Home Game Reviews Game in 10: Game #40, Leafs 4 vs. Sabres 3 (SO)

Game in 10: Game #40, Leafs 4 vs. Sabres 3 (SO)

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Better than one point or zero, but all we can do is exhale and move on after this one. This was way too much of an adventure for a must win game against Buffalo. Still with just 1 regulation win in the last 19, this was the fourth straight Leafs game decided in a shootout. The Leafs led in the third period in three of them.

1 – In a nondescript first few minutes, the Leafs took 6 of the first eight shots. Not a great first 5 or so minutes, but not a horrible start, either.

2 – The keystone cops routine by the Maple Leafs was underway come the 7 mark. The Sabres had a total of 9 first period goals coming into this game, and had never scored two in the first period through 40 games. The gratuitous hosts had the honours of putting an end to that streak of offensive ineptitude.

The first Sabre goal started with a ring around the boards by Holland, which wasn’t met by a Leaf winger – a theme all season, and it happened a couple of times to start this game. Girgensons drove out front, got taken down by Holland, and threw it on net; Moulson jammed at it and it went in off Phaneuf.

3 – Now, that John Scott goal, the second of his career, may have looked bad, but consider this angle – Scott played 12:39 because of that goal. This is relevant later on in our game story.

(Seriously, that was the most embarrassed I’ve been as a fan since the Game 7 collapse).

4 – Right after that doozy (100% on Bernier), Morgan Rielly skated into the ref and nearly gave up a breakaway. The Leafs scrambled like headless chickens as the Sabres hit the post and nearly made it a third. I think Paul Maurice nailed it at the intermission – their heads must have been racing at a mile a minute, but all we could see was a team that was completely stunned and not moving their feet.

5 – The second period finally brought some urgency as the top line, who the onus was on to get this team going, came to life with a couple of relentless shifts in the middle of the second period. After a period of sustained pressure, Gardiner ripped a pass from Kessel that nearly blew a hole in the mesh. It was like the collective frustration of all of Leafs Nation was channeled into a single swing of the blade.

6 – After a really dumb play by the Sabre defender in the corner, Raymond found Holland in the slot for an easy-looking goal. Make that 9 points in the 12 games Holland has played 10 minutes or more.

The universe restored its natural balance as Scott took a dumb penalty a few minutes later and the Leafs scored on a powerplay; a beautiful pass from JvR to Kessel off a rebound generated from a Phaneuf point shot. 3-2 Leafs: All is right with the world, keep everyone, we didn’t mean what we said.

7 – There’s really nothing overly complicated about the way the Leafs got themselves back into the game. It sounds dumb as hell, but they just started playing. Where was this in the first? Why must we experience the utter hell of that first period before this team finds its way into the game? This team is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle surrounded in mystery.

8 – The Leafs should’ve scored an insurance marker and ended this one in regulation a couple of times over. The Rielly, Kessel and Lupul chances all come to mind. Got to have one of those.

9 – That’ll teach Randy Carlyle for taking a timeout (see why he doesn’t, guys?). The refs kept the whistles in his pocket almost all game, but a pretty weak call on Phaneuf led to a powerplay with under a minute to go. Bernier for the second time couldn’t seal a soft floater into the chester protector and it ended up in the back of the net a few seconds later.

Blame Phaneuf or Bernier as you may, that’s the 11th lead the Leafs have coughed up in the third period and ninth time they’ve gone to OT/shootout after leading going into the third period.

An amazing thing happened when Holland took a rare shift late in the game. A good forecheck, followed by a turnover, a good chance for Lupul, and an offensive zone faceoff late in the game.

IT’S THE WRONG APPROACH, CARLYLE.

10 – In a period of sustained pressure by the leafs for the final 1:30 of OT, there were a couple of great chances for JvR on a wrap around and Phaneuf from the slot that were denied by amazing toe saves by Ryan Miller.

