Standout performances by Nazem Kadri (2 goals) and Jonathan Bernier (40 saves on 42 shots), and another timely goal late in the third by the top line (JvR’s 21st from Kessel and Bozak), saw the Maple Leafs take the first of four season meetings against the Lightning. The Leafs are 7-1-1 in their last nine, and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 28-21-6 record (62 points).
– The Leafs couldn’t take advantage of any of their three powerplays in the first period, despite going up against the fourth worst penalty kill in the League. On the first powerplay, they were really fortunate not to concede an early shorthanded goal against. A Phaneuf pass behind all three forwards followed by a bad Franson pinch at the blueline gave up yet another odd man rush on the powerplay. The Lightning hit a post on the 2 on 1. That pairing has been scary lately for the wrong reasons. They followed it up later in the period, on another powerplay, with a turnover in their own zone which Bernier had to take care of. A PK unit would be smart to test these two, and the Lightning were indeed aggressive in their pressure.
– The Lightning directed five shorthanded shots on net in this game.
– Despite receiving all three of the period’s powerplays the Leafs were outshot 11-8; they spent a spell between the 10:00 and 5:00 mark sending the puck up the boards to the other team repeatedly, but fans have learned to cope with such spells by now.
– A couple minutes into the 2nd period, Kadri found some space through the middle of the rink after jumping on a broken play in the neutral zone. He gained the zone and got a friendly deflection off the boot of the Tampa D, fooling big Ben Bishop. Other than that, Bernier was big in the first half of the 2nd period, a frame in which the Leafs were outshot 18-8 overall. Bernier was calmly turning aside pucks as the Leafs D looked scrambly and disorganized.
– Another moment of Kadri brilliance put his team ahead 2-0 half way through the 2nd period. A smart chip in into a good area by Gunnarsson was retrieved by Lupul, who sent a backhand pass into the slot for Kadri. Kadri made a fool out of old enemy Victor Hedman with a gorgeous toe drag and backhand deke finish. That play started with a faceoff win by Kadri in the defensive zone, where he was 7 for 7 tonight (10 for 16 overall).
– That’s six points in eight games for Lupul and nine points in Kadri’s last seven. Great to see these two producing together again.
Since the Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin line was reunited against MTL on Jan 18, Nazem Kadri has 3 goals and 6 assists in those 7 games.
— David Alter (@DavidAlter590) January 29, 2014
– A great chance came off the stick of Holland in slot on the next shift, as his line carried the momentum forward. Unfortunately, any momentum was quickly curtailed by an offensive zone holding penalty by Holland. The Lightning hit two posts after a lot of scrambling by the Leafs PK.
– The Leafs never really got settled after the end of the PK before Rielly misplayed the puck in the corner, leading to the 2-1 goal for the Lightning. Rielly wasn’t ready to receive the pass from Bernier from behind the net, uncomfortably receiving it on his backhand, and the puck escaped between his legs and into Lightning possession in the slot. Rielly needed to identify the danger and keep that puck moving up the boards off his forehand. Gardiner was left alone in front with a couple of Lightning players as Matt Carle took a pass and beat Bernier blocker side high.
– The Leafs went right back to the PK after a hooking infraction by Gunnarsson happened at the same time as an offside whistle. Unless the hook caused the offside it shouldn’t be a penalty. The refs saw it differently, but that looked like the wrong call to me.
– The Lightning hit another post on their ensuing powerplay in a four-shot effort for the Lightning plus a couple of missed chances from point blank range. There is little confidence left in these units anymore and much of the aggressive instinct seems to have waned. This was a PK taking away nothing in terms of passing lanes as the Lightning moved the puck at will.
– In another goal shortly after the expiry of a PK, with Rielly-Gardiner plus the Kadri line on the ice, three Leafs were in corner with B.J. Crombeen but the pass made it out into the slot anyway. A couple of whacks at it later, with no one tied up or knocked down in front, defenceman Mark Barbeiro knocked in the tying goal. The Leafs’ PK did not technically get scored on tonight but it sure put the team on its back foot.
– With just a minute remaining in the second, Kadri had a chance for a hat trick, all in one period, after Lupul won a puck race to the boards against Brewer in the defensive zone (yay) and made another nice little backhand pass to a trailing Kadri inside the offensive zone blueline. Kadri missed wide right with Bishop’s five hole wide open.
