The Maple Leafs were done after the Red Wings loss, but would that stop them from turning it on in their final six games, you ask? Are you new to being a Leafs fan? Of course not.
It’s always dramatic in Leafland.
There were a couple of crazy storylines within the overarching storyline in this one, too.
The Leafs, league leaders in third period leads forfeited, gave up another one, which was another multi-goal lead squandered to the Bruins. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, as they say.
Jonathan Bernier left the game hurt, just as the Leafs had conceded the 3-2 goal. Enter James Reimer in a pressure-cooker situation. The Leafs were already well into the process of coughing up the lead. The game and any hope at the playoffs was on the line. The Bruins were about to go to a powerplay, too, given the incident that left Bernier injured involved a Paul Ranger interference infraction in front of the net.
They got the initial kill, but inevitably conceded the tying goal with 7 minutes to go. A key penalty kill late, overlapping into OT, gave way to a Leafs powerplay earned by Tyler Bozak. Nazem Kadri, in the Carlyle dog house on the night, rose to the occasion and roofed a rebound off a Cody Franson point shot on the 4 on 3 powerplay in OT.
The Leafs live to see another day, but got no favours from the Flyers tonight after a 2-0 Columbus victory in Philadelphia. The Leafs remain one point back with four games remaining, the tiebreak disadvantage, and two games out of hand.
- Based on the state of Bernier as he left the ice, unable to put any weight at all on his left leg, it seems unlikely he will figure into this 2013-14 season any further. We’re not doctors here, but if it’s the groin again, it’s time to just run with Reimer and shut Bernier down. Reimer’s season to finish up? Could very well be.
- The Leafs played a decent first 40 minutes in this game. The first period was played at a furious pace and it suited the Leafs just fine. Then came classic 3rd period Leafs hockey with the (temporary) lead. It’s become too predictable and repetitive to give it more analysis.
- Here, however, is a point/example demonstrating why the Maple Leafs getting so heavily outshot is system related, and not indicative of them being a horrible team: The Leafs’ forwards took 27 shots. The Bruins’ forwards took 27 shots. The teams’ respective defencemen? 11 shots to 4 for the Bruins. This is a trend we will explore further in an upcoming post here at MLHS. The Bruins worked the puck low to high repeatedly in this game against the Leaf collapse. It started in the opening couple of minutes when Kevan Miller was able to take a pass and stroll right down to the top of the circles (could’ve gone right down to the hashmarks maybe) and ring the cross bar.
- Worse than that, the Bruins’ 3-2 and 3-3 goals came from shooters left wide open in the slot. Pretty much identical goals for Bergeron and Lucic. Both involved slow anticipation by Mason Raymond, who seems to have a particularly difficult time figuring out where he should be in this swarm system, as well as Bolland and Clarkson (not that any Leaf really seems to know what to do in this collapse system once the other team sustains pressure).
- I wrote a point down that Ray Ferraro proceed to make after the commercial break, making it seem like I’m just piggybacking, but Carl Gunnarsson needed to move the man out of the crease area rather than allow himself to be backed right into Reimer’s grill on the 3-3 goal. Reimer had no chance at either seeing that puck or getting out to cut down the angle, so what followed wasn’t anything close to his fault.
- Another example of why the Leafs aren’t a bad team – they now have two 30-goal scorers (JvR just hit the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career tonight) and could have as many as three more 20-goal scorers between Raymond, Kadri, Lupul and Bozak.
- Jerry D’Amigo is a capable bottom six NHLer and should be used as one by Carlyle in these final 4 games. He played 8:10 tonight due to the 11 forward set up that fell to 10 when Clarkson went in and out of the game before leaving for good, but I just don’t get the sense Carlyle is going to give the kid his due still. He was key in the creation of the second goal, showing good patience to walk in a few strides and put a slap-pass into a good area.
- Cody Franson redeemed himself for his pizza up the middle leading to the Marchand goal with good work on the late penalty kill (cut out a sure goal on a cross ice pass) and good patience on the blueline on the 4 on 3, leading to Kadri’s winner.
- Troy Bodie led the team in even strength ice time with a whopping 20:29. That’s partially due to Clarkson leaving the game, but Bodie did look good in this game again. Consistently effective on the forecheck.
- Kadri played only 11:40 tonight. He was 71% on the draw but was used in the offensive/neutral zones by Carlyle as much as possible. Big goal for Naz’s confidence in OT that hopefully sets up a hot finish for #43, and renewed trust from Carlyle.
- Paul Ranger: Leafs’ feel-good story of the season, no doubt. Awesome game. In addition to his goal, which was a good read to nip in off the point and roof a backhand, he outmuscled Bruins players down low all night (including Lucic at one point) and made safe quick ups to his teammates. He’s a ridiculously strong guy and wins 90% of his battles in tight. Unfortunately, his attempt to be strong in front of his net led to Bernier getting hurt late in the third.
The Phil was back on the scoresheet in a big way, with a couple of points against his former team including what was basically his goal on the Bozak tally. Even if the win only lowers the Leafs’ draft position at the end of the day, no self-respecting Leafs fan can dislike seeing Kessel strip Dougie Hamilton and set up JvR for his 30th of the season.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins Boxscore
|Jonathan Bernier (26-19-7)||27||25||0.926||48:22:00|
|James Reimer (12-13-1)||W||11||10||0.909||14:29|
|James van Riemsdyk||1||0||20:38||2||6||0||1||1||4||0||1||0|
|Chad Johnson (17-3-2)||OTL||31||27||0.871||62:51:00|