Game in 10: Game #31, Bruins 5 at Leafs 2

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TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 8: Phil Kessel #81 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots as Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins defends during NHL game action December 8, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)

The opposite of the typical Leaf game from earlier in the season. A decent even-strength performance by the Leafs, but the game was lost on special teams and an uncharacteristic bad goal on the Leaf netminder. The Leafs again played the Bruins pretty even, but can’t find a way to beat this team.

1 – An excellent opening period of hockey from the Leafs. Toronto came out with a better energy level in the back to back situation than the Bruins, and outworked them for much of the period.

2 – Jake Gardiner continues to make good things happen, jumping up into the play 12 minutes into the 1st period. With Holland on briefly with Raymond and Clarkson, Pete jumped on a rebound off of Gardiner’s second shot at the net and jammed it in at the back post. Good work around the net by David Clarkson to draw attention and open up some space.

3 – John-Michael Liles made a couple of clever little plays in the first period to evade a forechecker and get the Leafs out of the zone. He combined with Gardiner for some nice puck movement on powerplay unit #2 on the Leafs’ lone powerplay in the period. Throughout the game, he also helped sustain some cycles with timely pinching, an asset of a mobile D. Unfortunately, Liles left the game after taking a hit pinching down the boards in the third, and it looked as though his head was jarred on the contact.

4 – For whatever reason, this team has been unable to sustain the intensity level for 60 minutes at any point this season, and started losing the lion’s share of puck battles in the second period. Combine that with avoidable penalties, a bad goal on Bernier, and you’ve got the makings of a nightmare period. Come the end of 40, it was 3-1 Bruins.

5 – It all started with a puck-over-the-glass delay of game call against Carter Ashton. The Leafs won two draws to start this penalty kill, but couldn’t clear on either. On the second draw win, Dion Phaneuf didn’t get his clearance airborne after the faceoff win, which sent the PK scrambling. Gunnarsson was late arriving to pick up a man in front, and after a couple of passes Carl Soderberg made it 1-1 on the doorstep.

6 – A minute later, Carl Gunnarsson hammered a pointshot into a shinpad and took a hooking penalty scrambling back. The Leafs went right back to the PK. Another blown clearance – this time from Mason Raymond – led to a goal against. A hard shot from the left circle from Tory Krug, according to Jonathan Bernier, took a deflection off Jake Gardiner’s shin pad and in. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead just like that.

Looking forward to Gus’ system analysis early this week on what’s slipped on this penalty kill. It is certainly being put to work far too often. The Leafs lead the league in penalty kill time with over 121 minutes against over 31 games. It’s not always defensive zone penalties, and it doesn’t seem to be 100% related to zone time – the Leafs are taking dumb penalties all over the ice.

7 – With four minutes to go in the second period, a point shot off a lost draw got through Jonathan Bernier’s legs for a goal that needed to be stopped. That stood up as the game winner.

8 – After a draw win by McClement in the first minute of the third period, McClement beat Soderberg to the front of the net and finished off the rebound from Kulemin and Holland’s shots. Finally, some secondary point production, i.e. points from players not named JvR, Kessel, Kadri or Raymond. Holland had a goal and an assist; Clarkson grabbed an assist, his first point in 8 games; Jay McClement scored his first of the season (and just his third point).

There were a couple of good cycle shifts by a thrown-together combination of Kulemin, McClement and Holland in the third period.

9 – This game was over after Milan Lucic went in beast mode with four minutes to go. Phil Kessel gave up on the battle after getting beat to the puck in the offensive zone, Dion Phaneuf got caught flat footed and was skated around with ease, Lucic – with a full head of steam through the neutral zone – gained the edge on Carl Gunnarsson and found Jarome Iginla in front to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

10 – An empty netter from Patrice Bergeron made this game look more out of reach than it was. This was a winnable game, and the Leafs inability to avoid their one-horrendous-period and stupid penalty habits sunk them tonight.

In terms of the performance of the Leafs’ best players tonight, we may have been seeing the after effects of 28 minutes for Phaneuf and 24-25 minutes for JvR, Kessel and Kadri last night, as feared. On the upside, the Leafs got a kick in terms of secondary production to at least keep them in this game. Still not good enough. The 5-game stretch from hell starts with a loss, and the disappointing part is that there was at least a point to be had.

