Game Review: Game #62, Canadiens 4 vs. Leafs 3 (OT)

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Photo: NHLI via Getty Images

Jonathan Bernier took a costly penalty in the overtime frame, and Max Pacioretty scored his second of the game to give the Montreal Canadiens a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The Leafs both battled back from a two-goal deficit and coughed up a late lead to lose their second consecutive game in OT since coming back from the Olympic break.  James van Riemsdyk scored two, and Kessel had a goal and an assist while Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves.  Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, PK Subban scored in regulation for the Canadiens, while Peter Budaj made 22 saves.

First Period:

The Leafs began the game line-matching against the Canadiens.  After the top line played a mere two seconds, the Leafs second line took to the ice keeping in line.  David Clarkson chipped the puck into the corner and laid a terrific hit on Habs’ defender PK Subban.  Fans expecting a chippy game between the two rivals would be unpleasantly surprised, as calmer heads prevailed throughout tonight’s tilt.

Dion Phaneuf took a marginal tripping call 2:39 into the game, getting his stick caught in between David Desharnais’ leg deep in the Leafs zone.  Two offsides and a high-stick by the Canadiens helped kill time, and the Leafs successfully cleared the zone three times to keep the score knotted 0-0.

The Leafs didn’t record a shot on net in the first 14 minutes of play, which has probably been written in too many game recaps this season.  Making matters worse, the Leafs failed to record a shot during a power play near the midway mark of the frame.  Fancy, stretch and cross-ice passes proved fruitless against the Habs’ PKers, who intercepted them with aplomb.  The best (only) chance was a shorthanded one for Tomas Plekanec.

After the Leafs won a faceoff and didn’t clear the D zone, Alex Galchenyuk corralled the puck in, took an easy wrister on net that eluded Bernier.  It appeared that Bernier was screened by Plekanec, to give Montreal a 1 – 0 lead.  This was on the heels of the Habs controlling the O zone for about a minute on the prior shift.  The ice looked tilted.

About a minute after that, the Leafs were again hemmed in their zone and Max Pacioretty spun away from his cover and lofted a backhander past Bernier’s glove to make it 2 – 0 for Montreal.

The Leafs managed its first shot of the period with 5:29 remaining in the first, and had two chances (one from Kessel, one from Lupul) that looked dangerous thereafter.

After Kessel found van Riemsdyk with a stretch pass to enter the Montreal zone, the puck came back to Phil at the left wing side boards.  Kessel fired a low shot that van Riemsdyk tipped in tight that trickled between Peter Budaj’s legs to bring the score to 2 – 1.  Dion Phaneuf got the other assist on the goal.

Despite the JvR tally, it was all Montreal through the first 20. The Leafs looked lucky to be down only a goal, being outshot 14-6.

Second Period:

The Leafs played the first five minutes of the second a lot better than the first 20 minutes.  Part of that was lineup selections.  Though it started after the second Canadiens goal, the second period saw Kulemin and Clarkson switch lines.  Both Kadri and Lupul seem to be more effective with the Russian winger.

In general, the Leafs were better able to control the puck and keep the puck on the Canadiens side of centre ice.  The Leafs narrowed the shot deficit and seemed to set the pace of play.

David Desharnais took a marginal tripping penalty on Dion Phaneuf, and the league’s third best got its second chance on the power play.  Unlike the first attempt, this power play was a shooting gallery, with both the first and second units getting chances.  Like the first attempt, the Leafs didn’t score.  Phil Kessel had a puck roll on him that would have tied the game.

Doug Murray wired a shot that glanced off the crossbar and out of play near the halfway mark of the frame, and for about 4 minutes, neither team got a shot.  He really is an offensive blackhole.

The best sustained chances came from the reunited Lupul-Kadri-Kulemin line with about two minutes remaining in the second.  The speed and awareness of all three (and Carl Gunnarsson as a rover) confounded a tired Habs line.  The trio appeared particularly effective along the goal line, tiring defenders down low.

On the other side, I’m not 100% on Raymond and Clarkson playing together.  Both seem to hold onto the puck for a moment too long, which also seems to neutralize Peter Holland’s value as a distributor.

Danny Briere took a very foolish interference call with 18 seconds remaining in the second, which led to a glorious missed chance by Morgan Rielly.  Kadri saw the first year defender sneak down to the top of the left wing circle, but his pass was deflected by a Canadiens defender and skipped just past Rielly.  Rielly looked dangerous with the puck on all three Leaf power plays through 40, but the score remained 2 – 1 in favour of the Canadiens.

Dion Phaneuf led all skaters with 19:59 of ice time through two periods.  The Leafs outshot the Habs 7 – 5, but trailed 19 – 13 at the end of the second period.

