Game Review: Game #72, Canadiens 4 at Leafs 3

Game Review: Game #72, Canadiens 4 at Leafs 3

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This is may be the darkest night in Leafland since May 13, 2003. It was a crucial loss to the Montreal Canadiens that took the Maple Leafs from in the mix for the third divisional playoff spot to no longer in control of their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs in a wildcard position. The Leafs have now lost their third “four-point game” in the span of a week. Crushing stuff.

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 12

Leafs playoff odds now at 44%

The reality is that the Leafs, with their current flaws, are among the large group of middling teams in the East who aren’t separated by all that much. Unless you’re among  the elite teams who have already built a big cushion by this point, the first 60 or 65 games are all about putting yourself in a position to make the playoffs when the dust settles.

Among that group jousting for playoff spots down the stretch, who is getting good goaltending vs. average goaltending is going to be the major difference maker. With this team’s defensive deficiencies, average goaltending won’t cut it for the Leafs and they’ll sink right out of the spot they’re tenuously holding onto. Few live and die by their goaltending as much as the Leafs; it was their biggest differentiator and had them situated to take over 2nd in the Division a little over a week ago. Now, they’re on the verge of falling out of the playoffs with 10 games to go. There was very little between the Habs and Leafs tonight, much as there was little between the Leafs and Wings on Tuesday. The margins are so thin in these games. James Reimer has to step up and stop two of those goals he let in tonight. Simple as that.

The other disappointing part is the poor PK from the Leafs on the only penalty it had to kill half way through the third. Playoff teams get that kill. Instead — with no pressure on the points, poor clearing attempts by McClement and a foul up by Phaneuf, who tried to be too patient on the play — the Leafs didn’t and it cost them at least one vital point.

It’s hard to find the positives in a night like this, but the Leafs played a pretty good game overall. Lupul and Kadri scored a couple of nice goals. Jake Gardiner had himself a hell of a game. There was something to like about Bolland’s return, too. You could tell he set out to make sure he engaged in the game with some physical play, and while he looks like he’s still down half a step, much of his game is rooted in savvy play. He should be able to help this team in the final 10, hopefully by giving them three contributing forward lines. He missed nearly 60 games and yet he seemed ready to go from the first shift onward. Granted, Carlyle eased him in with 9:01 TOI tonight.

It might be worth putting Bolland with, say, Bodie and Kulemin on a line to start the game so the Leafs can set the tone better than they have been off the puck drop.

Not a tonne of anaylsis tonight, for it was a downer and one all of us fans are going to need to sleep on to fully digest and put behind us.  12 out of 20 points isn’t a yeoman’s feat if the Leafs get their act together soon, soon as in 18 hours from now, but it’s no longer fully in the Leafs’ control. Jonathan Bernier is reportedly not going to make the trip to Jersey.

Fenwick chart for 2014-03-22 Canadiens 4 at Maple Leafs 3EV fenwick chart for 2014-03-22 Canadiens 4 at Maple Leafs 3Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens

Toronto Maple Leafs_vs_Montreal Canadiens Boxscore

TORONTO STATISTICS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
James Reimer (11-12-1)L36320.88958:40:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Troy Bodie009:33020000100
Dave Bolland009:01-110813000
Tyler Bozak1018:58020990001
David Clarkson008:54-210001100
Cody Franson0024:39:00-150006011
Jake Gardiner0022:37020003003
Tim Gleason0018:00-110004111
Carl Gunnarsson0014:42-100001110
Nazem Kadri1017:15040371010
Phil Kessel0120:16030010100
Nikolai Kulemin0018:16-110113122
Joffrey Lupul1120:18130002210
Jay McClement0013:50-100984100
Colton Orr002:32000002001
Dion Phaneuf0020:44-120003202
Mason Raymond0216:41-130001020
Morgan Rielly0019:18020001111
James van Riemsdyk0021:46-152102020
MONTREAL STATISTICS
GOALIEDEC.SHOTSSAVESSAVE %MIN.
Carey Price (29-18-5)W36330.91760:00:00
PLAYERGATOI+/-SOGPIMFWFLHITSBSTAKEGIVE
Francis Bouillon0025:10:00-100002111
Rene Bourque1111:52160000000
Daniel Briere0013:20110461011
David Desharnais0116:260221080020
Lars Eller006:37010420100
Alexei Emelin0020:52030003311
Alex Galchenyuk0016:38110001110
Brendan Gallagher0015:26110000000
Brian Gionta1114:30130020011
Andrei Markov0124:07:00150001211
Travis Moen0013:47000000101
Douglas Murray0010:13200004501
Max Pacioretty1017:29040000200
Tomas Plekanec1020:591129131110
P.K. Subban0126:14:00030000201
Thomas Vanek0016:43020000000
Mike Weaver0113:24210002400
Dale Weise0012:25020003013
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109 comments
GVR_JVR
GVR_JVR

Go Leafs, Isles, and Wild!!....... and Raps!

