Game Recap: Game #37, Leafs 2 vs. Coyotes 1 (SO)

Troy Bodie
Getty Images/

Big sigh of relief as the Leafs pull one out in the shootout to stave off .500 and move to 18-16-3. Another one-goal effort here, but the Leafs generated enough chances for a regulation win if the top line could’ve buried. 

Let’s switch up the format to keep things fresh.

1st period

Reasonably happy with the energy level to start. Jerry D’Amigo set up the best opportunity for either team in the first 5 minutes.

Noticing zone time is less of a problem lately, with less of those extended spells in their own end thanks to better exits. Rielly and Liles were excellent in the first in this respect, and are looking like a good fit beside one another. Randy: Thou shall not tinker with this defence group.

The Leafs still haven’t been winning, but the shot counts have been closer as a result. I’m not liking the lack of finished plays; opponents are getting a free pass too often with not enough bumps and rub outs. The only three showing some physicality outside of Dion were Bodie, Kulemin and D’Amigo.

Speaking of which, a good battle down low by D’Amigo got the Leafs going in the build up to the opening tally. Carlyle rotated Holland onto the line with D’Amigo and Bodie rather than playing Smithson, which was a good choice. After D’Amigo scrummed the puck, Holland retrieved, drew some coverage, and feathered a saucer pass to Franson on the point. Bodie went to the front of the net, as he should, and picked up the garbage for his first as a Leaf. Chalk up another point for Holland, who is becoming a revelation. Thumbs up to depth scoring.

Generally a good enough first period.

2nd period

An early Leaf powerplay opportunity was snuffed out by a hilariously bad call. Franson lifted Halpern’s stick and Halpern either fell over or dove. The ref who made the call had a poor view from the far corner and likely made an assumption after Franson reached in with the stick and Halpern went down.

After the 4 on 4 and brief Coyotes powerplay ended, Rielly caught Boekker, who is fast, on a potential breakaway/2 on 1 situation after Gardiner overskated the puck at the offensive blueline. Couldn’t have done that from Sweden.

Clarkson mustered his first positive contribution in some time, coming out from behind the net with a down-low power forward move we hoped to see more of out of #71.

Reimer was on his game in this second period; his first good save was a strong positional stop and a part- lucky one on a dangerous redirect right in front.

The first real Leafy spell of sustained own zone time in this game came 12 minutes into the 2nd against Hanzal, Vrbata and co. The Coyotes managed to bring some fresh legs into their cycle against tired legs of Clarkson, McClement, Kulemin, Phaneuf and Gunnarsson. The Leafs survived.

The next shift, Lupul drew a hooking call on a good chance in the slot. A second powerplay was negated by a Leaf penalty after Morgan Rielly got beat wide and hooked Antoine Vermette. That’s the right situation to take penalties in, if there is one.

There was a good chance on the 4 on 4 for Peter Holland to add to his account as Lupul, Franson and Holland went in on a 3 on 2. Mike Smith was up to the task.

The Leafs sagged and stopped moving their legs as the second period wound down, with the Coyotes coming on strong. Some big saves were needed from James Reimer after some late pressure by the Coyotes in this period. Reimer needed to be sharp and close the five hole on a dangerous one timer from Mark Stone on a pass out from behind the net, in particular. That’s a tough play to track and a big save to make.

3rd period

A good backcheck by Clarkson may have saved a goal six minutes into the period after Vrbata got through the Leaf D coming across the net.

The airmail to Kessel was a play the Leafs attempted regularly in this game; JvR tried it three times and Rielly once, where Kesel flew the zone as soon as the Leafs gained possession. On the last attempt in the third, Kessel fell with a breakaway waiting for him, but a scramble in front eventually ensued as Kessel, JvR and Rielly all had cracks at the net with Smith down and out.

Phoenix’s dangerous offensive defencemen were activating throughout the period, pressing to even it up and giving the Leafs fits. The Leafs were hanging on and playing with fire.

Sure enough, clinging to a one-goal lead is rarely a good idea. Gunnarsson got himself in trouble and Phaneuf laid off instead of stepping up on a 50/50 puck to initiate the sequence, but ultimately it was a wrap around along the ice that should’ve been stopped. In Reimer’s defence, that is a tough one to read. Hanzal had his back to the goal, and it’s pretty tough to hit the far side of the net from there; Hanzal’s 6’6 wingspan threw a curveball, I think.

The response at 1-1 was better from the Leafs. Phil Kessel had a great chance to win this game with three and a half minutes left after an amazing backhand feed from Kadri. Kessel’s not bearing down right now. Could’ve been 4-1 off his stick alone.


A long stretch pass was again available for Kessel in the OT but he couldn’t get on the end of it.

Holland lost the puck at the offensive blueline for a breakaway opportunity for Ribeiro; Ribeiro at the end of his shift + Liles’ wheels and determination prevented the slick dangler from going in on Reimer alone with the game on his stick.

Ekman-Larsson was imposing his will on the Leafs as he did in the third. Impressive player.


Eff the shootout I love the shootout, we won! Right on, Lupul.