– Inexplicably, Gunnarsson decided to stickhandle around his own zone instead of flipping the puck out with a few seconds left on the clock, turning it over and forcing Phaneuf to grab a piece of St. Louis. A dumb play by Gunnarsson put the ailing Leafs PK to work to start the 3rd.
– The Leafs PK was better to start the 3rd, managing to prevent a clean Lightning set up and breaking up entries a couple of times at the blueline.
– Kadri and Lupul were finding each other with regularity in this game. A Lupul centering pass set up Kadri with another prime chance for the hat trick early in the third. These two were on the same wave length all night.
– Phaneuf found Kessel on a stretch pass four minutes in to the 3rd after #81 snuck in behind the line of defense. Kessel saw the fivehole opening but couldn’t hit it, firing wide right.
– This game could’ve gone either way, but some extended first line pressure with 13 minutes to go suggested the Leafs’ big guns were starting to come on strong in search of the game winner.
– After the game tightened up for little bit, Bozak took advantage of a fumbling Radko Gudas, who made a mess of it in his own zone, as #42 won the battle, picked up the turnover, and dropped a pass to Kessel. Kessel found JvR in front for a goal everyone knew went in except the referee behind the net.
– That’s a couple of clutch goals late in the third period in the past two games from one of the best lines in hockey.
– 41 points is JvR’s new career high, but that’s a little misleading due to the lockout-shortened season. He has 39 goals and 73 points in his last 101 games.
– A huge outstretched glove save by Bernier on St. Louis saved the game and put a stamp on a remarkable 40-save effort. That’s Bernier’s fifth win with 40 saves or more.
– It was another good night of solid defensive play for Tim Gleason in 18 minutes of ice time, but unfortunately there seems to be some Final Destination karma coming his way since he got here. He’s taken shots to the ribs, face and groin in the past few games, and a cross check from behind caught him with 2 minutes left as he fell awkwardly; he seemed to hurt his back or shoulder. He was down for a little while before gingerly making his way off the ice. Suddenly this feels like a significant loss if he’s out for any length of time.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lighting Boxscore
|James van Riemsdyk||1||0||21:07||1||3||0||0||1||0||1||1||0|
TAMPA BAY STATISTICS
|Ben Bishop (26-7-4)||L||26||23||0.885||58:22|
|Martin St. Louis||0||0||24:29||-2||6||0||1||5||0||0||1||0|
Game in 6: Leafs vs. Lightning
I really hope Bodie stays with the Leafs when Clarkson comes back. He does everything that Orr and McLaren do, and he can actually play hockey. I am a fan.
Last night at the end of the second period I posted a blast at Carl Dummarson . I just need to add one more tidbit. In the last minute of the game, there was Carl out there with Phaneuf, and I think maybe it was Dion who passed the puck to Carl ( bad, Dion, very bad) . Gunnar actually had control of the puck until a Lightning player barely (and I mean barely) touched his stick, he lost control of the puck, and we were into a mad scramble . This is the NHL, Carl ! You are strong enough physically to play for the Swedish Olympic Team, womens edition. But, a top pairing D man in the best league in the world ?????? If that's the way Carlyle and Nonis, et al, see this guy, we need new management.
Just finished watching the game:
Raymond, Fraser, Orr, Franson can be dealt once Clarkson, Bolland and Gleason are back
What a game by Kadri.
Bozak is the straw that stirs the drink. Will become our Bergeron lite.
Highway robbery by Bernier in the third.
Kadri is 2nd in penalty differential in the league with +14 penalties drawn than taken
Don't know what was up with Carlyle the player in 87-88 but on average he clocked in about 100 PIMs a season. That year he jumped up to 210 PIMs and had 59 points to boot lol.
Just finished watching on PVR.
Great to see that Kadri line rolling...they have been good lately...Kadri being a bit of a catalyst right now.
Also liked Kessels game again...just some little things he is doing and getting more engaged physically.
Great goal by JVR
Bernier was rock solid
Alas, That was as big of a bone head penalty by Peter Holland half way through the second as you will ever see. The Leafs were rolling and he holds a guys stick in the offensive zone...bad decision by a guy who has looked pretty smart.
Fun fact: Phil Kessel has hit a career high in hits after only 55 games. His 19 hits this year is better than his previous career high of 16 hits achieved last year. What a goon.
Just caught the Game In Six...looks like TSN had planned on having a Ben Bishop love-in from the start of it. Sorry that Bernier had to spoil that guys... Saw Naz's two goals while I was at the rink...was that our favourite French-Canadian referee waving off JVR's goal?... Great effort from the looks of it, nice to grab two points in regulation.
