Game Review: Game #69, Capitals 4 vs. Leafs 2

Game Review: Game #69, Capitals 4 vs. Leafs 2

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The Maple Leafs took a couple of big wins out of Anaheim and Los Angeles, only to come out flat as a bottle of Coke left out in the sun for a week against a far more beatable opponent in Washington.

Early start time? Sickness coursing through the locker room? All the recent travel? Who knows, but the Leafs have had too many full periods like this throughout the season with the only simple explanation being they’re a skating team that gets into big trouble if their legs aren’t there. Three goals against in the first 9 minutes and a 14-2 shot deficit through 20 minutes is an extremely difficult start to overcome.

The Leafs also took three penalties in the first period, and ran their usual set up to try to isolate Alex Ovechkin and remove him from the equation. The tradeoff is that it creates a 4 on 3 situation on the other side of the ice. Twice the Leafs were outnumbered down low and Phaneuf and Gleason couldn’t take the pass away to the man in front; both times the other D (Franson on the first, Ranger on the 2nd) had stepped up to apply pressure on the puck off the half wall.

Perhaps the bigger issue on both occasions was the ease with which the Capitals were allowed to set themselves up in the first place. Passively allow the 2nd-best powerplay in the League to get themselves set and they’re going to make you pay more often than not. Alex Ovechkin was content to play decoy and let the rest of the PP unit slice the Leafs apart.

The call leading up to the Caps’ third goal was a total mystery, as the ref seemed to invent a slash by Phaneuf out of thin air and send him to the box for it. Joel Ward scored his second of the game on the ensuing powerplay.

A late goal by Troy Bodie off a chip shot over the shoulder of Jaroslav Halak gave the Leafs a fighting chance going into the 2nd. They responded with one of their best periods of the season in terms of shots (20-6 in favour of the Leafs; they took 16 of the first 17 shots of the period).

The Leafs got their fair share of powerplay opportunities as well, with three consecutive in the second period. They generated a good amount of pressure, but the Capitals did a good job of blocking shots at timely moments and the Leafs didn’t generate enough in the way of point shots with a presence in front.

Dion Phaneuf put the Leafs within one after showing good patience on the blueline and tossing one on net. It either was a wounded duck change-up or it hit Nazem Kadri in the pants and the scorekeepers didn’t take notice; either way, the Leafs’ offense from their defence continues to be a positive of late, with Phaneuf individually collecting five points in his last five and seven points in his last 9.

Credit to Phaneuf big time for gutting this one out despite being less than 100% (goal and an assist from #3). Cody Franson led the defence core with 22 minutes while Carlyle tried to limit Phaneuf’s minutes, which is not something we’ll want to see going forward (Franson did not have a game worth framing).

David Clarkson hit a crossbar late in the second on what would’ve been the tying goal. He had a couple of really poor shifts, but if that goes in it changes the perception. He’s neither playing well nor getting the breaks.

Reimer was a part of the first period woes, no doubt. He wasn’t absorbing pucks and killing plays when the team needed a whistle (sometimes simply not catching pucks), and it caused issues in and around a couple of the goals and contributed to the 2nd one directly. But he took the much quieter 2nd period to settle into the game and came up big in the third time and again, giving this team a chance to even the score in the final 20. Reimer didn’t have a chance on goals 1 or 3 and played well enough to give the team a chance overall.

The team in front of Reimer, though, didn’t generate any serious chances in the third, with Randy Carlyle turning on the line blender (Lupul, Kadri and Kessel skated a few shifts together). There were some putrid attempts at breakouts with long stretch passes sent hopelessly into the neutral zone. The Leafs had to kill a penalty for two of the final three minutes, but did manage to apply some late pressure only for Joffrey Lupul to send an overly hopeful pass (looking for a bounce or a no-look connection) all the way down the ice.

This was a painful game to watch for the most part, one the Leafs will need to put behind them before getting ready for another big game against a fringe playoff team in the East, Detroit, on Tuesday. James Reimer is expected to remain in goal.

EV fenwick chart for 2014-03-16 Maple Leafs 2 at Capitals 4
Fenwick chart for 2014-03-16 Maple Leafs 2 at Capitals 4

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals

WASHINGTON STATISTICS

GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Jaroslav Halak (27-11-4)W29270.93160:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Karl Alzner0220:14220001310
Nicklas Backstrom0120:32-1201181100
Jay Beagle0012:430121061010
Troy Brouwer2019:27150214113
John Carlson0022:39210000501
Connor Carrick0011:50-200000111
Jason Chimera1012:41140021000
Eric Fehr00:0002381011
Mike Green0025:31:00050002000
Jack Hillen0022:00002001100
Marcus Johansson0119:25-120001010
Evgeny Kuznetsov0115:48020010000
Dmitry Orlov0013:30-200000210
Alex Ovechkin0019:02-210002001
Dustin Penner0110:56000001100
Joel Ward1115:48140134000
Casey Wellman009:42010660000
Tom Wilson007:55030002010

TORONTO STATISTICS

GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
James Reimer (11-9-1)L32290.90659:34:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Carter Ashton002:29000000000
Troy Bodie1010:19110110200
Tyler Bozak0021:12-21011100031
David Clarkson0018:12110002010
Cody Franson0022:29032003300
Jake Gardiner0018:47032000300
Tim Gleason0011:00100003000
Carl Gunnarsson0116:09110000102
Nazem Kadri0020:02120882000
Phil Kessel0022:02-240001000
Nikolai Kulemin0014:41120491210
Joffrey Lupul0121:16030000010
Jay McClement008:440021151000
Dion Phaneuf1120:01-132002000
Paul Ranger0016:21030000120
Mason Raymond0113:54110001000
Morgan Rielly0015:42-100000201
James van Riemsdyk0021:38-210000010
Review overview
Offence - 55 %
Defence - 50 %
Goaltending - 75 %
Special Teams - 10 %
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]

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674 comments
traNsplantEdneWfie
traNsplantEdneWfie

Back from the Caribbean.  Thank god all is well in Leafs land!  Can't wait to watch some hockey instead of sitting on the deck of a cruise ship, drinking beer and watching the MILF's go by.  Wait! What?!?

