Primary Bozak

Primary Bozak

Saturday night in Montreal, Tyler Bozak pulled off an assist for the highlight reel just before Phil Kessel’s go-ahead 3-2 goal.

(The goal, Bob Cole’s call, and Kessel’s celebration were grade-A Leafs porn. It’s a shame there was horrible officiating the Leafs can’t protect leads, preventing this from being a game winner).

Note Bozak’s first pass into Kessel in the slot on the initial opportunity before the puck left the zone. Granted, the pass just before the goal was as lucky as it was good. There’s two Habs between him and Kessel, it actually went through Deharnais’ skates, and it’s a pass through the middle of the neutral zone that could easily lead to a  rush the other way. At the same time, his quick glance over the shoulder at Kessel, awareness of where he’s going to be and ability to put it into that area with a spinorama backhand pass was remarkable.

It marked another primary assist for Bozak, his fourth in his last three games.

Indeed, the Bozak-Kessel connection has been more than an on-ice chemistry myth and an off-ice bromance.

Before the break versus Vancouver, this was a dominant shift by Bozak full of excellent distribution, including a good pass into slot for JvR, a pass between the legs to Franson, and a ring around the boards back to Kessel.

Among forwards with a minimum of 500 minutes played at 5 on 5 this season, Tyler Bozak ranks second in primary assists per 60, behind only Gabriel Landeskog and ahead of Getzlaf, Malkin and Thornton.

Season
Bozak 1stA/60
Rank Among NHL Fwds
Kessel’s GPG
Kessel’s PPG
2011-120.5651530.451.0
2012-130.3541670.421.08
2013-141.41820.531.11

With 12 points in his last 11, 11 of which are at 5v5, he’s been a significant part of the team’s resurgence of even strength offence. 29 of his 35 points in 38 games have come at even strength.

(Note: one of Bozak’s nicest primary assists came on the PP against San Jose.  Very similar to his setup pass to Kessel against Columbus).

Rank
Player
5v5 Pts/60
5v5 TOI
1Getzlaf3.21804:22
2Neal3.04533:19
3Perry2.84866:16
4Kessel2.78991:21
5Benn2.77823:39
6Malkin2.76716:46
7Hall2.73812:10
8Bozak2.63592:28
9Okposo2.60945:54
10Landeskog2.60877:48

So, hats off to Tyler Bozak for his excellent half season of hockey. No, Bozak isn’t likely to beat Sidney Crosby in first assists per 60 over a full season, let alone for the balance of the contract. But lord knows he’s had enough vitriol directed his way to deserve the applause when applause is due. Certainly he couldn’t have a better finisher or player, period, in the league than Phil Kessel on his line at the moment, but it’s been awfully hard to make the “passenger” argument this season.

That goal versus Montreal, by the way, combined with his assist earlier in the night moved Phil Kessel into the top spot in points scoring since October, 2011.

kesselsince2011

 

 

Monday Morning Links…

Two more days until the Trade Deadline.

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852 comments
ingy56
ingy56

SportsNet tonight...Ugh.

Doit4Dougie
Doit4Dougie

Sorry I cant scroll through the comments due to being in a class. Starter for tonight?

Optimustic
Optimustic

I hear McLaren was put on waivers today, any more news?

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@ingy56 We play tonight? I thought they played Tuesday night for some reason

ProfessorRance
ProfessorRance

@Optimustic  Alot of bickering over who we are interested in Phoenix and what it would take to obtain them.

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski  We'll find out in 3-4 hours if the Leafs win or lose...what would we do without these MSM guys? 

ingy56
ingy56

@rustynail  Hey Rusty, how did our lowly Petes come into town and take a victory over the Knights? Read it was 12 years between wins in London. I guess they were due. 

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Belfour20  He's doing what the team is asking of him, which is everything. They need him to shoulder a massive portion of the shutdown minutes given the drop off on D after him while also playing top unit PP and being expected to help chip in offense at 5 on 5. He deserves more credit for that +22, not your meaningless skepticism 

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

@Belfour20  FRANSONS YOU USELESS PILE OF CRAP ........

.

  thats alright morgan...you keep your head up little guy, its alright, your trying hard..

Reversethecurse13
Reversethecurse13

@Belfour20  Three players the Leafs could target to upgrade the right side: Michalek (Phx), Hamonic (Nyi), Weaver (Fla).


All of them play top four and lots of shorthanded.

ingy56
ingy56

@Doit4Dougie @ingy56  The good with the bad...wonder how long it will take before that idiot MacLean says that any trade for Kesler "starts" with Kadri and Gardiner? 

Loric76
Loric76

@ingy56 @wiski  not have to argue with stupid people?


edit:  about the Leafs based on the shit they learnt from the MSM

Doit4Dougie
Doit4Dougie

@Belfour20 @wiski  Thats the safe call but ya never know. Its been way too long for James. he needs a start. Everygame matters so much at this point it is probably hard for randy to give him the nod due to him being so cold

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

@ingy56 @Shift_Disturber1  Oh I know. I'll be bitching the whole way through. LOL Just how I watch the game though, second by second, play by play. Then I pull it all together after it's over and decide how I felt on the game as a whole

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski @ingy56  I hear you man...going down quite low tonight then a supposed "warming" trend is moving in. Enough already. 

ingy56
ingy56

@rustynail @ingy56  Petes finally made the playoffs...yipeee, team needs an enema in the front office though...and a new arena. Hopelessly mired in the past. 

Reversethecurse13
Reversethecurse13

@Gilbey93  well we'd have 8 D presumably, and so either Rielly plays as a 7th D or sits in the pressbox with Ranger until an injury occurs

Reversethecurse13
Reversethecurse13

@Gilbey93  because we don't need an upgrade on the left side, at all. Gunnarsson plays top pair, and Gleason and Gardiner also get big minutes on the left. Rielly also shoots left, but is forced to play the right side, with Franson getting a bulk of the minutes. Franson is clearly the player whose minutes need to be reduced (at least SH, and sheltered at ES).