Game Recap: Game #47, Leafs 3 vs. Devils 2 (SO)

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Jonathan Bernier
Photo: NHL.com/Getty Images

The eighth shootout win of the season (an astounding 36% of total Leaf wins) comes in unconvincing but much needed fashion.

There’s a couple of ways you could look at this one depending on how optimistic you want to be. The Leafs had a goal called off unjustly on a phantom goaltending interference call, which may have ensured a regulation win. On the other hand, the Leafs were outshot 38-25 and spent their typical extended spells snowed under.

Devils head coach Pete DeBoer was thrilled with his team’s effort in their third game in four nights, and thought the Leafs were lucky to emerge with the two points. He even used the word “robbed,” which is a bit rich considering the terrible call on the disallowed goal.

With how few and far between the points have been, the Leafs will take it and hope to build on two improved efforts versus the Capitals and Devils, at least over what we saw earlier in the week against Rangers, Islanders and Hurricanes.

1st Period

A sprightly start for the Leafs first line plus Gleason and Franson, as they held the line well and had two great shot attempts.

The Devils led the shot count 4-1 early, but Toronto enjoyed the better zone time and better possessions in the first few minutes. The first line was dangerous almost every shift in this period. Outside of the big guns, there wasn’t a lot to like about the Leafs. The 4th line with Gardner/Rielly got hemmed in their zone for a while, unable to break out properly.

Come the seven minute mark of the period, Toronto had four turnovers in a row and the ice was starting to tilt in the Devils’ favour.

A minute or so later, another big neutral zone turnover by Kadri saw another extended shift spent in the Leaf end.

The neutral zone trap, as expected, was giving the Leafs fits. The Buds couldn’t generate any rush attack and had to deal with players and sticks in every apparent lane.

The Leafs spent a spell where they just completely stopped skating and were standing still, with their offensive efforts limited to dumping the puck in with little effectiveness.

Finally a positive emerged, as Carter Ashton has a nice little rush with a small toe drag/delay before ripping one at Schneider. Nice to see him follow through by hammering two Devils and Schneider into the net. This poor young guy needs to have a shot in some offensive positions rather than obtusely centering the 4th line.

GOAL – 1-0 Leafs – Phil Kessel flushed out Bryce Salvador and caused a turnover to the right of the slot. The Leafs generated a good cycle before JVR and Kessel whacked at it and Bozak finished. That’s Bozak’s 18th point in 22 games this season.

After another dumb Clarkson penalty (this is not a recording) a ways from his net, the Leafs got the kill. The period ended 13-10 in shots for New Jersey.

2nd Period

43 seconds into the period, Kulemin put a free arm on Jagr — who goes down easily — and got called on a holding penalty.

GOAL – 1-1 – The Leafs’ penalty kill box was out of sorts, and Clowe and Henrique worked the give and go east to west and the tied the game off a shot from the circle.

The Leafs responded with a Lupul/Kadri rush, with Lupul moving it from a scoring area into a non-scoring area for Kadri to take an outside shot with not much chance.

As Jagr and Gardiner fought for the puck, Jagr high sticked Gardiner and sent the Leafs to the PP. Good movement on PP#1, before PP#2 generated some good chances including a missed opportunity by Raymond that could have buried. He made a poor decision, but shortly thereafter beat Schneider only to have Andy Greene save the goal.

GOAL – 2-1 Leafs – Straight back to the powerplay after another high stick by Reid Boucher, Franson took an indirect pass, got a shot through and JVR roofed the rebound to make it 2-1 Toronto. You have to love Franson’s knack for getting shots through on the offensive blueline…

GOAL – 2-2 – But out came “bad Franson” seconds later, as Ryan Clowe read a poor pinch by Cody and left the zone early before receiving a stretch pass and burying the breakaway.

After the goal, Toronto was receiving the game and looking like their shaky selves of recent. NJ generated more zone time following the Clowe goal including two shot attempts, one that nearly beat Bernier.

The third straight high sticking call against the Devils sent the Leafs back to the powerplay. After good movement on the PP, a flurry of shot attempts led to Bozak burying the rebound only for it to be called off on goaltender interference. The replay showed no contact between JvR and Schneider, who sprawled out by his own volition.

After PP#2 brought their good, as usual, puck movement, the inability to generate a point shot and a missed holding call on Morgan Rielly’s stick caused an odd man rush which Kadri took a penalty on. Ensuing PP for NJ produced nothing.

After the Leafs PK held steady, the Leafs went under siege as this game finally returned to five on five before yet another high sticking penalty on the Devils – the fourth of the period – sent the Leafs to the powerplay. Nothing was doing on either PP unit.