  • Drop the overtime shots from Phoenix and the Leafs are averaging 27.8 shots against over the last 4 games. That’s an average of  8 less shots against per game than they were averaging before. I call this the less-Mark Fraser-and-Paul Ranger effect. The Leafs are playing with better odds lately if they can get back to their opportunistic ways offensively.
  • Phaneuf was back to form after an off game or two since the suspension; back to winning battle after battle and flushing pucks out with strong pokechecks.
  • That’s 7 points in the last 7 games for Holland. Sounds strange to say, but the Leafs would be pretty screwed right now without this acquisition.
  •  Smithson played 3:27 in his return. Holland played in his place on the 4th line shift for the opening goal.
  • Bodie played just 2:28 despite the goal.
  • Kessel has 1 goal in his last 7, not for a lack of opportunity tonight. JvR has one point in his last 7.
  • Kadri played a good game, skating with purpose, despite his absence on the scoresheet. Surely this top line gets back in action soon.
  • I’ll repeat, Randy: Leave these defence pairings in tact and roll with them.
  • PK has been less of a problem lately because it’s been put to work much less.
  • Love that Reimer started after being let down by his team twice in a row and showing some passion and accountability after the Florida loss.



3D. PhaneufD000-1008100-1:56:001:37:0027:46:00
4C. FransonD0111221362-1:51:000:00:0020:53:00
11J. McClementC000-101301169%0:05:000:55:0021:04:00
12M. RaymondL0000000110-1:53:000:27:0016:55:00
19J. LupulL000003501033%1:51:000:02:0018:04:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000005200033%1:51:000:33:0022:41:00
22J. SmithsonC0000003100100%0:00:000:00:003:27:00
24P. HollandC011100103231%0:00:000:02:0017:16:00
26J. LilesD0000012300-0:00:000:02:0018:31:00
29J. D'AmigoR0001000000-0:00:000:00:003:06:00
36C. GunnarssonD000-1019300-0:05:001:17:0021:41:00
40T. BodieR1011021000-0:00:000:00:002:28:00
41N. KuleminL000-10151000%0:05:001:21:0019:06:00
43N. KadriC000004410120%1:53:000:00:0018:55:00
44M. RiellyD0001214212-1:53:000:12:0018:24:00
51J. GardinerD0000003210-1:53:000:30:0023:28:00
71D. ClarksonR000-1036221-1:58:000:00:0021:31:00
81P. KesselC00000300200%1:51:000:18:0020:44:00
34J. Reimer (W)34 - 350.971065:00:00

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Prefer this or the 10 points format?

  • LargusMeans

    Alec Brownscombe Absolutely prefer this way Alec.

  • TheStatsGuy262

    MapleLeafsHS 3 goals in 3 games

  • sniperstar

    One thing I have to say about the 1st though was Kulemin was pretty physical as well. I noticed him hit at least 3 guys in the period.

  • Jay31

    Thanks for the Game in 10 Alec. I dig both formats.

    Would like your thoughts on Kadri on the first line.. Do you like it / would you keep it with Bozak back?

  • gilmourhalloffame

    Alec Brownscombe
    great GIT love this format

  • DARF24

    Nice job on Recap Alec!

  • Jmessih

    Dion was great today except for the goal, should of already been waiting in front of the net for Hanzel. Should never have 2 dmen behind the net like that. Clarkson played well, Reilly and Liles looked great and i thought Franson was good too. Would like to see a bit more ice time sprinkled in for D’Amigo and Bodie but happy with the win. Great shot by Lups in the shootout :) 
    In the 3rd we sat back WAY to much tho. We need to be able to kill games off better or at least put the puck in their end and make them earn the time in ours. 
    Happy with the 2 points, loved the effort for more of the game tho. Even when they had a lot of zone time through the third we were not standing around like previous games, we were moving our feet. Clarkson saved a few goals and Kuli was solid in our zone too.

  • Jmessih

    Florida beat Ottawa 4-2 :)

  • Jmessih

    Also highlight of the game, watching Phil have to kill off about 20 seconds of the  Yotes PP when his 4 on 4 line iced the puck right when the penalty expired lol

  • Jay31

    Jmessih Hard to criticize after a win but you’d think after the game that can’t be named that they would stop sitting on leads like that

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    Anyone have a good streaming site to share? Going down to the islands next month and am going to need my Leafs fix.

  • Jmessih

    Jay31 Jmessih That exactly it. I didn’t want to criticize all I really cared about was the 2 points, but we need to learn from that. This has been something that is happening far too frequently.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    I missed the game tonight.  Had to work late (logged 13 hours OT this week).
    A shoot-out win is still a win (especially against a western conference team).
    Did we play well??

  • Jay31

    Jmessih Jay31 Yeah same. Id like to know where it comes from,  I mean maybe it’s something they’re being instructed to do

  • Jmessih

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot My personal fav

    but these work too

    Gl bud. Hope you get good streams

  • Jmessih

    Jay31 Jmessih They use a 1-2-2 to kill leads, but to me the issues is not when we have don’t have the puck it is the mentality with it. Hit the red line then dump it in seems to be the memo. They never try to keep it. Dump it in and change, not even a hold and change and go in with fresh players, hit the red line then all the 5 guys change. Then the other team gets the puck with no pressure and is coming straight at you.

