The Maple Leafs made it five in a row for the first time since the 2006-07 season with a 4-2 win in Phoenix, as Nazem Kadri and Phil Kessel stayed hot and Jonathan Bernier turned away a whopping 39 shots.
The Leafs also now hold the dubious honour of leading the league in 3rd period goals against with 60 after two third-period goals made things, as always, interesting. Nevertheless, the road swing started on the right note and the Leafs have collected all 10 of the last 10 available points.
– The Kadri line was the second unit out, and continued their good play with a good offensive zone shift (Gleason/Franson on D).
– McClement, Orr and Ashton provided a great shift early. Ashton, again, showed he deserves a better chance further up the lineup and more than 0:45 of ice time per period; he went on a rush created all on his own, shielding the puck well and getting a dangerous shot off.
– With Phaneuf/Gardiner – Kadri/Lupul/Kulemin out, a dangerous rush from David Moss nearly gave Phoenix the early lead after Phaneuf got caught on a dangerous/ill-timed change. He later fell behind the net, turning the puck over, and got beat wide off the rush in an uncharacteristic first period from #3.
– With 13:10 to go, Gardiner committed the first of too many turnovers tonight, with a pizza of a giveaway in the slot.
– Holland and Bodie pulled off some Leafy goodness after spending a long spell in their own zone, coming back the other way with a great 2-on-1 that Bodie couldn’t convert on (ended up in the crease, with his stick way off the ice, somehow).
– With 11:15 to go, JVR/Kessel connected with another great scoring chance. It looked like a dead play before Bozak as the third forward on the scene provided a strong stick to keep the play alive for two more shot attempts.
– After Phoenix hit the crossbar with around six-seven minutes to go, the Leafs were hemmed in their own zone and looking a little shaky defensively.
- GOAL: 1-0 Leafs. Carlyle had thrown together a different-looking Kessel, Kadri and Raymond line. P.J. Kessel took a hit to make a play out of the corner as Gardiner swooped into the slot and found the loose puck after two Phoenix players failed to clear it out of danger. Jake Gardiner picked up his fourth of the season.
– GOAL: 2-0 Leafs. A PP followed shortly after for Leafs after a clearing attempt went over the glass. The Leafs were looking confident on the man advantage. Phaneuf made a nice rush in deep, got a shot off, and Phoenix’s box of penalty killers had difficulty recovering. After Franson held the blueline well on an attempted clear by the Coyotes, Kessel opened some time and space on the half-wall with a nice little move and beat Smith between the legs to make it 2-0 Leafs. JVR provided the net-front presence, as per usual.
– That’s 12 points in 6 games for Phil Kessel, who is up to 50 in 51 on the season.
– Period over: Not necessarily a strong possession period, but lots of Leafy goodness with opportunistic scoring chances showcasing their skill.
- In a bit of a choppy start to the 2nd period, Dion took a lazy interference penalty and the Leafs 12th-ranked (on the road, 30th at home) PK was put to the test.
- A good kill to start, with a strong clear from Gunnarsson and a change 30 seconds in. A bit of luck helped preserve the two-goal lead after Ekman-Larsson hit the cross bar with a wicked wrist shot. Ribero took a sloppy high-sticking penalty on Gunnarsson on a zone entry and negated the PP for Phoenix, as the game went to 4on4 for 45 seconds.
- On an abbreviated powerplay after Dion returned from the box, there was some difficulty exiting zone with the Phaneuf / Franson pairing; Phaneuf took matters into his own hands and went for a rush and shot attempt. Phoenix came back with more zone time, even when on the PK. Nothing doing on that PP.
- GOAL: 3-0 Leafs. Carter Ashton provided a great 4th line shift on the cycle, drawing a penalty and sending the puck to Phaneuf at the point. Phaneuf’s shot wound up on the stick of, surprisingly, Carl Gunnarsson, who pinched way down low to finish his first goal of the year and first since last January.