Third Period:

The Leafs started the third down a goal and with a 1:43 of power play time on fresh ice.  James van Riemsdyk was again in Peter Budaj’s kitchen.  Van Riemsdyk had an amazing backhand between the legs pass through the crease to Kessel sneaking in from the left wing, but Budaj leapt across the net to stone the American sniper.  Such a beautiful play, it deserved a better result.

Moments later, Budaj would stand on his again, foiling Kulemin and Gleason before covering up the puck and stopping Clarkson from potting a rebound.  Deserve’s got nothing to do with it, that was some stellar netminding.

The pace of play picked up, and so too did the physicality.  Nazem Kadri eventually tripped up Dale Weise in a scary looking footrace.  Kadri’s skate clipped Weise in the face as both players crashed into the end boards.  Weise left for repairs and Kadri to the sin bin four and half minutes into the third.

On the ensuing Habs power play, Andrei Markov sent an errant pass to the right wing boards that banked out of the zone  van Riemsdyk  intercepted.  The Flying Dutchman outskated PK Subban, went to his backhand and tucked the puck through Budaj’s wickets to the bring the game even at 2s.  The goal was unassisted and van Riemsdyk’s second goal of the game and second shorthanded goal of the season.  This guy is amazing and now has 26 goals on the year.  The Leafs also killed the penalty.

1:15 later, Kessel took a pass from Bozak just outside the Canadiens blueline on a seemingly broken play.  Kessel turned on the jets, catching the Habs defenders flat footed, got behind them, and wristed a beautiful shot up over Budaj’s blocker to give the Leafs a 3 – 2 lead.  The goal was Kessel’s 33rd of the year.  Bozak picked up the lone assist on the play, a gorgeous and lucky no-look backhand pass to Kessel right on the tape for his third primary assist in the past two games.

Tim Gleason squeezed Brian Gionta too tightly, apparently, along the boards with 9:24 remaining in the third.  Markov set PK Subban up for the one-timer, and the Olympic Gold Medalist made no mistake, firing a bullet that slipped just under Jonathan Bernier’s blocker, bringing the game even at 3-3.  Thereafter, the Habs seemed reenergized for the final half of the frame.

Markov tripped up a streaking van Riemsdyk, who tried to sell the call too earnestly.  Perhaps foreshadowing the OT period, a fast-paced but indecisive 4-on-4 followed.

As the period wore on, you got the sense that both coaches were more than willing to let an odd-man rush decide this game.  The final five minutes of play saw both teams trade chances up and down in the fastest sequence of the entire game.

With 30 seconds left in the third, a pressured Kessel flipped the puck over the glass taking a delay of game penalty.  Uh oh…

OT:

…With a minute and a half of power play time in OT, the Habs set up a shooting gallery in the Leafs zone with Subban as the trigger man.  Jay McClement blocked a shot and sent the puck down the sheet twice to keep the Leafs alive.

Kessel and Kulemin combined for a chance, and Lupul missed the net on a 2-on-1 with Kadri.  Danny Briere outskated and then outmuscled Dion Phaneuf (actually), but was denied by a quick left leg by Bernier.

Bernier then slid out to challenge an open puck against Briere and took a rare goalie delay of game penalty.  Max Pacioretty got a terrific feed from Markov on the power play and roofed it passed a sprawling Bernier.  Game over.  Rough ending to an exciting game.

The rule:

Closing thoughts:

The stakes for the game were simple: the Leafs had a chance to tie the Canadiens with 73 points through 62 games played.  Instead, they fall to three points back of the Habs, while five teams just behind the Leafs in the standings collected points.  It was also disconcerting that Bernier had another shaky night in net, and had a boneheaded play cost the Leafs a goal.  Equally distressing is the fact that the Leafs coughed up a 19th third period lead this season and surrendered two power play goals in the final 12 minutes of play.  While the top line has been contributing, it was also worrisome to see the Leafs scoring depth not show up in a key situation.

The Maple Leafs will return home to play a key matchup against one of the many dogs at its heels, the Columbus Blue Jackets.  It’ll be the final matchup for the Leafs prior to the trade deadline.

Photo credit: Extraskater.com
Photo credit: Extraskater.com

 

 

leafshabsshotchart

 