Leafbites
Leafbites

It's also paradoxically disappointing that our two youngsters on the blue line have likely been our best players down this stretch drive. Don't see any vets stepping up, once again. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

did Rielly play wing in the third?  lol.  i love this kid.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

geez, Rielly just got dropped with 5:55 left in the game, no call on one of the easiest penalties of the night

(i missed the third last night, just catching up now...we're the better team)

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

just watching the LeafsTV replay.  i see the McClemment, Phanuef plays mentioned.  but Reimer couldn't eat a rebound in between the two and then he got "stuck" coming across the crease before that puck went in from a ad angle.

3 goals against us last night go in against non-playoff teams.  we scored some nice goals ourselves.

Jordan29
Jordan29

So 10 games left, and we need at least 10 points. Lets start this tonight

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

tough call on JVR.  he's shoved from behind and he's well out of the crease.

i think it's a call that has to be made based onthe NHL rules.  but the D pushing a player into his goalie has to be punished somehow, doesn't he?

i can't fault JVR for anything there.

TheCanucksnaphook
TheCanucksnaphook

Holy shit boys..thought you all might wake up in a better mood.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

The Leafs will almost certainly make the playoffs, but if they it would be so typical if they didn't - keep pending UFAS for a playoff drive that never happens.  And get the 14th pick overall. 

Jordan29
Jordan29

I dont even want to imagine the disaster if they lose tonight

RandomScrub
RandomScrub

I find it funny that some people want to constantly blame the turnovers when clearly goaltending let us down. Are you trying to say that the really good teams don't get good goaltending since they don't have turnovers. We're all just overly critical of our teams mistakes because, well it's our team. We watch them day in and day out. But all of the other teams have turnovers and other issues as well. The goaltending they get is what bails them out so in some peoples words "we can overlook this stuff"

Leafbites
Leafbites

Watching this team get outplayed 90% of the season has taken the sting out of all of this, for me– at least there's a good chance we're not gonna have to suffer through another season of retina-paralyzing Carlyle hockey. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

i love watching Rielly play.  just love it.

he looks to be the reason Gardiner's played so well lately, too.

these two are a bright spot right now.

maritimernluvinit
maritimernluvinit

This team is not built for the playoffs. I'm trying to recall when was the last time a team went far/won the Cup with a potent offense and average (at best) defense and goaltending. Also, I believe last year was a fluke. The Leafs overachieved and were able to take advantage of a strike-shortened season. Leuwike (sp?) especially, and Nonis, should have realized where their team really was in terms of performance and growth heading into the draft and free agency. Instead, they must have assumed they were on the verge of being Stanley Cup contenders and went out and signed Clarkson to that ridiculous contract. What had Clarkson done up to that point to earn his contract??? From what I have heard (no, I didn't look at his past accomplishments) he had one pretty good year which was due in large part to the linemates he was playing with.

As for Carlyle, why do some players get their asses stapled to the bench when they make a mistake (Kadri), and others never miss a shift (Lupul, Kessel)???

In my opinion, management missed the boat entirely by assuming the Leafs were on the verge of being regular contenders based on what happened last season!!! 

ingy56
ingy56

Caps beat the Sharks last night? Oh my

mr_hanie
mr_hanie

The Corsi.or evil statistics about zone coverage and Reimer rebounds is not a fit for Carlyle's swarm defensive zone coverage.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

"Few live and die by their goaltending as much as the Leafs"

i beg to differ

what teams win at a playoff rate with the quality of goaltending that we've had this past week?  we can all catch the highlights, and there are a lot of soft goals scored each night.  and those teams are almost always on the losing end.

it's not the big time saves that matter, it's the routine ones.  bad goalies don't make them.  and bad goalies turn routine saves into bigger problems.

one reporter again tried to bait Carlyle in the post game, asking "how do you explain the slow starts".  again.  what slow start?  the Leafs showed up and played at least equal to MTL from the opening puck drop.  we didn't put two softies past Price.

Carlyle decided to keep the truth to himself.  i see that without his sound bites it's too tough to figure out what the problem was for the experts who didn't watch the game, who had their 700 words due this morning.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Leafbites

it's disappointing, but also encouraging to me for the future.

charlieb83
charlieb83

@dlb eh  He's phenomenal. I wouldn't trade him for most of the league.

charlieb83
charlieb83

@dlb eh  He's been brutal on this losing streak. It has always been such a cliche how Bernier "has a calming influence" but man, is that ever true. It seems like Reimer's game is scrambling and battling every play and game but Bernier really plays a calm, cool and collected game and it really shows.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@BBirde its a bit from column A, a bit from column B.  Too many high risk passes during "breakouts", inability to win puck battles, and now shaky goaltending. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Leafbites

did you see what Bolland did in his 10 minutes last night?  that's Carlyle hockey.

