Game Review: Game #66, Leafs 3 at Ducks 1

Game Review: Game #66, Leafs 3 at Ducks 1

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 10: Tyler Bozak #42 and Dion Phaneuf #3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrate Bozak's first period goal against the Anaheim Ducks on March 10, 2014 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Maple Leafs rose to the level of competition with a good team effort and beat Randy Carlyle’s (Holland, Lupul and Gardiner’s as well) old team for the second time this season, handing them just their sixth regulation home loss of the season. This was an impressive win by the Buds without a bad effort on the roster to speak of. It has the potential to be a momentum-building win over one of the League’s elite teams, but the fun doesn’t stop here, with a brutally tough turnaround against a rested Sharks team tonight. If you’re the Leafs you’re hoping for two points out of a back-to-back of this difficulty, so the Leafs have put themselves into a position where any points tonight will be a bonus.

The Anaheim Ducks’ Ben Lovejoy spoke about how they fed into the Leafs‘ lethal transition and speed game by feeding them turnovers back in October, and they didn’t seem to learn from it tonight. Additionally, the neutral ice was open throughout much of the game, enabling the Leafs to gain speed and/or utilize the stretch pass to great effect, be it an aerial launch or a east-west pass across the neutral zone. Toronto seems to have Anaheim’s number for that reason. This game should infuse the Leafs with some confidence for the stretch run, provided said confidence doesn’t get completely obliterated and they put on a respectable showing in San Jose.

Three goals on their first 15 shots and a 43-save performance from Jonathan Bernier, this was the quintessential Leaf win and yet another middle finger to the regression Gods. The Leafs outshot Anaheim 11-9 in the first, took a 2-0 lead to the dressing room, and were outshot 35-12 the rest of the way. If we isolate the game and set aside our pre-existing 3rd period paranoia, it wasn’t really in doubt. A late-night game that was never at risk of putting the East Coast audience to sleep, this contest also featured three fighting majors (Clarkson x2, Gleason).

Tyler Bozak notched the Leafs’ opening goal of the game, a 4-on-3 powerplay tally and the first PP goal since the Olympic Break. Dion Phaneuf showed great patience coming down off the point, faking the shot to get the Ducks’ defender to hit the ice, and finding Bozak in front, who angled his stick expertly with a nice touch to direct the puck in far side on Andersen. Two primary assists in the past two games for Dion Phaneuf along with nine hits and ten blocked shots. I’ll wait until the Leafs score a 5 on 4 PP goal to declare the slump to be over, but this hopefully will help the team get back on track with the man advantage.

The second goal was Phil Kessel’s 34th of the season, leaving him just three shy of his career-high with 16 games to go. The explosive first three strides and mid-speed acceleration of Kessel was on full display as he jumped on a Ryan Getzlaf turnover inside the Leaf blueline, exploded through the middle of the ice and purposely bounced (not a fortunate bounce, The Phil makes his own luck) the puck off Frederik Andersen and into the net.

The Leafs made it a third in the second period when Paul Ranger followed up an expertly-timed shot block with a rush 180 feet down the ice to finish off a gimme from Kessel on a 2 on 1. Tyler Bozak notched another assist on the play with a great stretch pass to send Kessel away down the right side. Bozak had a hand in all three goals (1g, 2a).

A late goal in the 2nd period after a dominant shift by Corey Perry (he simply wasn’t leaving the ice surface without a goal on that shift; simply have to tip the hat to him) ensured the Leafs’ often-dubious third-period “shutdown” efforts would be put to the test against one of the most lethal offenses in the game. Was it all the money on the board? The Leafs kept a clean sheet in the third period as Bruce Boudreau threw Perry and Getzlaf over the boards for shift after shift to the tune of 24+ minutes of action tonight for the dominant Canadian duo. The Leafs generated about two minutes of sustained offensive zone pressure in the middle of the period; Gardiner and Franson did a good job holding the line while the second line cycled, before the top line followed with some ozone time the next shift. Besides that, though, it was mostly a determined defensive effort in a period spent in the Leaf zone.

The Leafs’ box outs and shot blocks were effective, not just in the third period; there were some meaningful blocks throughout by Paul Ranger, Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson, and one by Cody Franson on a second-period penalty kill. Ranger alone laid down three key shot blocks at vital moments, including the one leading up to his goal. Phaneuf registered eight blocked shots on the night. In the final minutes, the Leafs finished their hits and didn’t concede puck battles on the outside so much. Plus the good Bernier saves, of course.