Nice clips Alec! I was thinking it would be nice if the team helped Bernier get a shut out for once. In my opinion he deserves at least one. It seems the Leafs are still missing wide open opportunities. They day it all clicks we're going to see a blow out of immense proportions. Something to the tune of 12+ goals to whatever. I counted at least 6 really good chances with the goalie beat, not to mention the 2 missed with the goalie pulled. Once again the only thing besides solidifying the defence would be to work on shot accuracy and not coughing up chances, on the power play and play in general. It will be there demise if they don't do something about it. They are showing improvement closing out the third period lately.
Wow Livefyre was going crazy on my phone today. Awesome game guys! This was a fun one to watch. My mom and I went crazy on Kadri's second goal. I love watching games with her. Her English isn't all that great and she refers to players by their first names. It's awesome lol
I corrected my statement about winning coaches in the thread below. 5 since the 60s, besides Carlyle.
Saw bits and pieces in the 2nd & 3rd period. some thoughts..
a) Kadri seemed to press for the hat-trick too much. couple of plays where he could have passed to JVR or Lupul and they had a better shot I thought. but otherwise a brilliant game from him.
b) Officiating - geez.. someone has to call them out. The Gunnarson penalty was clearly offside, no call on the cross check on Gleason and the JVR no-goal. thank god for replay.
That save by Bishop on Kessel in the second period when Kess smashed his stick against the boards and Bernier's save on St. Louis were two pieces of brilliant goaltending.
Kadris best game of the year. Sick , sick hands. After the 2nd goal he could of dished of a couple of apples but he was going after the hat trick
Gunnars worse game in awhile
Nice game by Bernier
Gleason making Nonis look pretty smart
Dion seemd to be tiring
Rielly made a WOW type play early in the 1st. What a beauty.
How many times did Gorrd Fucking Miller mention the Leafs were being outshot
Leafs, win, TSN DROPS THEM A SPOT IN THEIR RANKINGS , GUARENTEED
Did Kadri drink a case of Red Bull prior to the game? He was flying. We were all talking about him looking slow the other day but he didn't look that way tonight. He was the straw that stirred the drink tonight. Him and Lups had it going. Kulemin was along for the ride..
@Pent_House I expected them to sing
@Pent_House Randy just likes his music and his painting, and if he feels like coming home and lying down, he's going to do it.
@-Keon- The PK looked dreadful, Its an in game analysis not an advanced stat. Same as rating the D and offence, Its not based of blocked shots/ fenwick etc.
@B_Leaf On initial view the penalty didn't look as bad.
Kessel looked pissed after TB tied it. Gotta love that.
@loomx and a fight and suspension in pre season...dont mess with this guy!
@deedrag Bernier has a shutout this year. I think it may have been from the Ottawa game when he came in for Reimer.
@CanuckUKinToronto How many of those were 2nd assists?
I think Kulemin is what lets them do their thing
@Pent_House and the girls love him, according to the bartender lol
Yeah, Quinn and Burns had good winning records while Kelly, Neilson and Maurice all won about 10 more games than they lost. Under Ballard alone the Leafs went 12 seasons in a row where they never won more games than they lost each year.
That would boost the team's overall grade considerably when it was a poor goaltending performance. Save percentage does not equal grade percentage, is what I'm saying
@-Keon- @Tim Horton They looked dreadful but still executed. Doesn't make a lick of sense why you would use arbitrary stats as opposed to arbitrary game analysis. It's Alecs rating system anyway. You can make a daily Keon system with your own numbers after each game, I am sure you could gain quite the audience,
@reenergized Actually, I'm still discombobulated following that second Kadri goal :)
@Wilbur @vinoa @CanuckUKinToronto Lupul was also in too few games to say that he's a true PPG player like Kessel. As for them barely getting points without Bozak it's the same reason that no other C has stuck in that role. Bozak's built great chemistry with Phil over the years and that can't be replicated on the fly when someone else slots in. Bozak's definitely the best line mate for the time being. That doesn't mean that Bozak's the best possible player indefinitely.
@CanuckUKinToronto My point was that pointing out that he gets points isn't fair given his linemates. Kunitz and Okposo are also in the top ten in scoring this year. I think Kessel's just one of those few elite players (Crosby, Ovechkin, JT) that can elevate his teammates' success. Case in point: Lupul was a PPG player with Kessel as well.