Shark Club Game Day: Game #61, Maple Leafs at Islanders

Shark Club Game Day: Game #61, Maple Leafs at Islanders

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Things are rotten in Uniondale.

John Tavares is injured, and while the International Olympic Committee will compensate the Isles by covering his salary for the balance of the injury layoff, Garth Snow also wants the IOC to just kind of give money to their season ticket holders because the team sucks.

For now it seems Snow and Jack Capuano will play Thomas Vanek, who is expected to be dealt prior to the deadline after refusing a contract offer earlier this month. Same goes for their leading-point producing defenceman Andrew MacDonald, another player in need of a contract and soon to be dealt. Third-leading point scorer Frans Neilsen is out hurt.

A team with nothing to play for can sometimes be a dangerous team and play spoiler when the games tighten up down the stretch. Especially if there’s some players playing up the lineup, hungry for the opportunity and not really expected to win. Whatever the case, the Isles are a tire fire, lost six of seven before the Break and are now without their franchise player; it’s two points the Leafs really should have to kick off the final stretch of the playoff race.

The Leafs left off with two consecutive victories and 11 wins in their last 14. JvR has ten points in his last nine and Kessel has 26 points in his last 15.

The only addition to the lineup from the group the Leafs left off with will be Trevor Smith on the Leafs‘ fourth line. The Leafs may go three lines plus McClement and Smith as their 10th and 11th forwards while continuing to play Paul Ranger as the seventh defenceman, as they did in their final two games before the Olympic Break, both wins.

Nikolai Kulemin will remain at center for tonight, centering Troy Bodie and Mason Raymond.

Jonathan Bernier will start. He’s started in nine of the Leafs‘ last ten wins and posted a .971 save percentage in the last two games before the Break, stopping 75 of 77 shots faced.

Evgeni Nabokov will start for the Islanders. He’s 3-0-1 against the Leafs in his last four starts but hasn’t faced the Leafs yet this season.

Thanks as always to Daily Faceoff for the lineup graphics.

Isles Forwards

Isles D

Isles Goalie

leafs forwardsleafs defenceleafs goalie

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1233 comments
Savo43
Savo43

My dream offseason:

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To CGY:

Lupul

Raymonds rights

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To TOR:

Giordano

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To NYI:

James Reimer

Cody Franson

Jake Gardiner

Nazem Kadri

1st round pick

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To TOR:

John Tavares

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Sign Andrew MacDonald 5 years 20 million

Sign Leo Komarov 3 years, 6million

Sign Brian Elliot 3 years, 6 million

Resign Dave Bolland, 6 years, 24 million

JVR-Bozak-Kessel

Leivo-Tavares-Clarkson

Holland-Bolland-Kulemin

D'amigo-Komarov-Bodie

Ashton

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MacDonald-Phaneuf

Gunnarsson-Giordano

Rielly-Gleason

MacWilliam

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Bernier

Elliot





Savo43
Savo43

Its cool to think that Bozak is already a bargain in the once alleged "overpriced" contract he signed this summer. 

M
M

Decisions!  Decisions!

NYI Goal # 1: Puck support.  Leafs try to force passes through opposing bodies.  First Kessel in the neutral zone, but this wasn't too bad with Leafs to back him up.  However, Gardiner then as last man back commits the same crime trying to pass it to Bozak in his own end with 2 NYI players forechecking hard.  If not off the near boards immediately to Rielly, the safer play would have been a pass off the far boards for either Bozak or himself to retrieve.

NYI Goal # 2: Fool you, fool me?  Rielly with good speed would have got to the puck.  If the goalie wants to play it, don't hesitate or it will fool our own player too.  In practice, work out the play and signals.  Did anyone hear either of them shout?  If unsure, fire it somewhere safe, and get back into the net.  An empty net is like an untouched virgin gift, let's not be too generous.

NYI Goal # 3: Dominos.  Was that a new defensive coverage?  Phaneuf way up near the blue line leaving a forward the job of covering a NYI player low in the slot.  Gleason then tried to challenge the point but got caught in no man's land.  The all too familiar dominos effect did not end well with just Kulemin to cover two NYI players in front of Bernier.

NYI Goal # 4: Communicate.  The two D couldn't decide who would cover the lone NYI player in front of Bernier.  After the shot, Phaneuf pushes the NYI player away from the crease only to have Gunnarsson cancel him out pushing him back into it.  Would Bernier have spotted the puck sooner without that commotion in front?  Perhaps we can give them this goal.

NYI Goal # 5: Awareness.  Three Leafs taking on one NYI player in the corner and none got the man or puck.  Worse, both D got bottled up, leaving JvR to handle a bouncing puck in front of the net.  When Raymond went down to apply pressure in the corner, Gardiner should have realized he is beside his D partner and that the front of the net was wide open.  Now what would happen if the puck ever squirts loose ... doh!


Let's hope we get over the Olympic hangover; get our game faces on for these games.

This is a page from the Canadian Olympic team.  Puck support, quick short passes with no opposition in between, stretch passes only when sure.  Support means the players without the puck must get into good position for an easy safe pass.

Cameron19
Cameron19

Phaneuf +1 despite 5 goals against, and scored a goal.

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Belfour: Phaneuf sucks.