Notes:

– It was James van Riemsdyk and Jonathan Bernier who got the Leafs on the right track in this one. Bernier needed to weather an early storm, as we might have expected, before two solo efforts from JvR woke the Leafs’ offense; one was a great hustle play to win a puck race and draw a penalty and another was the now-classic JvR outside drive around poor Ben Lovejoy, victimized by his almost-unfair package of size, strength and new-level speed. What a backcheck to stick lift Ryan Getzlaf, too.

– Clarkson had three or four of his best shifts in forever tonight, asserting himself on puck battles in the offensive zone and extending plays on the cycle. I’ll give Clarkson some credit as well for dropping them no questions ask with Bryan Allen, a much bigger combatant, after Jake Gardiner was caught with an Allen hit on his blind side. He won the fight against the 6’5 defenceman, as he did his earlier one in the game versus Lovejoy. Clarkson and Gleason should be able to provide those things for this team given they’re in-part paid for those type of intangible contributions, but Clarkson has mostly stuck to chirping throughout the season. Part of the advantage of signing Clarkson to me, I thought, was his ability to do this type of thing and help assuage Carlyle’s need to dress two-minute enforcers.

– Too many great saves to mention from Jonathan Bernier tonight. A ten-bell glove save off a one-timer in the slot in the first, great saves in tight all night long, and he was a sponge on the shots he should hold onto. 43 saves and a well-earned night off, if Carlyle goes that route.

– If you watched Paul Ranger closely, he wasn’t perfect from a defensive standpoint, but he is competing like hell, leaning his strength and size on players and winning his battles. That goes a long way with Carlyle and it earned him 16 minutes and a shift at the end of tonight’s game. He’s gained confidence with this recent stretch playing as the Leafs’ 7th D. Two goals since he’s returned to the lineup will certainly help.

– The inclusion of a 16-minute 7th D allowed Carlyle to keep Phaneuf down at 20 minutes and change, important in a back to back situation. He wasn’t really the 7th D, as the other chunk of his minutes came from Tim Gleason’s share and he was down to 11:16 on the night. Carlyle also shared the minutes among the 11 forwards enough (their lowest TOI among forwards was Bodie’s 7:15) to keep Bozak and Kessel down around 20 (JvR was at 22 on account of PK time).

– Saw Gleason had an egregious turnover into the slot and was beat wide once or twice in this game, but who doesn’t love the anger in this guy when he competes and protects the net. He’s the definition of no-nonsense. Most defencemen shove or face wash, Gleason’s got no time for that. He dropped Maroon on his hind quarters, noted the subsequent call-on, and beat him in a fight later on.

– Interestingly, the Leafs’ road PK has never plummeted to the same extent as their penalty killing at home. They’re an at-least-OK 80.5% on the road and killed 4 on 4 tonight, including two big kills in the third period. Jonathan Bernier being totally locked in is a big piece of it, but so too were some good clearances and timely shot blocks.

The Leafs are now second in the Atlantic Division, surpassing the Habs (even on games), and on pace for 97-points. Onward and upward.

Highlights

Tweet of the Game

Photo: Extraskater
Photo: Extraskater

Dashed line indicates non-even strength play.
Dashed line indicates non-even strength play.

ANAHEIM STATISTICS            
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Frederik Andersen (15-4-0)L23200.8757:44:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Bryan Allen00:0025000201
Francois Beauchemin0026:00:00-150001102
Matt Beleskey0014:40010022010
Nick Bonino0016:30010990000
Andrew Cogliano0012:00010000000
Mark Fistric0012:03010003200
Cam Fowler0029:36:00-120001201
Ryan Getzlaf0126:35:000401491000
Saku Koivu0013:10022590000
Hampus Lindholm0020:16040003110
Ben Lovejoy0016:28019003200
Patrick Maroon0113:54137012010
Kyle Palmieri0012:32020001000
Corey Perry1024:21:00-180000103
Rickard Rakell0010:26-110350000
Teemu Selanne0014:11-120130000
Jakob Silfverberg0015:49020004000
Daniel Winnik009:43-120000112
TORONTO STATISTICS
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Jonathan Bernier (25-16-7)W44430.97760:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Troy Bodie007:18000001000
Tyler Bozak1220:3022014160121
David Clarkson009:170012004000
Cody Franson0017:44020002101
Jake Gardiner0017:38020000100
Tim Gleason0011:16009000110
Carl Gunnarsson0023:56010002510
Peter Holland0011:08010540000
Nazem Kadri0014:15-102831000
Phil Kessel1220:54160000101
Nikolai Kulemin0018:03000002101
Joffrey Lupul0016:28-110001102
Jay McClement0013:200001090110
Dion Phaneuf0120:03002006801
Paul Ranger1016:05130004310
Mason Raymond0015:55020000002
Morgan Rielly0013:51120002000
James van Riemsdyk0122:19210100021
Review overview
Offence - 90 %
Defence - 85 %
Goaltending - 95 %
Special Teams - 95 %
Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
428 comments
ingy56
ingy56