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

BBirde:  Did you find that article you were searching for?

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

2014...first line is assumed (jvR-Bo-ssel)

i like the top three rows, and have an idea who i'd inject from the bottom 3 rows.  but we need to be better.  tougher without giving away any skill.  who wants to play Nonis?

slow day.

RandomScrub
RandomScrub

Playing well and only getting better. But has peaked and won't get better. FentonLogic.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

at BingoDabber

Komarov...

when that was suggested a month ago someone answered a definitive no.

that's the best i can tell you, sorry.

BingoDabber
BingoDabber

Would Komarov be able to join us like tomorrow if he wanted? And we came to terms?

Yan28
Yan28

Empty netter seals the deal. 1st seed Dynamo Moscow eliminated by 8th seed Lokomotiv. Komarov with a goal but also giveaways and a penalty with 5 min left, down 3-1. Leo now has a lot of time to talk about his contract with the Leafs.

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

Anybody got any info on a low grade groin strain?

Yan28
Yan28

Komarov takes a penalty with 5 min remaining in the 3rd, Dynamo Moscow down 3-1 in game 7 of the 1st round in the KHL play-offs.

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Belfour20 Mansion secrets holy fuc those r ...... but I didnt look :) innocent again

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Belfour20 I will not look ,nope ,Hit up the gym ? Cant ,no Gym attire ,wait..... She might fall but I will not look lol

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@traNsplantEdneWfie drinking beer and watching the MILF's go by.  ,Lmao that sounds rough ,mutiny next time  ,Dear captain I want off ,I cant take it anymore LMaoooooooooo

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Need to be consistent. Need players that are ready to play 60 minutes from the get-go, something this squad lacks. May need some new blood or a new Coach to get the (sorry to say) Bruins tenacity and consistency (yes they have some drop off performances too)

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

if we don't re-sign Bolland i could fathom a trade with VAN: Holland and Gardiner for Edler/Bieska/Hamhuis and Kessler

not saying i'd do it.  just sayin'

Reimer out, Joey Mac in as well.

no one want to speak Nonis?  i don't really wanna either.  sigh.

vinoa
vinoa

@BBirde  Even the whole "upward mobility" concept is a bit flawed. A few of our players are already at their prime level with the Leafs (Kessel, Ph9) but that doesn't mean that as the young guns get more experienced that they can't challenge for some of the minutes.

Bobsyouruncle
Bobsyouruncle

@dlb eh    

@BingoDabber    

Probably not.  

Rules of 2005 CBA:  

    "Restricted free agents must sign NHL contracts by December 1, or they are not eligible to play in the NHL for the rest of the season."'  

    Rule for 2012/13, 48 game season:  

    "The NHL will not have a deadline for restricted-free agents to sign this season, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the New York Post on Friday."

    "Daly explained that the removal of the deadline is due to the condensed 48-game schedule the league will be operating under this season. In previous years, restricted-free agents were required to sign a new deal prior to Dec. 1 or they would be ruled ineligible for the entirety of the season."

    "Now that the rule is no longer in place (for this season only), it means extended holdouts could potentially occur."

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@dlb eh  That's what I thought, too.. But if they qualified him as an RFA and put him on their reserve list, RFAs are exempt from the waiver rule.

He wouldn't be an UFA until July 1, right?

Could be wrong

4evrblue
4evrblue

@dlb eh It is a no. He'd have to pass through waivers and he wouldn't make it through. We will have to wait until the off season

mcloki
mcloki

@Alec Brownscombe  Rest Bernier up. It seems pretty obvious that Bernier will be a big part of any Leafs success in the post season. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Yan28

he won't be able to show his face around there.  come home, Leo.  Leo, come home.

Yan28
Yan28

4-1 Dynamo looks done.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@CanuckUKinToronto @Burtonboy  He's certainly not slow . I would categorize Bolland as a good skater before the injury and if the brass are to be believed there is no reason he can't return to being the player he was before . 

RandomScrub
RandomScrub

@Murph2417 @dlb eh  Put D'Amigo above Ashton solely since D'Amigo can kill penalties pretty well at the NHL level as well which lessens the load on JVR.

RandomScrub
RandomScrub

@vinoa @BBirde  Well he says that Phaneuf is at his age peak and won't have any "upward mobility" but Lupul who is older than Phanuef still has "upward mobility"? FentonLogic.

CanuckUKinToronto
CanuckUKinToronto

@4evrblue @dlb eh not sure if he wouldnt make it through waivers. Depends on the contract.  If he signs one year - just this year.. why would a crappy team pick him up?  So limited and they will want their own call ups..

Komas Taberle
Komas Taberle

@Murph2417 @BBirde @dlb eh  

Sorry Murph I disagree, Ashton has no offence, he can't score at NHL level, fills the net against the bums in the AHL but does nothing in the NHL, he played like shit again last game, that is why Carlyle will only play him 3 minutes, he looks lost.

He can skate but he does not know what to do with the puck or how to get it.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@BBirde

slow down fellas, i'm struggling to keep up

busy re-arranging deck chairs