum and then, oh wait referee blank St. Pierre waves off the goal. What, St, Pierre this guy is a fucking Habs fan, I can’t believe he is allowed to ref Habs games. Fucking joke. If that is goalie interference, i’m done with this. Price didn’t even complain.
    2-10….fucking embarrassing, nice goal by JVR

  • GreekGod

    TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Think we gotta make a trade here. We need a number one centre and outside of Phaneuf, Rielly, and Gardiner, we need better defence

  • wiski

    GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I’ll take Kostka over Ranger any day

  • wiski

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Torrents?

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    wiski Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Declan posted the opening…..and yes, torrents for Pavarotti’s hits.

  • mr_hanie

    Maybe we should post who the referees are along with the starting line-ups to see that certain refs should only be in the AHL, as well.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    That awesome opening montage is in the post if anyone wants to grab it and bookmark it.

  • rockydundas

    wiski GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Oh God…you’re right! o_O

  • Zep2

    Looking at TOI stats, 2 players who didn’t get enough ice time were Kulemin and Smith
    Kulemin is starting to play with a purpose, and smith seems to  rack up points.
    Raymond had a pretty good game. Clarkson was invisible

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    LOL….Ron McLean just admitted he is worried with the new Rogers deal.  Interesting exchange there between him and Cherry.  Cherry doesn’t give a fuck…lol.

  • juliesucks

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I think CBC is getting phased out…4 years and counting.

  • GreekGod

    Zep2 
    Raymond gives the puck over way too much. I appreciate the fact that he tries to make shit happen but he’s gotta dump it in if he has no options.

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Hey I like Ron

  • mr_hanie

    GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan I take Gunnerson over Gardiner…a womens team can push Gardiner off the puck…

  • Zep2

    wiski GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Ranger wasn’t a problem tonite.

  • ConnorCrisp

    Don’t worry he can just retire and count his millions he made by sitting next to cherry for 30 years

  • juliesucks

    GreekGod Zep2 Sure, but I’ll take Raymond over Clarkson at 1/5 of the price.

  • wiski

    Zep2 wiski GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan He was far from the solution. lol

  • GreekGod

    mr_hanie GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Gardiner has hit more and played more physical then Gunnar the past few weeks.

  • juliesucks

    ConnorCrisp Your tax dollars at work.

  • juliesucks

    TheCanucksnaphook The Band for me

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook
    Oh yes….
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCFAzPl1QmE

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook american girl

  • ConnorCrisp

    Just like the construction on the Gardiner right now…. Ugh

  • Zep2

    juliesucks GreekGod Zep2 Tonite, id take Raymong straight up. Clarkson has been the Invisible Man the last 2 games

  • mr_hanie

    GreekGod mr_hanie TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Gunnerson has never been a healthy scratch like Gardiner….

  • wiski

    Zep2 juliesucks GreekGod They should leave Clarkson with Smith they were having success together

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Go Scrivy!!

  • Zep2

    TheCanucksnaphook I bought a new copy of Derek and the Dominoes. Ive been spinning that 
    Nice mix, Layla, Bell Bottom Blues, Little Wing

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    Is he going all Error 37 again??

  • mr_hanie

    Zep2 TheCanucksnaphook Hahaha you must be my age to remember that LP

  • deedrag

    The bad part tonight is they missed a lot of open net opportunities. When they were winning, they scored every 3rd to 4th shot. They were still getting bad calls then but 25%ish scoring rate was helping them. I think the reality of T.O.s rebuild is far from over. If we take what Nonis is saying seriously, he still doesn’t see us there yet. So i’ll wait and see what happens next, in this never ending saga.

  • GreekGod

    mr_hanie GreekGod TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Gunnarsson has played poorly enough at times to be a healthy scratch along with Franson… If Carlyle gave these two the same small rope that Gardiner and Rielly have then I guarantee you they would of been a scratch at some point.
    Also, Gardiner can actually skate the puck out of our own end and make tape to tape passes as well as shoot the puck and not take dumb ass penalties 40 seconds into the game.

  • wiski

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan We have a knack for trading away good goalies

  • Zep2

    Thanks for the game in 10 Alec

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
    Meh!!  That was later Petty….I prefer his earlier stuff.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNxfPAF1frM

  • Kessel81

    I feel this team needs a big line up change. Start to mix up the pairing something. They need to told to play every shift hard and with some more purpose.  Maybe a call-up or two can wake up some players.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan 
    Hair is over-rated.

  • Jmessih

    I miss Bolland!!

  • mr_hanie

    GreekGod mr_hanie TheCanucksnaphook Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Gardiner can skate and carry the puck but he can’t make a pass to save his life, thats why he is rushing with the puck, then doing nothing with it

  • GreekGod

    Ron Maclean thought the call on JVR for touching the goalie and disallowing the goal was a good call by the refs… fuck you Ron

  • pcelky

    If the referee’s have any say in Toronto will never win another game!

  • deedrag

    Jmessih I now see why Chicago was good with him.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    GreekGod 
    No worries, he’s about to become obsolete.

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook GreekGod Don said it was weak, looking out for his job maybe? Nah, he is number one, no way they ruin a good thing lol

  • wiski

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan GreekGod Ron Doug whats the difference 😉

  • Uncle Otis

    Ron and the Leaf haters just all did the Wiser nod on the JVR goalie interference…”good call good call”
    Thank Christ for Cherry

  • Jmessih

    What I would give to see this
    JVR – Bozak – Kessel
    Lupul – Kadri – Clarkson
    Raymond – Bolland – Kulemin
    Ashton (Smith) – McClement – Orr

  • Uncle Otis

    TheCanucksnaphook Jmessih 
    Im sure TSN is standing by with a truck load of Cherry cash