The only reason the Leafs won the shootout was because the Sabres missed, hit the post, and mishandled the puck despite having Bernier beat in all three instances. Lupul continues to be great at scoring pretty shootout goals, too.

That’s about the least convincing way to collect six out of eight points as I’ve ever seen. I’d say it’s a good thing to play less than your best and still gather points, but we’re one game from the half way point. The Leafs are still in the mix, though. Give them that much.

NO.
PLAYER
POS
G
A
PTS
+/-
PIM
S
HITS
BS
GVA
TVA
FO%
PP TOI
SH TOI
TOI
3D. PhaneufD011-11250200-3:35:000:00:0025:56:00
4C. FransonD0222016000-3:35:000:00:0023:57:00
11J. McClementC000002100048%0:00:000:26:0020:05:00
12M. RaymondL0110040001-0:57:000:00:0018:02:00
15P. RangerD000-1012110-0:00:000:26:0017:58:00
19J. LupulL000007010233%3:30:000:00:0018:36:00
21J. van RiemsdykL01100500000%3:30:000:00:0022:29:00
22J. SmithsonC000000100050%0:00:000:00:005:20:00
24P. HollandC101-101001073%0:00:000:00:0016:09:00
28C. OrrR0000003001-0:00:000:00:005:16:00
29J. D'AmigoR0000001000-0:00:000:00:006:26:00
36C. GunnarssonD000-1001100-0:00:000:26:0019:04:00
41N. KuleminL0000012012-0:00:000:26:0018:29:00
43N. KadriC000101201038%0:57:000:00:0018:14:00
44M. RiellyD0001040221-0:52:000:00:0018:59:00
51J. GardinerD1010053220-0:52:000:00:0024:06:00
71D. ClarksonR0000024200100%0:57:000:00:0019:37:00
81P. KesselC1120030020-3:30:000:00:0020:51:00
NO.PLAYERSAVESSV%PIMTOI
45J. Bernier32 - 350.914065:00:00

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. Contact him at [email protected]

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422 comments
CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

People over the last two days have been asking one of our goalies to step up.. Bernier has all year ..even if he struggles he always keeps the team in..


Bernier has.. the last four games his save % is 914, 977, 962 and 933.   Even when he struggled last night his save percentage was over league average-  cant be superman every night.  Compared to Reimer last 4 games of 750, 971, 870 and 800.  ..


Really out of 27 appearances Bernier has only had 4 (FOUR)  below 890 save %.  Compare that to say Rask who has had 5 games under 890 in 30 appearances.. or Luongo who had 7 in 32 appearances..  or the amazing Cary Price (according to media) who has 6 in 30 games.. People do not seem to realise that Bernier has kept this team in more games than these supposed leaders yet our own fans criticise him.


This is why he was brought in.. he is very consistent.. 



Leafs rule
Leafs rule

Nice write up Alec ,Yes I like the humour lol "The universe restored its natural balance as Scott took a dumb penalty a few minutes later and the Leafs scored on a powerplay;

And Gards  with over 24 minutes was okay again ,still wish we had a healthy  fraser back last night for ott

glad I watched past the 2end goal now

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

MacArthur the saviour = 28pts in 39 games ..........Mason Raymond the sieve = 26 pts in 40 games a mill and change

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

Pretty sure we move Kulemin, Reimer, a D-man before the trade deadline.  

loomx
loomx

This team is just hilariously bad at holding onto leads. 40 seconds left, all they have to do is ice the puck a couple times. But no, it's just automatic now. Have a one goal lead? We're going to OT. 11 game tying goals in the 3rd period. It's incredibly frustrating when, on the flip side, when the Leafs pull their goalie, it's an automatic goal. Incredibly frustrating.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

Holland continues to impress me.


Raymond is so good with the puck then makes one too many moves.