Leafs-Bruins-Shots-Data

NO.PLAYERPOSGAPTS+/-PIMSHITSBSGVATVAFO%PPTOISHTOITOI
3D. PhaneufD000-2033110-5:46:002:25:0022:05:00
4C. FransonD0001015210-3:08:001:07:0021:26:00
11J. McClementC101104100074%0:08:002:25:0012:59:00
12M. RaymondL0000030010-2:10:001:20:0018:19:00
15P. RangerD000-1024002-0:00:001:17:0017:45:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000-2033002-5:42:000:43:0024:48:00
23T. SmithC000-100220061%2:10:000:11:0017:08:00
24P. HollandC112201000040%0:00:000:00:0010:35:00
26J. LilesD000-1001211-2:14:000:05:0017:17:00
29J. D'AmigoR000-1002000-0:00:001:07:005:00:00
36C. GunnarssonD000-1222420-0:08:001:46:0016:06:00
37C. AshtonR00002110000%0:08:000:00:005:29:00
38F. McLarenL0000000000-0:00:000:00:003:44:00
41N. KuleminL0111023200-0:08:001:23:0012:29:00
43N. KadriC000-220200141%5:42:000:00:0023:23:00
51J. GardinerD0112013100-4:44:000:34:0025:21:00
71D. ClarksonR0110234130-4:17:000:00:0018:34:00
81P. KesselC000-2060010-5:35:000:05:0024:36:00
Goalie
NO.PLAYERSAVES - SHOTSSV%PIMTOI
45J. Bernier34 - 380.895057:19:00
  • whalz

    wow  RC mentioned how Dion and Raymond made mistakes on pp resulting in goals…..lol

  • Pent_House

    @whalz pretty obvious, no shock there

  • peterbleafs

    Well we are burning out Phaneuf, as we do each season.  He has been and is terrific for us but he cannot log long minutes, he needs recovery time.  He could use a small injury to get him out of the lineup a few games.

  • Denied

    The leafs can’t

  • lieffan

    Reimer is the better goalie.

  • Conis

    Bernier is the better goalie. 

    *pop corn*

  • loomx

    @whalz As usual he throws his players under the bus. It’s never Carlol, always the players. Get this guy outta here.

  • Jay31

    well the bottom 6 showed up tonight and were good.. Icetime needs to be managed better in the next b2b so the top line+Phaneuf aren’t as visibly gassed as they were tonight

  • Jay31

    Gardiner w/ 25:21 icetime, leading the team

  • loomx

    I know some of you will roll your eyes, but this team misses Brian Burke. He took pressure off the team by always making it about himself. This took some media attention away from the players because Burke was always being accountable for the team that’s iced. He also gave this team an identity that fit Carlyle’s system. Nonis is bringing in players that don’t fit.(either that or Carlyle’s system is outdated) So please, bring in a coach that can get the most out of this group instead of having Carlyle try to shove an outdated system down the players’ throats.

  • loomx

    leducleaf loomx Yep, Laviolette would fit perfectly.

  • juliesucks

    They should be cranking ‘Walk All Over You’.

  • PEIleafnation

    any update on liles  jerr d and dion to get a call from nhl

  • wiski

    Yes thanks for the GIT Alec, must be hard to do on nights like this.

  • lukethenuke

    leducleaf loomx Laviolette or Maurice

  • wiski

    lukethenuke leducleaf loomx Did Lavi get canned I missed it?

  • Wilbur

    PVR’d the game. Just finished watching. I don’t even know where to begin on this one. It’s a good thing I wasn’t sitting anywhere near where the Leafs come of the ice or I’m sure I’d have been arrested tonight. Not the worst game the Leafs have played but nonetheless totally embarrassing. Tonight was unacceptable on so many levels. I’ll be interested to see if any of the intermission stuff makes it to HBO and see if RC is still molly coddling the boys. As soon as Lucic beat Phil and Phil gave up, and let’s face it Phil gave up before Lucic even beat him, I couldn’t stand to watch the remaining 4 minutes. FML…

  • juliesucks

    After game 3

  • PEIleafnation

    Wilbur wasn’t same playoff kessel vs boston

  • Komas Taberle

    loomx
    Everyone knows who played shitty tonight it’s no secret.

  • The Truth Hurts

    And therein lies why you lose.

  • Cameron19

    peterbleafs Pretty sure he has a small injury and just refuses to let the team suck in his absence.

  • Cameron19

    loomx I am no Carlyle defender, but he has taken the blame on numerous occasions.

  • wiski

    leducleaf wiski lukethenuke loomx that’s why. lol

  • Wilbur

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before….”We came out and played well, we just didn’t sustain it”.

  • https://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMera Deck the Halls With Boughs of Birdman

    Anyone got a video of the hits tonight?   Dion or Seidenberg?

  • ProfessorRance

    The Truth Hurts Your schtick is getting old.