Late in the period, the McClement line hemmed in a tired Devils group after an icing with some solid board play. A second icing ensued, and Pete DeBoer opted for a timeout. Savvy move in a tied game with a 1:40 left in the period.

3rd Period

A tightly played game in the 3rd saw the lone powerplay go to New Jersey after a potentially game-costing penalty by Joffrey Lupul. Toronto, who seems to be getting a little bit better on the PK in the last couple of games, kill this one off with ease.

In a somewhat event free 3rd period, the Leafs made a mess of their attempt to close out the period. There was a opening to “WHEEL!!” as Phaneuf encouraged Gunnarsson to do, but #36 instead curled back around the net and the Leafs wound up hemmed in their zone for a minute and a half. Toronto’s forwards were collapsing so low in this spell; they didn’t venture above the tops of the circles and played scared to close out the game. This was a team with no confidence hanging on, for no reason, by the skin of their teeth.

OT

Here we are with more McClement and Kulemin as a forward pair in OT, which would indicate that the Leafs are a) protecting a lead or b) playing for a shootout. There’s no reason to have those two out 4-on-4. At all.

A fairly entertaining OT for the Leafs, who always look like a different team with one less player and usually dominate possession using speed and clever techniques, including curl backs to change lines while maintaining possession – something an elite NHL team likes to do at 5-on-5, but the Leafs insist on dump (and lose possession) and change. The Leafs D were joining the rush, which really made them a handful.

Post-Script Edit
MLHS’er Jay31 points out a recent tweet that confirms the ‘hunch':


…and consider that Jake Gardiner was hardly on the team and they added Morgan Rielly to the fray this season.

Nothing was decided in the extra five. Off to the shootout we go.

• JVR converted the lone goal with his patented backhand move.

• Bernier turned away Jagr with an excellent poke check.

• Lupul was up next, and a clone of his Winter Classic move hit the post.

• Another big save from Bernier on Ryane Clowe.

• Bozak missed high on his pull up and shoot move.

• A big save again on Boucher for Bernier, who was perfect in the shootout. He’s starting to shut the door in shootouts after some struggles early in the year. He looks more aggressive, which was what Carlyle yelled from the bench in the Winter Classic (as seen on 24/7).

Toronto_Maple_Leafs-vs-New_Jersey_Devils-Shot-location-data

  • sniperstar

    WOOHOO A WIN FEELS GOOD AGAIN! GO LEAFS GO!

  • DJBrianBurke

    sniperstarIt does! In regulation no less… oh wait.

  • wiski

    Better Late than never 😉 thks Decland

  • sniperstar

    DJBrianBurke In my mind we won that game in regulation.

  • wiski

    Shift_Disturber1 Effort is a bit strong don’t ya think

  • wiski

    Shift_Disturber1 wiski Getting hemmed in your own zone and out shot buy a trap team is downright embarrassing if you ask me?

  • rustynail

    wiski Shift_Disturber1 fortunately we didn’t ask you :)

  • Burtonboy

    wiski Shift_Disturber1 You do realize the Devils are one of the best cycle forecheck team is the League right ?

  • wiski

    rustynail wiski Shift_Disturber1 @wiski sorry I thought he did 😉

  • sniperstar

    TheCanucksnaphook NO WE WON!

  • Ydargo

    A better effort tonight…..a few things I noticed
    The Good:
    The overall play has picked up
    Gleason/Franson pairing is decent when Franson plays smarty hockey
    Gardiner/Reilly looked pretty good tonight
    The Bad:
    Franson lacks hockey sense., the Leafs just scored and he feels the need to pinch #cmonman
    Raymond just bothers me all around when entering the zone…….he makes Kessel seem gritty
    The D-man are still missing the net when they have open lane ways

  • wiski

    Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 I’ve watched quite a few devil games this year, Chico Resch is one of my fave colour guys, but not often have I seen them pin a team in as long as we alllways the fuck do.

  • Burtonboy

    wiski Burtonboy Shift_Disturber1 The Devils are the darling of the advanced stat boys . Ridiculously high corsi numbers but couldn’t score . They do this on a regular basis

  • Wilbur

    This was another game that reminded me that I’ll be happy moving forward (as things/players develop) with Dion, Gardiner and Rielly in the top 4. After that I think I’m at the point where I don’t give a shit about any of our Dmen. Franson is a dunder head half the time. Gunnar is a piece of Swedish shit half the time and the other 3 (Ranger, Gleason, Fraser) are 6th, 7th and 8th Dmen respectively. Holy hell we need help on the backend…

  • Jay31

    Thanks for the recap Declan. You are definitely right about them looking like a different team during 4v4. They outshoot their opponents unlike during 5v5. Check out this stat:
    https://twitter.com/BSH_EricThttps://twitter.com/BSH_EricT/status/422097902744252416
    Leafs got 51.9% of shot attempts (167-155) at 4v4 since start of ’12-13. Maybe personnel’s more suited to an open game than Carlyle’s grind?