NO.PLAYERPOSGAPTS+/-PIMSHITSBSGVATVAFO%PP TOISH TOITOI
3D. PhaneufD0111214200-4:41:002:42:0030:41:00
4C. FransonD0001001100-4:00:002:51:0019:36:00
8T. GleasonD0000222100-0:00:002:49:0019:34:00
11J. McClementC000001230056%0:00:004:44:0011:01:00
12M. RaymondL0000020001-2:09:001:41:0015:46:00
19J. LupulL0001011000-2:03:000:00:0019:15:00
21J. van RiemsdykL202123002050%3:51:001:20:0021:14:00
24P. HollandC000-102000038%0:00:000:00:0011:47:00
36C. GunnarssonD0000001510-0:00:004:14:0024:20:00
38F. McLarenL0000002000-0:00:000:00:003:27:00
40T. BodieR00000000000%0:00:000:00:003:31:00
41N. KuleminL000-1020000-0:00:003:32:0016:57:00
42T. BozakC011102000163%3:11:000:00:0021:00:00
43N. KadriC000020101015%2:49:000:00:0018:26:00
44M. RiellyD000-1011010-1:38:000:00:0017:00:00
51J. GardinerD0001010000-1:41:000:24:0015:56:00
71D. ClarksonR0000012100-0:00:000:00:0012:59:00
81P. KesselR1121260100-3:57:000:00:0022:52:00
GOALTENDER
NO.PLAYERSAVES - SHOTSSV%PIMTOI
45J. Bernier (L)26 - 300.867263:28:00
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Forwards
65 %
Defense
60 %
Goaltending
55 %
Special Teams
25 %
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Michael Stephens has been writing for Maple Leafs Hotstove since 2010, and has featured in the 2010 and 2012 Maple Leaf Annuals. Former Editiorial Intern at The Hockey News. Undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor. Chat me up about all things hockey on twitter @MLHS_Mike
  • MLHS_Luke

    That was brutal.

  • Zep2

    I loved FRiedmans comments on Rielly. I

  • RickC1983

    Imagine where this team would be with decent coaching and defense. How good could this team could be with a coach that has a effective system in our own end and 1 or 2 d men who can be solid. 185 goals for the Leafs have. I think good for 5th in the league. Imagine if they didn’t have 191 against which is 5th worst in the league. shed 30-40 of those and your up there with the Pens,Sharks,Ducks and Hawks.

  • RickC1983

    Also,  Is it just me or has McClement been pretty ineffective this season?

  • wiski

    Delay of game are you fucking kidding me first time I’ve seen that one called with someone standing beside you.

  • Wilbur

    RickC1983  I just posted this in the previous thread…

    I’m going to piggy back on what Alec mentioned a little while ago. This should be Jay McClement’s last year with the Leafs. Too slow, too small, just doesn’t bring enough. When we had lesser type players and prior to some of our players developing (i.e. Kessel is now elite, JVR is now an all-star) McClement looked better but now you see him for what he is. Not picking on him but he shouldn’t be taking up a roster spot and cap space going forward.

  • wiski

    MLHS_Luke  You can’t give up 2 goals and expect to win they were MIA in the first

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    RickC1983  Imagine if they had the puck more and played in the other teams end more. Goals for go up even further.

  • PEIleafnation

    Zep2 what he say

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    https://twitter.com/BradThePigMan https://twitter.com/BradThePigMan/status/439971583067574273
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%23montreal&src=hash canadiens MVPs for tonight! https://twitter.com/search?q=%23habs&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23GoLeafsGo&src=hash https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Leafs&src=hashhttp://t.co/5o05cm5taq

  • BingoDabber

    Thanks for the ‘cap Michael.
    Cannot be this poor protecting leads and defending in general on the stretch drive.
    Predicting the Leafs are the ones to fall out over the final 20 games. If they do make, it will be a swift exit.
    Nonis should do what he can to add a top 4 D before the season is lost with no tangible improvement over the last.

  • peterbleafs

    ingy56 RickC1983 We need a cycle game in order to fix that and we do not have that really.  I am all for some roster tidying.

  • wiski

    and the cbc fucks saying that was the right call, Fack

  • Belfour20

    Man, Bernier is getting ripped on twitter for that…I honestly hope we play Reimer next game. Leafs nation is split on the two goalies for sure.

  • Shift_Disturber1

    Fucking Habs. That is all

  • Shift_Disturber1

    wiski   somebody said that he was only about a foot outside the crease as well? I didn’t see the game so I don’t know

  • sniperstar

    Belfour20  With the way Bernier has been in the last two games I’d definitely go to Reimer. Time to see if that boy can take the reins from Bernier.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Nice recap Michael. I don’t agree with “who tried to sell the call too earnestly.” Not sure he could do much else, Markov was holding his stick and had his around JVR. NOt sure he would dive on a good chance and a chance at a hatty. AND the refs can’t call that a dive and miss three.

  • peterbleafs

    ingy56 RickC1983That Boyle guy would be useful to create a really effecting  cycling line.  But those sorts of deals are not that likely at this time.  I really like Percy and Finn coming up the pipe, they will be exactly what we need to go with Rielly and Phaneuf and now Gleason, Id like him to stay awhile.  

    Our real problem is we do not play a 60 minute game, that is not the Leafs character. The team gets on a speed roll and thats when they bag goals.  But when speed is not available, or effort is down 5% we get shot overload.

