If three games comprise the beginning of a losing skid in the NHL, the Leafs look to avoid their first of the season with a win tonight in Winnipeg. The Buds fought for a hard-earned point against Pittsburgh on Saturday, but this is a particularly important game for the Leafs to continue their recommended habit of stopping losing skids before they start. The 9th-placed Jets are five points behind the Leafs with a game in hand. A win and the Leafs put themselves seven clear and maintain a healthy gap on the chasers of the playoff race. A loss in regulation and the Leafs' hold on a spot in the top 8 starts looking a bit more tenuous. [more…]
I took in what felt like a one-point win last night at the ACC. I of little faith was thinking “blow out” after the bang-bang goals in the first, but there seems to be something different about this team (visible in the Bruins game as well). They didn’t slip silently into the night, and by the end of it you had the feeling Crosby, Malkin and co. snuck away, or limped away, with the extra point.
I’ll ignore the awful first period from the Leafs - and how deeply underwater the first line was in its head to head with Crosby’s line, or how off Reimer was for the first 20 - because in many ways the fight back was just that good. Reimer played one of his poorer periods of the season in period 1, but his overall performance matched the trajectory of the rest of the team - started slow, but without him the Leafs don’t get the point. [more…]
More of the same in Boston. It was less embarrassing than last season's visits to the TD Garden, and there's a small victory in that, but the Leafs fall short nonetheless and drop to 15-10-0 with a 4-2 loss (one empty netter) to the Bruins. [more…]
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We’re at the half way point and the Leafs are in great shape at 15-9-0, sitting in fifth in the East with 30 points. .500 hockey from here on in, while not the best way to enter the playoffs, gets the Leafs back to the post-season.
The Leafs recent form, on paper, has also been dandy, with three wins on the trot. On one hand you’re happy with those final results, with the team finding different ways to win whether coming from behind or holding on for dear life, on the other you’re concerned with the significant portions of game in which the Leafs have been outplayed, outpossessed and outchanced. [more…]
The parallels between these two provincial rivals goes deeper than their matching point totals through 23 games. Both teams are getting good goaltending, sitting top 5 in team save percentage (Senators are 1st at 0.945), despite rotating goalies due to injury, inexperience on the backend and a lot of shots allowed (Leafs - 25th, Senators - 29th). Like the Leafs with Kostka, Holzer and Fraser, the Senators have been giving the inexperienced likes of Eric Gryba, Andre Benoit and Peter Wiercioch significant minutes and so far are hanging in the playoff picture with a goals against total in the top 10 league wide. [more…]
For reasons beyond my comprehension, the two-year contract extension handed out to 25-year-old Korbinian Holzer yesterday generated reactions beyond "oh, alright" on Twitter.
Unless you're [more…]
The weekend off gave the Conference a chance to begin catching up to the Leafs, who played 22 games in the first 40 days of the season. Sitting in sixth with 26 points, the Leafs are four points ahead of the 9th-placed Rangers, who still have two games in hand. Tonight's opponent, the 7th-placed Devils, are one point behind the Leafs with a game in hand, so the Leafs have a chance to hold back one of the teams breathing down their neck. [more…]
Mike Brown has been traded to Edmonton for a conditional 2014 fourth round pick (could become a 3rd depending on if he shaves or retains his moustache) as the Leafs are anticipating a few injured bodies will soon return to active duty. Matt Frattin may make his return to the lineup tonight vs. the New Jersey Devils - he's labeled a game time decision - or a little later on this week.
Alas, carrying McLaren, Orr and Brown on the 23-man active roster doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the Leafs are right at the limit and Nonis' flexibility in terms of waiver exempt options stops after Nazem Kadri, Leo Komarov and Korbinian Holzer. The oft-injured Mike Brown essentially had his roster spot nabbed by previous waiver pickup Frazer McLaren, who has surprised so far. He's not a bad skater for a big man, is competent enough to cycle a puck and has fared well in all of his punch ups to date. [more…]
I hope everyone will be taking the opportunity to do something with their families, spouses or significant others on this unfortunately vacant Saturday night.
Just a few thoughts on the Leafs' recent performance before we get into some links. [more…]
The Leafs are on Long Island tonight looking to bounce back after a dismal showing at home against the Habs less than 24 hours ago. Tonight is like most game nights in that I'd highly recommend the Leafs win, but it's especially the case given they're playing the Islanders and have New Jersey and Pittsburgh on tap after the upcoming three-day break.
The big story as far as lineup changes go is the return of James Reimer, who banged up his knee 17 days ago. Tonight hopefully marks the beginning of a two- (healthy) Leafs goalie platoon where both 'tendies push each other for the opportunity to provide quality starts. Reimer's last start was the Leafs' 5-2 win over Philadelphia and he enters tonight looking to belatedly continue a three-game win streak. He's 6-3-0 with a .931 save percentage on the season. [more…]
Here we go.
Randy Carlyle will dress all of Colton Orr, Mike Brown and Frazer McLaren for tonight's highly-anticipated rematch with the Canadiens.
Typically, there isn't the carry over you expect in these type of bad-blood rematch games. Both teams focus on winning the game first. There's a possibility the Habs will be bitter enough about Colton Orr running Pleckanec and then one punching Rene Borque to the ice, and Grabovski's alleged bite on Pacioretty, that they'll show no hesitancy in taking a run at some of the Leafs skilled players. The Leafs are well prepared if the game goes that way. The Habs would be smart to forget that stuff and try to stick to their usual road gameplan - they're 4-1-2 on the road despite outscoring their opponents just 17-15. [more…]
Tonight, the Leafs look to move to 3-0 against the Canadiens and in the process take down the current Eastern Conference and Northeast Division leader.The Leafs have handed the Habs two of their only four regulation losses this season.
You have to like how the Leafs have matched up with the Habs so far this season, allowing just one goal in their two meetings, and the thoroughness of the Hockey Day in Canada beatdown has to give the Leafs a mental edge. The Leafs have gotten good goaltending against Montreal and have dominated the key areas of the ice with strong physical and defensive play. On the other hand, the Habs have gone 6-1-1 since the big defeat and are definitely going to be out to prove something after getting embarrassed in just about every way possible by the Leafs in their own barn. [more…]