- Bernier was playing lights out, with some assists from lady luck (3 posts/cross bars).
- Kadri took a high sticking penalty on a missed stick lift and the Leafs went to the PK. Another solid kill here for the Leafs, who look like a different team killing penalties on the road. Even with Bozak losing a stick, JVR and Bozak organized a position swap and Bozak managed to get his stick back. Just a much more confident group on the road for some reason.
- With seven minutes to go, the ice started to tilt heavily in Phoenix’ favour, as the Coyotes spent long spells in the Leafs zone. This was perhaps score effects, perhaps a more desperate Phoenix team or perhaps Toronto taking their foot off the gas.
- In a brief foray in the Phoenix end, a great rush from Kessel saw #81 curl up at the blue line and hit a trailing Cody Franson, who wired a wrist/snap shot off the iron.
- End of the 2nd: In a pretty poor period for the Leafs in the latter half, they were outshot 15-6 but led 3-0 after 40.
- A decent start to the period for the Leafs saw the teams relatively even in zone time.
- GOAL: 3-1 Leafs. On a very bizarre call four minutes into the period, Phaneuf got a tripping penalty after a blown whistle on an offside. Ribeiro scored on the PP, from Yandle off the point. The Leafs had collapsed on the puck down low and Gunnarsson blew a clearance, leaving acres of space high in the zone for Yandle to look up and find Ribeiro to the side of the net.
- This wasn’t one of Phaneuf’s better games this season. There was some questionable decision making and he often looked a step behind the play.
- Shortly thereafter, Jeff Helpern took a high sticking penalty on a collision with Mason Raymond. Franson threw a pizza up the middle on the PP, as the Leafs gave up another chance on their own PP while Phaneuf and Franson were on the ice.
- After the PP, Gunnarsson got skinned by Ribeiro for a clean look at the net in the slot, but Gunnarsson’s loose stick had the mind of its own to drag beside Ribeiro and do the defending for him.
- Antoine Vermette ran into Bernier with ten minutes to go, sending the Leafs to another PP. Franson was a nightmare on the PP in this period, giving the puck away in his own end again, resulting in more own-zone time on the PP for Phaneuf and Franson. JVR took a super-soft penalty behind the net for “interference,” negating the PP.
- On the 4 on 4, a 2-on-1 for Kadr and Lupul was stonewalled by Smith and a (very) long stretch pass the other way started a scramble play in the Leafs own zone with Phaneuf and Gleason in the same corner, out of sync.
– Some more back and forth play ensued, as the game started opening up with Phoenix pressing for a 2nd goal. Bozak made a strong outside drive to the net and got hauled down for the Leafs’ fifth powerplay of the game.
- The Leafs started their second defensive unit, finally. Dave Farrish still seems unable to notice that Phaneuf/Gardiner and Franson/Rielly are superior powerplay units.
- GOAL: 4-1 Leafs. Gardiner and Rielly had a hiccup on the passing play back and forth on the blueline, but they regrouped and Gardiner took the puck on his own for a clean zone entry. Gardiner set up a gorgeous passing play with Rielly, Raymond and Kadri for a Nazem Kadri goal that tipped in off a Coyotes D. A wonderful display of skill gave Kadri his 31st point of the season and fifth point in his last three games.
- GOAL: 4-2 Leafs. Another PP for the Leafs, their sixth of the game, after an Ekman-Larsson hook on Franson. Kadri forced a pass through two defenders and Vermette came back the other way and made him pay with a short-handed goal. The Leafs PP was dangerous at both ends on the night and it seemed like a shorthanded tally was a matter of time.
- That goal gave the Leafs 60 goals against in third periods this season, which is the worst in the League.