ingy56
ingy56

@Leafbites  The higher ups decided goaltending was an issue at the end of last season and they addressed it somewhat. They had better take a hard look at their defence, team defence and coaching this off season and address as much of it as they can. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@dlb eh  lol they usually don't even play together . Mostly 2nd pp

glgbill
glgbill

@maritimernluvinit Agree.  While it wasn't a go-for-it-at-all-costs approach, the free agent additions, trades and use of cap space was all about 'Win Now.'  Leiweke has a big hand in this mess, imo, arriving and declaring the rebuild over.  Now, we'll have some tough cap decisions this offseason.  Good players will be gone, Clarkson will still be here.  My biggest hope, personally?  Randy is shown the door.  He's had enough time to implement a decent defensive system.  Plenty of teams do more with equal or lesser talent.  Randy has not gotten it done.  Plus, the double standards never help a locker room.  Accountability needs to be shared equally.  Randy must go.  We need a new approach built around the personnel that remains after cap casualties, trades and the draft.  The team needs a MAJOR reset.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@maritimernluvinit

no one in the Leafs organization believed after last year they were on the cusp of being a contender.  (you don't cut loose Grabovski and risk not being able to resign Bozak unless you're still considering how to build longer term)

also, right now, the Leafs are exactly where most people picked them to be in the standings at the start of the year.

The_Polish_Cannon
The_Polish_Cannon

@maritimernluvinit  Clarkson hasn't been doing any of the things that made him successful in NJ. He made a career of parking himself in front of the net. I don't know if this is him trying to justify his contract or coaching staff is trying to get him to do too much but he needs to go back to what made him successful.

RandomScrub
RandomScrub

@maritimernluvinit  Clarkson had 2 good back to back seasons. The good linemate thing was debunked. This team I feel can do pretty well in the playoffs they just have to get there. Goaltending has killed us over the last few games as much as the turnovers have. We just need a system alteration. I think the players are generally okay.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@ingy56  I watched the game ingy . Holtby was 1st star. He stood on his head 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@mr_hanie

Reimer's not playing well.  he can do better.  there were no rebounds on 3 of those peripheral shots last night.  only red lights.

The_Polish_Cannon
The_Polish_Cannon

@dlb eh  first goal kessel hands it right to Desharnais in the neutral zone and he takes in right back into the leafs zone, Bozak left Pacioretty wide open in the slot for a one-timer boom goal. But everyone freaks out on Reimer ignoring all the bad plays and coverage that led to it. Bourque's goal was stoppable but how the hell does Franson and Gardiner let Bourque get behind them like that for a breakaway

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@dlb eh @LeafbitesGood morning ladies and germs ,yes encouraging to see a positive post here of all places I was  worried the negative crap would effect/infect me, The NHL is a tough league to play in eh and we are still in it . Yea !

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@MaxwellHowe

i don't think he even tried to bump the goalie, not like some of those pests are so good at.

Price was out of te net a ways and JVR had a clear path to skate past him until he was shoved.  i don't think he was even thinking of making contact.  it's not like we felt we had to rattle Price at that point, the score was tied and we already earned 3 against him.

ingy56
ingy56

@MaxwellHowe @dlb eh  Exactly, I think if he puts on the brakes he still achieves his goal of bumping Price as Markov would still have given him the momentum. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Burtonboy

haha, i didn't mean from playing together necessarily.  but they live together, and they probably compete against each other, or push each other to be better.

Gardiner looks like he feels good about himself righ tnow.  he's not afraid of having th epuck on his stick, and he's not afraid to be up ice ahead of his forwards.  he's playing to his strengths, and i think Reilly's approach might have made an impression.

ingy56
ingy56

@Burtonboy @ingy56  Damn, I'd had enough by then so watched a movie. Just catching the Oilers score too. Flames are coming in here in a week. That game worries me a lot. 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@The_Polish_Cannon

so?  how do you think we ended up with half our scoring chances last night?

shit happens and the goalie bails you out.  or he doesn't.

i'll never forget it's a team sport, but the goalie is always the most critical player on the team.

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@Burtonboy

some guys live hockey, some have a lot of talent (among other reasons).

Reilly strikes me as a guy who's always trying to think of how to be a better player.  if Gardiner was rooming with Franson i get the feeling they'd be talking about their favourite movies or food groups instead of using salt and pepper shakers to simulate some hockey plays at the dinner table trays).

ingy56
ingy56

@Burtonboy @ingy56  I expect them to play all those teams tooth and nail, it's the so-called "easy" game against the Flames that has me worried. Burke would like nothing better than to stick it to Cope by winning that one and potentially dashing their playoff hopes. 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@ingy56 @Burtonboy  I'm really concerned ingy . The fact that Bernier didn't even make the trip suggests to me he might be a few more games before he's ready . Gonna be tough without your top goalie for sure . This week its the Blues and Philly and Detroit on a B2B . 

dlb Mad
dlb Mad

@The_Polish_Cannon

go back and watch the games those teams lose.  you'll see some un-earned goals.  are you really going to use save percentage as a measurement when we've all witnessed Reimer's play the last 4 games?

he's made a lot of saves, but he's let us down in each game too.  we're not SJ, but we were better than DET and MTL at the very least, and what was the difference?