Game Review: Game #71, Lightning 5 vs. Leafs 3

Game Review: Game #71, Lightning 5 vs. Leafs 3

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First off, more important than the outcome of the game, the good news is that Paul Ranger is expected to check out of the hospital tonight after receiving a vicious hit from behind at the end of the first period. We’ll await word on the nature on the injury and hope for the best in the meantime.

As for the game, it was a maddeningly frustrating 60-minutes of hockey. There was the constant sense of fear and dread whenever the puck entered the Leaf end of the rink, beginning with a bad goal on Reimer 59 seconds into the game. There was some disturbingly poor defensive play from the Leafs (although Tampa’s wasn’t much better at points). There was some good mixed in, especially from the Leafs defence in the offensive context, but there was the sense that no amount of goals would be enough to surmount the Leafs’ defensive issues on this night, and Reimer looked far from up to making a collection of big saves.

The refs blew a call late in the game that changed the direction, to boot. The Leafs dominated the first half of the third period, had drawn within one with 11 minutes to go, and Jay McClement took a high sticking penalty. On the ensuing PK, Gleason was knocked over at the blueline and the Lightning scored on a cross crease shortly thereafter. That should be a short 4 on 4 followed by a powerplay to the Leafs, which, given their dominance of the 3rd to that point, may well have meant at least one salvaged point. (As Gus points out, Raymond could’ve done a better job reacting to that situation, but there’s no denying what was the main cause behind this goal).

James Reimer could not have fashioned a worse start after the controversy surrounding him and Carlyle coming off the last game. The 1-0 goal was a total stinker. Reimer had some traffic to contend with, but he was simply way too deep in his net.

It’s difficult to stick him alone with any of the other four. JvR didn’t take the lane away on the opening PK goal against (hopped over his stick), but how does Steven Stamkos get left wide open in front of the net two times more? It’s one thing to get beat by one of the purest snipers in the game, it’s another to hand him a couple of chances on the doorstep for easy conversions.

At a time when the Leafs should be tightening up their game down the stretch, they’ve never looked worse defensively. Tonight’s game was riddled with ‘puck-focused’ scrambling. The inference by Martin Biron on one of the intermission panels was that it’s a product of a lack of trust in Reimer. It’s a theory, although one that’s certainly tough to prove. It’s hard to imagine the opening goal did much for the psyche. At the same time, it’s just a case of basic execution when Phaneuf fails to pick up arguably the most dangerous goal scorer in the League in front of his net.

What Remier hasn’t been bringing that Bernier has most nights is that calming influence amid an often chaotic Leafs defensive zone structure. Bernier’s ability to kill a play after the team starts scrambling and the ability for his defenders to predict where he’s directing pucks are things that help out a defence group that is often easily strewn out. The Leafs need great goaltending, and Bernier’s been great. Reimer hasn’t been at fault, but there’s a big difference between the two. The Leafs’ margin for error in net given their defensive play is very thin, and losing Bernier is right up there with Kessel in terms of importance to this team

The bright spot was four more points from the defence as the the blueliners drove the offensive production tonight. Gunnarsson made a nice play to join the rush and find Kessel in front for the 1-1 tally. Gleason’s slap pass onto Kulemin’s stick was a smart little play for the Leafs 2-1 goal, and Gardiner’s 4-3 goal was an awesome individual effort. Witnessing Rielly and Gardiner’s ability to take over a game and apply relentless pressure when pressing late in the game has been one upside to the recent losing.

It has more or less gone from “thinking about home ice/second in the Division” to “hoping not to relinquish a wildcard spot” in three games. The next biggest game of the season comes this Saturday against Montreal. The heat is on and the Leafs are starting to wilt.

Quick Hits:

- Joffrey Lupul’s play alone could’ve been the source of a stomach ulcer for any fan watching him closely. The blown one-arm clearance on Stamkos’ third goal, the trip on Brewer negating an important (he had no chance at getting the puck) powerplay opportunity at the start of the 2nd, a number of times he opted for a fancy play in tight, or tried to pick corners rather than putting pucks low and hard at Bishop with traffic in front….

- The overdue Peter Holland should’ve tied this game with nine to go. Great effort by Bodie to scrum the puck along the wall (Holland, Bodie and Raymond was the line), followed by what looked like a sure-goal for Holland to the side of the net. Bishop did a “backwards fall” save that somehow kept it out. Man.

- 12 goals against in the last 4 for the Leafs. Toronto out shot the Lightning in periods 1 and 3 and 39-30 overall. Just a case of committing the more egregious defensive mistakes, with some bad luck, a bad goaltending goal and a refereeing hiccup mixed in there, too.

- The second line scores its goals with Clarkson and Kulemin on Kadri’s wings as Carlyle was frustrated with a turnover by Lupul early in the game.

- Brutal call on Clarkson in the first period. It was a nothing play and you hate to see games of this important partially decided that way.

- Probably going to be mixed reactions re: Clarkson’s thing with B.J. Crombeen. Some might not mind that Clarkson committed himself to being a pest full time if he’s not contributing anything positive to the game otherwise. Clinging onto someone who is refusing to fight and taking a holding penalty doesn’t seem too wise, though. (Pretty good punch he landed in that ensuing melee). You kind of feel bad for Clarkson in this situation, because you can tell he’s sensing the urgency and desperation of the moment, in big games like this down the stretch, but he’s really struggling to impact the game in a meaningful way.

