Game Day Notes: Game #54, Leafs at Jets

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Carlyle Welcomed back to Winnipeg
Photo: WindsorStar.com

The Maple Leafs look to put the Dallas debacle behind them tonight in Winnipeg. As far as the playoff race goes, Montreal lost their third in a row last night and the two teams remain tied on points for 3rd in the division. The bad news is that Detroit and New Jersey both won last night and are sniffing at the Leafs’ heels in the wildcard race.

– This quote isn’t conclusive at all re: tonight’s lineup, but after a blowout like Thursday’s loss, it might indicate a change is coming on the backend tonight.

– The two obvious questions: who would come out, and how would Fraser or Ranger improve things? One thing the Leafs were doing well during their winning streak was producing offense from the defense (14 points from Phaneuf, Gardiner, Rielly, Franson combined for 14 points in five games before Thursday) and exiting the zone more efficiently, at least before they shut things down with the lead. The ‘kid’ pairing, while prone to getting caught up ice or the (maybe not-so) occasional giveaway due to inexperience or unchecked creativity, on the upside is more than capable of rushing the puck themselves and providing those quick ups to get their line moving in the right direction. Tim Gleason has also helped, as he has moved the puck fairly efficiently, picked his spots well in terms of stepping up on attackers at the blueline, and has won battles on the boards.

– It seems silly not to give the group that pieced together the Leafs best stretch of wins in eight years a chance to rebound from what was an off performance from top to bottom, including the Leafs’ top line and top pairing, who were out for 4 goals against, their highly-productive PP stumbling and getting scored on twice (once officially), and both of their highly-ranked goaltenders having an off night. The Leaf defence pairings seemed to finally be gelling a little bit, so why not see how this group responds before making a change? We’ll see how it shakes out.

– Under Claude Noel the Jets employed an aggressive stack forecheck, and the key to beating the Jets was beating that forecheck; the complaint was that the team would concede the neutral zone easily and give up far too many odd man opportunities against. I haven’t seen the Jets under Paul Maurice yet, but the stats say they are 4-1-0, and that they are conceding fewer goals since he got there. Maurice is trying to bring some defensive emphasis to a team he felt was “cheating for offense” too often. In a recent road trip to California, the Jets beat the high flying Ducks 3-2 and limited another great offense to just one goal against the Sharks on Thursday, although they couldn’t score and lost their first game under Maurice by a score of 1-0. The Jets have conceded just eight goals in five games since Maurice has arrived.

– Noel also never consistently line matched. The other night, Maurice matched Setoguchi-Jokinen-Byfuglien up against Joe Thornton’s line. While the Jets held on for much of the night, the eventual 1-0 game-winning goal came from the Pavelski and Thornton line. We’ll see if Maurice tries to combat Kessel, JvR and Bozak with the same combination.

– Speaking of which, Phil Kessel has never played a game against Winnipeg where he hasn’t scored a goal. He has a seven-game goal streak ongoing against the Jets with eight goals and ten points over that span.

– During the last five games (since Maurice’s arrival), the underperforming Ondrej Pavelec has moved his goals against down from 3.14 to 2.94. Over the stretch he’s conceded just eight goals on 137 shots (.942 save percentage). He had easy nights vs. Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary (faced just 21 shots on average), but held two-high powered offences in Anaheim and San Jose to just three goals on 74 shots (.959 save percentage).

– James Reimer has been given the start tonight in his home province, looking to forget his portion of the Dallas performance and return to his form from the Colorado game two nights earlier. Jonas Siegel has the latest update in the goaltender competition with quotes from Reimer. Reimer is 2-2 in four starts vs. the Jets with a .903 save percentage.

– The Leafs are 3-3-1 in seven games against the Jets since they moved to Winnipeg.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets Matchup

SeasonDateLocationResult
2011-12 season:Wed Oct 19 2011at TorToronto 4, Winnipeg 3 (SO)
2011-12 season:Sat Dec 31 2011at WpgWinnipeg 3, Toronto 2
2011-12 season:Thu Jan 5 2012at TorToronto 4, Winnipeg 0
2011-12 season:Tue Feb 7 2012at WpgWinnipeg 2, Toronto 1
2012-13 season:Thu Feb 7 2013at WpgToronto 3, Winnipeg 2
2012-13 season:Tue Mar 12 2013at WpgWinnipeg 5, Toronto 2
2012-13 season:Sat Mar 16 2013at TorWinnipeg 5, Toronto 4 (SO)

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgcc5V9Hu3g

  • Kouba

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fanhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkdKksI_Fhk

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    At worst the leafs will be 6 and 2 in their last 8 and 2 on 2 on this tough west road trip.  WTF is the problem Randy!?

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Actually, if Randy puts in Ranger and Fraser, he is pretty much assuring a 6-2 in last 8 and 2-2 west road trip.

  • peterbleafs

    I think he should stick with the same line up as per the commentary above.