Ryan
Ryan

Can someone tell me what makes Sam Reinhart the 1st overall pick this yr ?

loomx
loomx

@Dangle_My_Berries I don't think that's the comparison that's being made. You could have both those players plus a million bucks in cap space AND not have them for 7 years if you signed them instead of Clarkson.

loomx
loomx

@Yaknowwhat I'm happy with him now. But I just know that Nonis will re-sign him to bigger money, and then Raymond will disappear. That's what he's done his whole career. 

dlb meh
dlb meh

@Yaknowwhat

you just repeated everything i've read, or said, about him here today.  so...what hate?

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@Yaknowwhat Jesus.  Who is hating on him?  I understand the need to defend the kid but EVERYBODY on our team has weaknesses.  Fact.


His is holding onto the puck a little too long and in bad places on the ice.  Its so visible even to these untrained eyes I would focus on it as the opposition. 


He is solid for 1m per year.  Not a guy you can build a team around but as you said nice secondary scoring.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@theacs1966 I would prefer to have seen the Refs vantage point when Dion was giving him shit after the overtime period.  

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

Raymond is a lot like Gardiner in that respect.  makes a lot of nice plays but misses so many others.  holding onto the puck so much often leads to a mistake...or nothing much.

dlb meh
dlb meh

if we had to pick only one, would it be Kulemin or Raymond?

how much could Raymond make before he was not longer worth it?

2M

3M

more

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@dlb eh they are both valuable pieces of this team.  I have never warmed up to Raymond but man can he dangle.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

lack of depth.  i'm no expert on this one, but it seems like there are a lot of draft eliible players in the tourney this year.  maybe it just seems like it's more than normal to me, when it's really not.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@-Keon- The other Reinhart (Griffin?), taken right before or right after Morgan Rielly, can't make the Islanders lineup, can he?

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

that's not really what i was thinking.  i was thinking he and Bozak and Clarkson and Kulemin and McClemment are our best defensive players, and which combination i like best and which centre plays wing.  i just think Bozak has better wheels and Bolland would be better along the boards.  Bozak in the faceoff circle.  Bolland has been a good winger, for CHI, when needed as well.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@wendelsway1

i know.  there are  lot of flaws with the lineup i threw down there.  judging what i've seen, though, i think it gives the coach what he needs.

3rd line gets a lot of ice time based on the other teams top lines getting a lot of ice time

the 4th line is energy.  and tough to beat perhaps.  maybe not physical, but perhaps frustrating.

either of the top 2 lines could be the best line any given night.  Kulemin's best games have come with either Lupul or Kadri, so why not throw them all together haha.

JVR and Kessel seem to produce with any centre and Holland, to me, is capable of beating a guy one on one to open things up and has the wheels and size and shot...

the list of reasons it wouldn't work is longer.  starts with 60 minute games.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

@dlb eh Ok I dont really want to get into a pissing contest but Bolland was a center on a stanley cup winning team and he isnt good enough to play the middle here.

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

it does to me.  he's a good player, not just a centre.  until you see him on the wing how can you judge?  Bozak wins more draws, and with both on the same line i just figure it's a line that can play against top lines that actually has scoring potential (unlike the current McCLemment lines).

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

JVR-Holland-Kessel

Kulemin-Kadi-Lupul

Bolland-Bozak-Clarkson

D'Amigo-McCLemment-Raymond

not real "tough", and not enough minutes considering the way Carlyle leans on 3 lines, i know

dlb meh
dlb meh

@TheCanucksnaphook

Raymond is worth the 1m, and as long as he's in a checking role i'm happy to have him.  he plays best when he's the best offensive player on his line.

to bad we don't have more tough players capable of playing top 6 minutes.  i'd like to throw him on a 4th line with D'Amigo and McCLemment.

donelikedinner
donelikedinner

@MaxwellHowe@-Keon- What ?  I seen Pat Stapleton at a hockey tournament a while ago. Are you thinking Keith Magnussen ? If so, I believe it was Rob Ramage who was also in that accident.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@-Keon- And was it the olkd man Paul that went to jail in relation to the car accident that killed Pat Stapleton?