Sad end to the missing junior player.

Bruffins
Bruffins

Leafs win 2-1, Reimer stands on his head, goals from JVR and Clarkson


shots: 65 to 17 for San Jose haha

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

Looks like Mike Brown may slot in for Torres tonight

Bruffins
Bruffins

"there's a legitimate chance San Jose could set a league record for shots in a game here unless they run away with the score early" - San Jose site

ShiFty_D
ShiFty_D

I think SJ is a harder test than the Ducks. Looking forward to the game tonight.

Optimustic
Optimustic

The Sharks may have Antti Niemi in net, but we have #81 the Anti-Antti Niemi.  Go Phil, Go Leafs.

Jay31
Jay31

Rooting for a Leafs win tonight + DET/CBJ finishing in regulation

ingy56
ingy56

Reimier playing tonight?

GreekGod
GreekGod

Any word as to when we can expect bolland back?

Jordan29
Jordan29

Bozak is one of my favourite players. I was super hard on him as a fan until last year when I think he really started to break out and play in every situation well. I think its safe to say it would have been a total disaster to listen to the fans who wanted him to walk this summer 

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Bruffins  

Guess SJ forgot how the Leafs took it to them last game and the only reason they won was because the refs helped them out... Hope the Leafs smash them

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Greg Fenton  

Where do the habs rate?

Why would they rate higher than us, yet the Marlies are beaten them by almost 20 points in the AHL and our Junior Dman ( Finn)  and Junior forward ( Brown) are much higher scorers than they have.

That is why I never believe any publication that puts the Habs ahead of the Leafs.

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Greg Fenton   re Tyler Biggs, I ve like him aor along time already ,got anything new Mr Fenton hmmm ?

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Greg Fenton   re  Frederik Gauthier (61st overall) - He isn't going to be a big scorer but he'll help us win hockey games. 

Knew that 

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@DeclanK But will they allow for cleavage  ???? ,on big busty bingo babes , wait never mind

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Ze_theLeafsFan  

I heard one of the blondes fell at centre ice a couple of times during the game last week.

I guess she will be a put on a checking line form now on.

GiuseppeM
GiuseppeM

@Ze_theLeafsFan  Considering the young age of the site admins here, could this qualify as not proper content and be taken down?


ConnorCrisp
ConnorCrisp

He was really missed for game 7. That's when my opinion on him started to grow

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Loric76 @Optimustic   Holy shitty bang bang ,well done sir ,!,! ,! re  The Phil - Shark Repellant.  Now with 100% more goals., I dont only like this ,I Love it and if I was a female Id be wet lol

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@GiuseppeM @Ze_theLeafsFan Considering the young age of the site admins here, could this qualify as not proper content >>> Uhh no f in way this is a mature mans site imho ,ladies be those youngins  best editor ,I loves kids but have sworn to protect them ,now how about some more yoga pants ? 

Savo43
Savo43

@ConnorCrisp  He had a wicked game 6. That shorthanded goal was sick, loved his composure there. That word i think is what makes him such a capable first liner...composure. 

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Belfour20 @GreekGod @Bruffins @CanuckUKinToronto  

basically when you look at the Leafs' corsi and those stats you would guess they weren't a playoff team. The advanced stat community's opinion is that the Leafs get outshot too much to be successful and have an unsustainably high shooting percentage.


I dont agree but that is what their stats say

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Belfour20 @CanuckUKinToronto @Bruffins  

It's not about the shot remark... but the fact that their arrogance leads them to believe that they're either going to dominate this game ie setting shot record or scoring so many goals on us that they'll be forced to take it easy. Regardless, I want shark meat for dinner. Go Leafs Go!