  • http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ DylanJ

    I smell a win

  • http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ DylanJ

    Havent seen many games lately, how are Franson and Gunnarson doing, bad enough to sit a game? Saw a few bad flubs from Cody for sure

  • Burtonboy

    You never know with Carlyle til game time that’s for sure. One thing I do know the Jets are fast and usually very aggressive on the forecheck.. Putting a very slow Mark Fraser  and or brain cramper Paul Ranger on that back end is asking for trouble . I think the Leafs could have a good bounce back games tonight  but if Carlyle decides to make moves like that after just one bad game in the last 7  then all bets are off for me .

  • Loric76

    Morning gang

    I really hope we don’t see Gards or Rielly (or both) sitting tonight, but realistically if RC is going to slot in one of the spare D I’m not sure who else could sit.  You know it’s not Phaneuf, and Gunnarson and Gleason are highly unlikely.  Franson really ought to be, but he’s the the only righty and leading D in points.

    The only thing I know for sure is that whatever he does someone here will be pissed about it lol.  Tough call.

  • Loric76

    CanuckUKinToronto Loric76 maybe he sits Orr and brings in Ranger to run 7 D…not sure 7 D makes a lot of sense, but it’s better than sitting Gards or Rielly

  • Loric76

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy I don’t think Fraser is even a consideration, but he can’t say that publicly.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Franson isn’t coming out . He’s a whipping boy here but I think the coaching staff sees that much differently .If you go by last games performance you could easily take out Gunnar or Phaneuf but thats not happening . I’m guessing he sits Gardiner for Ranger even though Grads was no worse then many other d last game

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy I hope so .

  • Zep2

    Morning everyone

    Winnipeg is going to be a tough game. They bring that Bruins, Rangers combo of speed and size. 

    I thought Rielly and Gards had that deer in the headlights type of game against Dallas . I can see Ranger coming in to replace Rielly and telling Gards to Keep it Simple Stupid

    Please Carlyle, leave Fraser in the press box

  • Burtonboy

    Some pretty good games on this afternoon. 

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/schedulebyday.htm?navid=nav-sch-today

  • WendelGilmour

    Morning, guys.

    No way I’d sit either Gards or Rielly. Mistakes are part of the process, and our breakouts have been much better with this set of D.

    I also think we need both for the PP.

    Tonight would be a great time for Lups to get back on track.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    I’m starting to have some concerns regarding our compete level and the consistency at which we put forth the effort it takes to win.  Hopefully Dallas was truly a wake up call and we see a solid effort tonight.  I’m also looking forward to Cameron’s take on the game and his observations of certain aspects the rest of might not be able to absorb from home.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Burtonboy You gonna be watching the Slush Puppy Cup in LA today?

  • Burtonboy

    TuckerForPunishment Burtonboy I might watch some of it out of curiosity more then anything else

  • Zep2

    There was a discussion on BB  work on drafting/ team building at end of the last post. Heres a part of Tim Panaccios article thats on EKs site on who Flyers should bench

    “My vote is Luke Schenn, who continues to get beat on plays from every which way. What was so unnerving in the Blue Jacket defeat was Schenn abandoning the crease to chase Derek MacKenzie to the far boards.
    Schenn is as slow as they come and do that with the puck still loose was crazy because by the time the Flyers defenseman got back to the crease, MacKenzie had taken a pass and skated down the slot for a crucial tying goal after the Flyers had grabbed a lead four minutes earlier.”

    Getting JVR for Schenn was grand Larceny on Burkes part  .

  • Burtonboy

    I see Spott scratched Leivo again last night . Kids had a few struggles this year for sure

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Loric76 CanuckUKinToronto By George I think you’ve got it laddy.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Burtonboy TuckerForPunishment Come on man.  You’ve been waiting your whole life for something like this.  Hockey at Dodgers Stadium.  I bet you dreamed of this as a kid. lol

  • Zep2

    TuckerForPunishment The Leafs came out and played pretty hard to start the 2nd pushing to tie . All the air came out of their tires when the 3rd goal was scored.

  • B_Leaf

    Burtonboy 

    I think the problem with Leivo is his failure to work on all aspects of his game.

  • TuckerForPunishment

    WendelGilmour Not disagreeing here but wasn’t Kadri making those mistakes in the AHL a “part of the process”?  What makes Jake and Morgan so special?  I guess the fact there is no one above them on the depth charts is the answer?

  • TuckerForPunishment

    Zep2 TuckerForPunishment Exactly.  Out the window went the compete level.  That can’t happen.  Although most of Leaf nation gave up at that point too.

  • B_Leaf

    TuckerForPunishment 

    TFP I wouldn’t worry too much about the Dallas game. It was there 6th game in 9 days and they had tough competition and travel between every game.

  • WendelGilmour

    TuckerForPunishmentWendelGilmour 
    Well, I think both are too good for the A, and the good stuff they bring outweighs the bad, for the most part. I would also agree they are higher on the depth chart than others.