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So tired of this totally unjustified commentary.  People should have to have SOME evidence - literally ANYTHING - before being allowed to say their nonsense about Dion. It's just ridiculous at this point. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Man some ugly hockey played league wide tonight from the looks of it 

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

We tied Calgary tonight with 18 blown 3rd period leads,, fix it Nonis... out!

Bruffins
Bruffins

@CanuckUKinToronto  

any goalies in the past you know that were like that and then fixed it? Ive never really followed goalies until the last couple years

Bruffins
Bruffins


@Cameron19

it is why the captain of the Leafs has to be like a third line defensive grinder. The expectations for Dion are impossible to match

Bruffins
Bruffins

@CanuckUKinToronto  

tampa Toronto would be a great series, Id pick Montreal if Im thinking best chance at round 2 though

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Pent_House  Who fights rookies? Not much you can do about those nights. No one stopped Komarov all last season. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Komas Taberle  Yea, but a bit misleading as we've only lost 3 or 4 times when leading into the 3rd.

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Cameron19 @Komas Taberle  

Doesn't matter, we are still tied with Calgary,

I know we can comeback Cam but that is a sad statistic that we should not be happy about.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Belfour20 @Bruffins @Cameron19  Right, you realize that we don't actually shove our opinions down your throat though. No one was on here singing about Dion, as you and the two or three other haters like to pretend. It only starts when you come on making baseless claims with no examples because it's the way you feel. 

Bruffins
Bruffins

@CanuckUKinToronto @Bruffins  

and from what I have seen Chara isn't the same as last year. Like you said, there just isn't a team in the East that really scares me in the playoffs, we have a good shot with any of them

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Shift_Disturber1 @Cameron19 @Pent_House @rustynail  We struggle in our end because our forwards either blow the zone looking for a stretch pass, or they have collapsed to the middle to block shots, causing them to be late getting to the boards and disadvantaged in puck battles. It has nothing to do with physical will or strength, save for maybe an individual or two (i.e. Gardiner).

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"Impose their will" is massive hyperbole. They threw a few hits, intermittently throughout a 60 minute contest. 

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@Cameron19 @Shift_Disturber1@Pent_House@rustynail It's not hyperbole. We let them impose their will upon us. We could not or would not match their physical play and we do not have the strength to do so.  

This is why we struggle in our end and still generate most of our offense off rush plays. One and done's.

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@Cameron19 @Shift_Disturber1@Pent_House@rustynail  It's not about the one hit. It's about letting a guy run around and do what ever the hell he wanted out there and the lack of push back.  I'm not necessarily talking about everyone fighting but hit some guys, get in their faces. We lack that pack mentallity

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@Pent_House @rustynail@Cameron19   Just to add to that. This is where Bodie failed once again. He was the guy in that role (solo for I think the 2nd time this season) and was a no show in that department.   Mind you he isn't the only one.


Gleason stepped up out of his weight class to do something.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Shift_Disturber1 @Pent_House @rustynail @Cameron19  It's just a hit. When I played, I had a little bit of Grabovski in me, in that I actually found getting hit motivating. it riled me up. I would be more likely to score on you if you rocked me. So I don't find the fact that our players got hit all that offensive. But yes, it would have been nice to see Clarkson, Bodie, Kulemin and so forth, step up and throw some hits. 

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@Pent_House @rustynail@Cameron19  It's easy to run around when nobody challenges you or pushes back. I didn't think we had any kind of physical push back. When the Isles ramped up the physicality we couldn't do much to match it. We had to finally switch to finesse to stretch them out and keep them from being able to run us down.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Pent_House @Cameron19  I guess I just don't get all emotional about that kind of thing. Hitting is part of the game. Our players are going to get hit. None of them are so beyond the other players on the ice that we should expect them to never get hit. Crosby gets rocked regularly. That was literally the 2nd big hit Kessel has seen in 5 years, lol. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@DeclanK @Cameron19 @Komas Taberle  Yep, I know. That's why I don't find it all that worrying. The guys just thought it would be easy peasy tonight and ran into a team that was super motivated to do well without their best player. Not any kind of a measuring stick game, in my opinion. 

DeclanK
DeclanK moderator

@Cameron19 @DeclanK @Komas Taberle  

Alec had a pretty good article on the blown leads that is worth having a look over. 

Bolland does make a big difference. Watched some early season footage of him recently and he's great at pinning pucks down deep and chewing the clock. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@DeclanK @Cameron19 @Komas Taberle  Better since 2014 started. And remember, a lot of the reasons for this were to do with roster decisions and injuries. Likely not an issue with Bolland healthy, or Carlyle using Holland and 3 lines properly instead of forcing McClement into the line-up. I don't find it all that worrying, except from the perspective that Carlyle does stupid things. 

Cameron19
Cameron19

@The_Polish_Cannon @Cameron19 @Komas Taberle  I'm not saying that, man. Just saying, it is silly to look at only half the stat, or to extrapolate the nights like tonight to assume that this is the norm. It isn't. Do we cough up leads? Yea, but we also win the game. 

The_Polish_Cannon
The_Polish_Cannon

@Cameron19 @Komas Taberle  Because it's not a recipe for consistent success. The team clearly is not capable of defending a lead. Sit back and get peppered, blow the lead than rely on a skilled player to hopefully bail them out with a goal in the last few minutes. The team might as well keep applying pressure rather than go into "defensive" mode.