  • wiski

    Alec Brownscombe Keeps on getting better and better 😉

  • theacs1966

    sniperstar He flattened someone at the Centre dot in the 3rd.  Camera was just cutting away and they didn’t show a replay.  I love his open ice hits.

  • Jmessih

    STL beat MTL 5-1 with the ex Hab Max Lapierre scoring too :)

  • PEIleafnation

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot vipbox , Is good…from PEI? ricky vaiVe

  • Leafbites

    Stinker by Reims, but it was nice to him shake that off and he looked real sharp on those last two shooters to get the extra point. Solid night for him. Kadri was a Leaf to me that stepped up, in terms of getting more engaged. Clarkson was better and another quiet but solid effort turned in on the blue line by the vet, Liles, as well.

  • juliesucks

    Apparently Giroux is back…4 points in the 3rd

  • Jay31

    juliesucks Playing himself onto a Sochi spot I hope, I’d like to see him there

  • juliesucks

    Jay31juliesucks he’d be great on the big ice

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    Jmessih PEIleafnationRick_Vaives_slapshot

    Thanks very much, guys!

  • DARF24

    I know we won and I am happy about the 2pts. But I think Gunner is having a real hard time: especially in OT he looked so timid.  

    Gunner aside, I’d like to see what Phanuef could do with a good solid D-man beside him like a Galardi or Orpik

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    PEIleafnationRick_Vaives_slapshot Not from PEI, was a huge fan tho

  • Komas Taberle

    Halak beat Price

  • DeclanK

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot I paid for hockeystreams and it’s the best $70 I’ve spend in a while. Highly, highly recommend it.

  • PEIleafnation

    DARF24 gunners giveaway started all the trouble on goal

  • Rick_Vaives_slapshot

    DeclanKRick_Vaives_slapshot thanks!. I was looking at gamecentre, but best I can tell, it’s the same price throughout the whole year. The don’t seem to pro rate the price.

  • wiski

    Komas Taberle Jmessih Again 😉

  • Jmessih

    Komas Taberle Jmessih I thought STL robbed them in that trade people think other wise I can’t see how.

  • wiski

    DeclanK Rick_Vaives_slapshot Seen they were a sponsor this year any discounts? 😉

  • wiski

    Jmessih Komas Taberle Ellar is having a good year I would call it even

  • wiski

    Rick_Vaives_slapshot DeclanK and you don’t get playoffs with game center

  • Jmessih

    Phil is going to be playing some poker

  • astrit07

    good night so far habs,sens ,bruins , nucks all lose these teams that I hate the most so I say its really good night

  • Jmessih

    Just want to say how happy I am with this out come. Shanny’s first correct decision.
    No supplemental discipline for Capitals’ Tom Wilson for hit Tuesday on Flyers’ Brayden Schenn. Video explanation: Retweeted by

  • Jmessih

    Agreed, I was pissed with the way he got up too
    Officials should have told Smith “show us where the puck is or it’s a goal.” The way he concealed when getting up is B.S.

  • sniperstar

    Jmessih That’s what ref’s in my house league do. Seems like a common sense thing.

  • sniperstar

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Up until the 3rd period then we let our foots off the gas with the lead.

  • sniperstar

    Jay31 Jmessih RC himself said he isn’t telling them to stop pressing. Was in an interview a little while ago.

  • sniperstar

    Jmessih He didn’t look out of place 😉

  • sniperstar

    Jmessih Completely agree with this one. Schenn turned last second. What the hell do you want Wilson to do?

  • gjdevlin

    A hard earned win but nonetheless a win – Phoenix did have more offensive zone time than we did but we kept most of their shots at bay. There are a couple of dipsy doodles and turn overs and some struggles to clear the zone out but it wasn’t that apparent. However, if we were playing the Bruins we would have lost this game.

    Hopefully we can build from this instead of regressing in the next game.

  • Jmessih

    sniperstar Jay31 Jmessih Yup I saw that one, but that is now what we see. Is it the players who are still scared? I don’t know. Just seems as tho they try to survive the shift. Playing not to loss rather than to win. Trying not to concede rather than play positive hockey.

  • Zep2

    Just finished watching the regulation game on PVR .  That turnover by Gunnerson leading to the tying goal is just so typical of what ails this team. No pressure , no problem, oops, back of of the net

    Nice to find out we survived and won in SO

    Clarkson pountless , but I thought it was his best game of the year

    Kadri / Holland came to play.

    What else can you say about Rielly other than WOW

    Franson had a great game 

    Bozak and Bolland  can’t get back soon enough, if only to win a few important face-offs. Vermette ate us up on the dot

    Excitement  to despondency to Euphoria. What a roller coaster these Leafs are

  • rustynail
    Wonder if Dustin Brown gets suspended for that ugly knee on Hertl? Poor NHL disciplinarians are gonna be busy during the Yuletide