  • B_Leaf

    TuckerForPunishment Zep2 

    I saw compete level…just not their night and Dallas was clicking. It was ugly but given circumstances not a completely terrible effort. They actually took the body hard in an effort to get back in that game.

  • WendelGilmour

    B_LeafBurtonboy 
    I haven’t seen the Marlies much this year, but maybe the typical consistency kids need to find hasn’t come yet. From what I’ve seen with Leivo he may well be better (more effective) in the NHL than the AHL. He has a knack for finding open spots to get a shot away, and he has a good one.

  • B_Leaf

    Zep2 

    I would sit Gards out of the two…he was particularly horrid in the Dallas debacle

  • Zep2

    TuckerForPunishment Zep2 Just an observation, not an excuse, but except for the elite teams , most teams go through cycles or phases of good -bad play

    Philly was riding high, now on a 3 game losing streak. 
    Ottowa hot after a bad start, Habs the opposite

    After 6 wins  squeezed into 9 or 10 days laying an egg is not that much of a surprise

  • The Truth Hurts

    Gardiner sits

  • B_Leaf

    WendelGilmour B_Leaf Burtonboy 

    I think that is where most of his effort goes, they probably want to see him develop more of a two way game without losing the offence.
    Leivo is a great prospect, but now is when they get a chance to mold him. Our top six, or top nine need more complete players.

  • WendelGilmour

    B_LeafWendelGilmourBurtonboy 
    Yeah, I agree. I’m all for developing him as a dependable two way player, you generate a lot of offense by playing well defensively.

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks Welcome to Victory Day !

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Lets GO BOYS, gotta get a big win tonight!

  • Optimustic

    Zep2 I thought the poster was correct on BB’s team building, but the reply I remember reading ( @Djamon’s) I think,  was in reference to drafting only.  
      I can understand the questions on his drafting, but I felt BB did a great job building the team from what he had to start with.

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Zep2 TuckerForPunishment They should break out of that today . Playing the Caps who totally suck right now

  • B_Leaf

    In all likely hood I think RC keeps the same D pairings tonight just because they were starting to look settled before Dallas. And I don’t think we should take the Dallas game too seriously. However I have to admit in my estimation Gardiner’s stock is falling. I was big on his talent, but something has gone backward in his development.  I keep thinking he is going to get it right and then no it doesn’t happen.  He would do better to get the puck to Rielly more who seems to have much better instincts offensively. Gards play inside the other teams blueline frustrates me…he squanders opportunities. I hope Gards gets it going, perhaps he is just on the verge of doing so.

  • peterbleafs

    B_LeafWendelGilmourBurtonboyYes he is, Leivo, Brown and Verhaeghe are all good offensive prospects.

  • Burtonboy

    B_Leaf Look at other young defensemen in the league . PK makes all kinds of mistakes and Karlsson is a fucking disaster in his own end. How long has Gardiner been with the leafs ? He hasn’t even completed 2 full seasons yet. If we give up on this kid we will regret it big time in the very near future

  • Burtonboy

    CanuckUKinToronto Burtonboy Zep2 TuckerForPunishment Ovi and Grabo are out for this game. Pretty poor odds that will win this one

  • Zep2

    Optimustic Zep2 The Kessel , Dion ,JVR  and Lupul/Gards trade is for the most part what built the core of the team

    He gave up 2  1st rounders for an elite player. He turned a top 5 flub into a top 2 stud

    Imagine what Burke could do with the Oilers right now

  • Zep2

    Burtonboy B_Leaf Habs Olympians were -2 with a .860 ? SP last nite

    OLE OLE OLE

  • Burtonboy

    For some strange reason I have a feeling Devon James will be playing for the Raptors next season lol

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/2014/01/24/toronto_fcs_transformation_was_colourful_journey_led_by_tim_leiweke_kelly.html

  • B_Leaf

    Burtonboy B_Leaf 

    No one said to give up on Gards, but his stock has fallen. Obviously when this happens patience is a virtue.

  • Knights2Leafs

    CanuckUKinToronto 
    What has Gleason been over the last 7?  I know he’s only played 10 games but there is a common denominator here.
    As much as Ranger has been trashed here, he was a plus player for quite awhile and then he got paired with Franson and he dipped to – 8.
    By all accounts Gleason has played well and saw all of the winning streak but only part of the losing streak and yet he is – 5.  Playing with Franson.
    Worst plus/minus on the team – Franson at -14.
    Having said all of that I don’t think Carlyle will pull Franson out of the lineup and while I don’t necessarily agree with this, the only change I think might happen is Rielly out and Ranger in to play with Gardiner. Ranger can play the right side.  Fraser can’t play the right and is too slow.

  • Knights2Leafs

    Loric76 CanuckUKinToronto 
    Fuck yes.  Great idea.