  • Waiting4LSC

    Alec you nailed it. Many of our weaknesses reared their ugly heads. Can’t clear, can’t hold the puck, can’t control the puck, stupid penalties, passive PP, lack of urgency, carrying passengers (that’s you Clarkson). So tired of being in the ozone and blocked shots spring the opponents because we are too high or have no one covering the middle in case of blocked shots. We keep repeating our mistakes. RC plays with a short bench so he can’t bench those not playing the way he wants. His presses are filled with what we didn’t do. Most fans can tell what our major problems are, but the players can’t seem to address them. Injury and fatigue may be reasons for tonight, but there is a real lack of IQ on this squad.

  • ProfessorRance

    Waiting4LSC I thought Clarkson had a better game. With Lupul returning hopefully next game I would love to see our second line as:
    Lupul-Holland-Clarkson

  • Waiting4LSC

    Solid, best description I’ve heard.

  • Leafbites

    Wilbur ‘…loss momentum in the game due to bad penalties and never recover it.”

  • Waiting4LSC

    PR: our expectation versus his performance over the last 10 games. From here to Pluto. He may have had a better game than previous, but on my scale he is at bust right now.

  • Wilbur

    Leafbites Wilbur I thought they lost momentum when they stepped on the ice tonight…

  • Wilbur

    Waiting4LSC I know I’m just upset about another embarrassing loss but I’m at the point of writing off this season for Clarkson already and hoping for better next year :)

  • Leafbites

    Waiting4LSC Still so much hockey left in the season, though, wait until the games really count.

  • ProfessorRance

    Waiting4LSC I’d agree with you he isn’t living up to his contract just yet but I think Clarkson could use the presence of Lupul on his line to help him get out of this funk.

  • Wilbur

    Leafbites Waiting4LSC This one counted. If we miss the playoffs by 2 its this when really fucking counted. They all fucking count.

  • Leafbites

    Wilbur Leafbites Waiting4LSC Yes, but at least wait until we get into the second half of the season. A little patience, I think, is in order.

  • wiski

    Waiting4LSC Clarkson is taking over the human Zamboni roll, getting knocked on his ass for a few games now.

  • Wilbur

    Leafbites Wilbur Waiting4LSC I’m out of patience. I’ve provided my fair share of patience. I’m tired of watching professional hockey players make stupid plays over and over. I’m beginning to wonder about the IQ of the entire fucking team.

  • GeorgeCastanza

    Have you ever raced cars, installed an “MSD” ignition box? You can insert a chip or module that limits your RPM before you have to shift gears.  This is how the maple Leafs are playing, like they have a REV limiter in place and they plan on leaving it there until the 40 game mark or until they slip out of a play-off spot, whichever comes first. Nothing else will make them pull that dang chip out. Not the coach, the media , the fans …nothing. This is my theory anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.   That’s why I’m not panicking just yet. After 40 games and it’s gut-check time. I’ll stick to this belief because it’s only way I can tolerate watching and being patient.

  • Wilbur

    Of, before I forget…If we could just have 12 McClaren’s on this team we’d win every night. Seriously, how in the hell does this guy still have a job? Look at what Jerry D has done in three games. Build me an entire line of Jerry D’s and turn them loose…

  • Waiting4LSC

    PR: IMO Clarkson probably needs Bolland to help him. For me Bolland seems to have been the glue holding parts of this team together. But even Bolland had his down games, particularly the one against Chicago. The players have got to collectively elevate each other, and I don’t see who can do it. At the moment we seem to be seeing individual efforts rather than sustained team efforts.

  • Wilbur

    Waiting4LSC That’s a good point. I see a lot of individual stuff and not a lot of team. May be a combo of the injuries and lack of confidence right now.

  • Wilbur

    Bruffins Wilbur Yup. It’s his speed and dogged determination. It makes a difference. It puts the other team on their heals and forces the odd penalty. I’ll take Jerry D over Ashton as well. But when everyone is healthy I’m not so sure that McClement between D’Amigo and Ashton wouldn’t be so bad.

  • Leafbites

    Wilbur Leafbites Waiting4LSC There do seem to be a lot of ‘between the ears’ issues with this group. Sometimes, I think they’re trying so much to adhere to RC’s style that they screw up with basic hockey decisions.

  • Wilbur

    leducleaf Wilbur That’s great. Let him be a gamer in the A or the ECHL.

  • Wilbur

    Bruffins Wilbur That stuff gets contagious as well. That’s what happened with Leo last year.

  • jcg_4

    Did I miss something? Wasn’t Brian Burke the GM when our 18 wheeler drove off the cliff. Your giving Burke way too much credit if you think there was anything noble about his rants; I liked the work Burke did for the Leafs but lets be real…he couldn’t keep his mouth shut if his life depended on it. As far as Carlyle goes, there is nothing wrong with his systems, no system will work if the players can’t do the simplest things like compete for a lost puck or clear the zone when there is plenty of time to do so.

  • Jay_Berg

    Missed the game. What’s this talk about Phaneuf getting suspended?