- Phoenix pulled Mike Smith for what seemed like an eternity with him out, including two play stoppages and a timeout. Interestingly— if you could read lips— Carlyle’s play was to get the puck back to Franson and have him give it a hard wrap around the boards and out. I was thinking at the time it would lead to an icing; the play was executed as he planned and it indeed resulted in an icing. Perhaps he was looking for a fortuitous tip on the half wall on the far side of the rink, but that’s a stupid play that could cost the game. Randy’s had enough of a hard time recently, so we’ll leave it go.
– Solid work by Kulemin and McClement at least kept the Leafs out of their end for a while as the final seconds ticked down. Another late shot block by Tim Gleason – looked to be in the face area – was the final note of the game. The Leafs win their fifth in a row for the first time since 2006-07.
After a good first half of the game, the Leafs seemed to take their foot off the gas for the back half. Jonathan Bernier deserved a more serious look for a spot on Team Canada. He faced 40+ shots and was absolutely brilliant.
|James van Riemsdyk||0||0||18:22||0||5||2||0||0||1||0||0||0|
Game in 6: Toronto Maple Leafs at Phoenix Coyotes
I hate that they sit back in the third period, it has to stop.
But it is amazing the difference when the Carlyle plays: McC 20 minutes; have Fraser, McLaren and Orr in the lineup
and now let them play hockey like they can.
I am still not satisfied with RC but it is much better, now is using the assets that we have to their potential.
We needed that win. Man is it ever tight. A number of teams with same points or could be with games in hand.
connor brown a full 20+ points ahead of everyone in the OHL other than his team mate, who he is 10+ points ahead of. what a year.
matt finn is number one in the OHL in +/-.
what a year.
two more good young assets coming up slowly but surely in our system. i like the newfound patience of leaf management. it will really pay off in the next 5 years. we have a lot of good YOUNG players. think of what our team could have on it 3 years from now. here's a list with what their ages will be three years from now, in their prime:
- kessel at 29.
- gardiner at 26
- kadri at 26
- rielly at 22
- JVR at 27
- bernier at 28
- pieces like matt finn, stuart percy, josh leivo, connor brown. one or two of those potentially about to have a breakout year at the age of 22 or 23.
with some good veterans:
- dion at 31
- lupul at 33
- kulemin at 30 (as a solid 3rd liner)
- bozak at 30
- clarkson at 32
if the likes of JVR and kadri and rielly develop a bunch more over the next few years a team like that could really look strong.
In regards to Koms and Keons talk below, i wonder what Carlyle's talk sounds like when we're up 3. He couldn't really want us playing with the lead like that can he?
kadri on pace for 20+ goals, 30+ assists for 50+ points. if that's a sophmore slump i'll take it. if the last week is another glimpse into where he will be with more consistency in a couple more years that'd mean he could be a 30+ goal, 40+ assist type guy. that would be sweet.
The acquisition of Gleason reminds me alot of the Glen Wesley one. Blocks a lot of shots, defensively responsible, not perfect, but seemingly what we were missing on the back end. Unlike Wesley, hopefully Tim can stay healthy for a good playoff run.
Good game but those turn overs were painful - there was no collapsing but I did notice the Leafs often fighting the puck along the boards. For the next game - stick with the plan but try to win those battles and clear out the zone more efficiently.
The sign in the pic from the GDT
"Would a Phoenix fan come to Toronto?"
No, Glendale is difficult enough for them to get to.
@Great Dane I don't get what you're saying, but if you're saying Fraser, McLaren, and Orr should be the lineup and McClement should be playing 20 minutes...then i strongggggly disagree with you. Hell to the no. LOL.
@Bring the Cup Home Dane Fox with 51 goals..undrafted..19 years old..i'm guess that makes him still draft eligible? To me, it would seem like he's worth a pick. (Erie Otters as well...Browns linemate im guessing?)
@Bring the Cup Home Don't forget Johnson, Granberg and Nilsson
@Bring the Cup Home nice
@-Keon- Looked good when he was actually out there thats for sure. I think we gotta keep Rielly and Gards for our future. They WILL be our top PP unit in no time. Sorry Phaneuf and Franny.