  • wiski

    Belfour20  I don’t really see a big difference we shoulda kept scrivy.

  • Belfour20

    Those were some brutal calls going against the leafs tonight, I cant believe this shit still. But I guess I should of seen it coming when Dion got that weak call in the first to start the game.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Shift_Disturber1 There’s an easy “like”

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    peterbleafs ingy56 RickC1983  Leo was a good forechecker that could cycle too.

  • DJBrianBurke

    wiski You listen to the CBC HNIC’s experts?

  • wiski

    Shift_Disturber1 wiski  He was on the dot of the face off circle but it was a race to the puck?

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Shift_Disturber1 wiski  That’s where he started but slid to the faceoff circle.

  • Alec Brownscombe

    DJBrianBurke  I actually thought JvR embellished it. At least it only resulted in 4 on 4.
    What pissed me off most was a blatant game management call on Gleason. That stuff kills me.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Shift_Disturber1 wiskiAfter he stopped sliding he was inside the circle.

  • wiski

    DJBrianBurke wiski  No I want to choke them

  • http://i.imgur.com/MyKj5C3.gif ingy56

    Alec Brownscombe DJBrianBurke  Completely changed the momentum of the game.

  • Jon5200

    Just got home from watching the game at a friends here in the north….my 2 cents……the bernier and kessel penalties were must calls by the ref……the calls i was really upset with were the gleason/jvr calls….take those calls away and the leafs win this in regulation imho…….moreal could NOT beat us 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 for that matter(when kessel’s penalty was over in OT, the leafs took over!)….so the refs helped them along……positives for me was kessel/jvr having CAREER years….we got a point and 2pts out of a possible 4…..look toward columbus monday and make it 4pts out of a possible 6 !!!! GO LEAFS GO !!!

  • Wilbur

    Bernier had an off-night vs NYI but then again just about 70% of the goalies have been like that since the return from the Olympics. I thought he was fine tonight. Not sure what he was supposed to do differently and I don’t think Reimer would have mattered tonight. I like both goalies and don’t care who plays as long as we are winning.

  • DJBrianBurke

    Alec Brownscombe DJBrianBurke Agree to disagree.
    Gleason’s was bad along with the missed dives. Refs can’t call one after they let them go all game.

  • Tim Horton

    Jon5200  Even Kessels hit off the top of the glass. I’m not too mad about because I doubt the refs could see that in real time and I am not sure of the rule on that one.

  • Belfour20

    This guy has carried the team since December, and now people are ripping him for that ridiculous play…I hope Reimer plays the next few games and reminds us why we got Bernier….Reims hasnt played well since lord knows when but the people think he’s our savior, alright lets play the Savior then.

  • djamon

    Tim Horton Someone told me it hit the netting first. Did you see that too?

  • DJBrianBurke

    wiski DJBrianBurkeAt least there was no Hughson. I’ll take Hab loving Cole over him everyday of the week. I want Bowen to do all the games though.

  • wiski

    Jon5200  the bernier on the dot call with someone coming down on him was a good call?

  • Cameron19

    Belfour20  I know when it was….It was the last time he was the starter and the organization didn’t bury him.

  • PEIleafnation

    Belfour20 it was on then for sure

  • Jon5200

    djamon Tim Horton i actually think it would have stayed in had markov not banged the glass….it wobbled and the puck BARELY went over………..

  • Jon5200

    djamon Tim Horton i actually think it would have stayed in had markov not banged the glass….it wobbled and the puck BARELY went over………..

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Wilbur  I guess I’m alone in thinking he should’ve had the Subban pointshot, squeaked thru him. Otherwise didn’t have a problem with him.
    Really concerned about how little improvement there is in our goals against. That’s huge trouble when things tighten up down the stretch here. I’d be aggressive about adding a significant piece if I were Nonis. Statsny and Edler both interesting and both help.
    That’s probably wishful thinking, though. He’ll stay patient

  • DJBrianBurke

    Belfour20 Throw in a shorty and you got yourself a bad call stew going.

  • Wilbur

    Cameron19 Belfour20  Mental toughness issues 😉

  • Jon5200

    wiski Jon5200 not saying it was a good call but its in the rule book…..way outside the blue paint……

  • Belfour20

    Wilbur Cameron19 Belfour20  You think he has mental toughness issues? I wonder what the guy on the bench has.

  • Wilbur

    Belfour20 Wilbur Cameron19  i’m talking about the guy on the bench…

  • peterbleafs

    ingy56 peterbleafsRickC1983Yes he would be good pickup for the 4thline.  You know a line of D’Amigo, Komarov and a center like Peter Holland would be a kick ass 4th line.

  • wiski

    Jon5200 wiski  I have never seen that called In my lifetime 52 and counting