The pressure is building and it will begin to reach a fever pitch at the ACC with Montreal in town on Saturday. I’d be excited if I weren’t so nervous. If Washington wins their game in hand, they’re two points back of ousting the Leafs from a playoff position.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Fenwick chart for 2014-03-19 Lightning 5 at Maple Leafs 3EV fenwick chart for 2014-03-19 Lightning 5 at Maple Leafs 3

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning.csv

TORONTO
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
James Reimer (11-11-1)L30250.83358:18:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Troy Bodie007:09000001000
Tyler Bozak0221:041221360012
David Clarkson0010:14019001000
Cody Franson0121:39140007221
Jake Gardiner1021:02140002200
Tim Gleason0115:47010003300
Carl Gunnarsson0119:00-110002300
Peter Holland009:37040261100
Nazem Kadri0015:49-1203102211
Phil Kessel1021:01150000001
Nikolai Kulemin1017:03-130112100
Joffrey Lupul0016:11-132011012
Jay McClement0011:08032581001
Dion Phaneuf0021:34-110001101
Paul Ranger004:50000001000
Mason Raymond0018:47000000000
Morgan Rielly0116:08000001101
James van Riemsdyk0022:39152011000

TAMPA BAY

GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Ben Bishop (33-11-6)W39360.92360:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Eric Brewer0114:12212005111
J.T. Brown0010:35-120000011
Ryan Callahan0019:08020004002
Matthew Carle0020:24-220000301
B.J. Crombeen009:43015000130
Valtteri Filppula0220:500101470000
Radko Gudas1019:56-140004401
Victor Hedman0023:00040000100
Tyler Johnson1121:52120560001
Alex Killorn006:210115001000
Michael Kostka0019:15120001100
Ryan Malone0211:20120000000
Ondrej Palat0021:06010002110
Teddy Purcell0117:12-100000010
Tom Pyatt007:43-120322000
Sami Salo0119:37000001100
Steven Stamkos3018:34130450101
Nate Thompson0012:12000740010
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning.csv
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]
620 comments
zakimak
zakimak

General issue a directive to be carried out

No one listens

,

Captain enforces the directive

No one supports captain

=

Everyone ignores directives

Bruffins
Bruffins

Im really interested with this hit on Ranger and trying to have no bias when I think about it. Say there were no injuries and Komarov crushed a guy with 5 seconds left in the period, would we all not be pumped and be saying "way to bring the energy and intimidation"? I know I have screamed at guys on the other team for turning right before they get hit so our guys look bad


Thoughts?

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

I think D'Amigo should be called up to replace Ashton. Our PK has been poor.

ProfessorRance
ProfessorRance

Holland deserves some more playing time. I thought with the limited ice he had last night he was one of our most effective forwards.

mcloki
mcloki

@kumoto  I blame the refs when they suck at their job either way. Why because I'm complaining about them doing a crappy job. Win or lose doesn't matter. 

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@kumoto  Bad reffing isn't the reason we lost.....but has/does contribute to the outcome of games...and by the way, we bitch about reffing every game...win or lose, the ineptitude and inconsistency shows every game.

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Belfour20  

we are stripping Dion of his C again, this time all the people calling for it aren't giving it to Lupul though haha

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski  He behaved like he was wearing #71. 

Bruffins
Bruffins

@zakimak  

should Weber be traded since his team isn't supporting him? Stamkos every year before this one?

hometeem
hometeem

@Bruffins  to me it was a 5 min major w no suspension, i like players who play to the bell.  hit was 7 seconds left and they were on pp, how many goals are score at that point, many.  the part that irks me is u see many suspensions for the exact same play but somehow this one isnt. consistancy just isnt there

ingy56
ingy56

@reenergized  I'm only surprised Shanahan didn't issue an apology on behalf of the league to Killorn. It had to be a traumatic experience for him to see Ranger stretchered off like that, not to mention the inconvenience of having to cut the period short . 

darthNihilus
darthNihilus

@ProfessorRance  I'm sure Randy saw that too and will now up his ice time from 2 minutes to 3 minutes a night. lol!

zakimak
zakimak

@Bruffins @zakimak You don't have to trade him but you don't just give the 'C" to him without the player's support.

Bruffins
Bruffins

@hometeem @Bruffins  

I hate the consistency too but Gleason and Kadri have both had dangerous hits lately where we received no punishment. 

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

@kumoto @reenergized  It's not about making up excuses because we lost.....reffing has been inconsistent....as has Shanahan.......period

Bruffins
Bruffins

@CanuckUKinToronto @Bruffins @Belfour20 @kumoto  

exactly, Reimer is a good goalie capable of being great and Bernier has been awesome all season. Reading the comments on this site you would think Reimer is the worst goalie in the league, that is what annoys me. 

Bruffins
Bruffins

@kumoto @Bruffins @Belfour20  

he is a good goalie that has been playing average lately. On a team that needs great goaltending, it has made him look way worse

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Belfour20 @kumoto  

I blame him for his player selection and usage sometimes but this isn't 100 percent on Carlyle. Just like it isn't 100 percent on Reimer or Phaneuf, the team has not been playing to what they are capable of

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Belfour20 @Bruffins  

They blame him way more than he deserved when I was following them (i take pleasure in their misery). The guy has to stand on his head if they want to win a game, similar to us

Bruffins
Bruffins

@Belfour20 @Bruffins  

I really hope so. I have this feeling he might go through a rough start or something and tons of people will turn on him

ingy56
ingy56

@Belfour20 @ingy56  If I do, I'm going somewhere warm, I keep holding out for Gary to put a franchise in Hawaii. 

ingy56
ingy56

@Belfour20 @Mind Bomb  The platinum section will be a blast though. Brass poles at every exit...just try and leave . 

ingy56
ingy56

@wiski @ingy56  Probably more, he got banned from the ACC! (We should only hope LOL)

zakimak
zakimak

@Bruffins @zakimakMuch like you state that Weber and Stamkos are not supported by their teammates either....Role back to 2010 when it was announced and read between the lines