Best thing about the Gleason deal is the absence of Ranger and Fraser. HUGE upgrade over either of them. Maybe not worth his salary, but if the cap rises a bunch the next two years, Gleason's salary may start to look all right for what he brings to the table. He looks really solid out there. He's better than Franson if you ask me. Franson has one positive, the power play. otherwise, he totally sucks.
@Shift_Disturber1 haha always get me
@Shift_Disturber1It is. I live in Surprise and it's "way out" a bit. Strange location but beautiful rink. It's going to take at least a decade before their fan base grows some more. When people move to Phx, they bring their loyalties with them - Chicago, Boston, etc and only go to games when their home team visits - until the next generation - and if they stick around - starts to embrace the home team then I think the Coyotes will thrive. Growing pains.
@sniperstar Read the rink boards behind Rielly and Kessel. ;)
@sniperstar see Jesus Kessel below for an explanation.
@DeclanK That page is a gold mine. Thanks for the link. Funniest stuff I've seen in the longest time.
@Savo43 something went wrong with LifeFire when I edited my post.
What I tried to say was, that now that Carlyle is not playing McC 20 minutes and Fraser, McL and Orr are more or less out of the lineup he results are much better.
Carlyle is also letting them play hockey. The problem is still the third period where they sit back.
@Savo43 My thinking too. Now if Kadri for Couture was the deal I would consider it, but not for Pavelski.
If Pavelski was the piece we missing for winning the cup I would trade Kadri but he isn't.
Nonis would only do "same" age trades which would be Couture for Kadri. That Sharks would safe 3 million in cap hit next year could be the deciding factor.
Then I would move Franson to Canucks for Edler. That is a match as well.
@Great Dane @Savo43 I hate to be the one to bring this up, but if SJ put Pavelski on the table for Kadri, would you do it? Keep in mind Pavelski is 29 with 27 goals and 50 pts this year and Kadri is only 23 on an off year (he's still doing ok) with 12g 19assists in 3 less games then Joe... In my eyes, Pavelski would seemingly offset any sort of advantage Boston has on faceoffs, and potentially down the middle overall, especially since his style of play is more suited to Randys liking. I think short term it would be great, but long term i think we set SJ up to be a stud team for a long time, with Couture and Kadri down the middle, with us perhaps kicking ourselves on the skill we let go. I really don't know though, how many good years does Pavelski have at 29? Could he be a stud for a long time still? JVR-Pavelski-Kessel could be really filthy, but in the same breath i actually really like Bozak on that top line right now. Is Lupul-Pavelski-Kulemin really better than what it is with Kadri? Can't make up my mind on this scenario, but personally i think I'd keep Kadri, and 100% only because of the age concerns.
@Savo43 Fully agree. We need an upgrade on the defense and another strong winger instead Raymond. An upgrade at center would also be nice but that is much more difficult to find
@Great Dane @Savo43 Agreed. They should definitely play to their strengths. That said though, Randy has done a great job teaching our team how to play the game with control of the puck, in controlled scenarios, without all the offense coming off the rush. However, the team should be looking to utilize both the rush, and the cycle. Nothing wrong with being dynamic.
@Savo43 This team is good when they are allowed to play fast hockey.
When they try to play a grinding game they suck big time
@Great Dane @Savo43 @Bring the Cup Home I really hope Connor is a diamond in the rough. I read on here within the past year that even though he puts up numbers, his ceiling is a 3rd liner (by one of the authors on the site)...i hope to god whoever wrote that, doesn't know shietttt, and gets proved wrong. Have you seen him play much? I can't say that ive seen him at all.
@-Keon- @Komas Taberle Definitely frustrating. Best defense when your up believe it or not is a good offense. Good offenses are well structured and in position to counter on the defensive, unfortunately we look appear as though goals aren't important after we're up. Not the case. Thank goodness for our goaltending.