  • wendelsfist

    Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 The thing with Corsi is the leafs will still be above .500 by the end of season.  They maybe out of the playoffs, but they will be no where near the 2nd last that their corsi shows.  Most of us know this is not a cup team but it is not the 2nd worst team in the league either, but things are close enough that team may make the playoffs or just miss.

  • Wilbur

    Can we please put Holland between D’Amigo and Ashton? Pretty please?

  • wiski

    Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 Numbers and what what you see don’t always match not the games I’ve watched anyway, they we’re being dominated in those.

  • wendelsfist

    Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 And the Devils, will be about the “same” team as the leafs contending for playoff spot.  They have a very good corsi but are not a top 5 team and nor a bottom 5 team.   Rather they are somewhere in the middle like the leafs and most teams.  Just what is Corsi  really telling us?

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsfist Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 I expect the Leafs to play considerably better then they have in the 1st half

  • Jmessih

    Jay31 But we send out McC and Kulie 4 on 4 #justsaying

  • Ydargo

    It makes you wonder if moving someone else to the 2nd line would make sense (ie: Clarkson or Kulemin)
    Then again Raymond is not great defensively so that might be a bad idea
    4th line ?

  • wiski

    Burtonboy wendelsfist wiski Shift_Disturber1 Or bring out the tar and feathers 😉

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    Jay31 That was just a hunch, but I guess the stats back it up. 
    Consider that Gardiner wasn’t on the team for the majority of the year and we’ve added Rielly to the lineup this year, too.

  • Jay31

    Wilbur “No, fuck off” – Carlyle

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsfist Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 We all know the type of game they play and they do tend to outshoot and out possess teams on a regular basis. They lack skill to put the puck in the net .

  • Jmessih

    BTW – I like this style of summary WAY more than the game in 10. 
    Speaking as someone who missed the game and wanted a real defined look of what I missed. So for those who did see it, it is prob even better.

  • wiski

    Wilbur He’s on his way

  • wendelsfist

    Burtonboy wendelsfist wiski Shift_Disturber1  And the thing is, and I keep repeating, is the leafs are 2nd to last by corsi and devils are third highest corsi, but neither of those are useful or predictive.  

    Both teams are “wild card contenders”  and the difference is best described by the devils that can’t score and leafs who can score more often.

  • Jay31

    DeclanK Jay31 I’d love to see this team run by a more offensive-minded coach

  • darthNihilus

    lot of butthurt f***s over at ppp GO LEAFS GO!

  • wiski

    wendelsfist Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 wildcards is what they are

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsfist Burtonboy wiski Shift_Disturber1 I’m not defending Corsi. Just pointing out the Devil do out shoot and out possess the opposition on a regular basis

  • Bobsyouruncle

    darthNihilus Tell them Bob says hi.  lol

  • Waiting4LSC

    Declan: solid post. Just wish the Leafs could play solid consecutive periods.

  • darthNihilus

    their compete is infectious

  • Burtonboy

    Bobsyouruncle darthNihilus Bozak has them confused lol

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ DeclanK

    wiski Blame the drunk editor! (cc; Alec)

  • wendelsfist

    Jay31 DeclanK Do the leafs play differently this year versus last?   We seem more defensive yet get hemmed into the zone more often

  • Bobsyouruncle

    Burtonboy That’s my boy Bozie.   lol

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Bobsyouruncle darthNihilus Bozie has Bob confused lol

  • Burtonboy

    Bobsyouruncle Burtonboy I know you don’t like him but I enjoy it when he pisses the stat guys off

  • Burtonboy

    TheCanucksnaphook Ridiculous

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook Worse, the multiple replays made you more frustrated.

  • Savo43

    Can’t wait till Bolland is healthy again. Our team was a lotttt stronger with him in the line up. Perhaps our biggest loss of the season. Now if only we could have Komarov, Grabovski and MacArthur back as well. I didn’t think those were mistakes at the time, but we’ve clearly lost a step as a team. Its unfortunate. Not unfixable though.

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Bobsyouruncle I told him he would love him by the end of the year

  • darthNihilus

    TheCanucksnaphook i wish dion would just skate through one already lol

  • Savo43

    TheCanucksnaphook Savo43 Lololll, sorry snapper 😛

  • wiski

    TheCanucksnaphook we got to see it over and over

  • Savo43

    TheCanucksnaphook Savo43 I can’t believe we’ve won what…1 regulation game since he’s been out? Like fuckkkk.