The looming question mark below the surface of a good first 20 games (12-8-0) in the 2013 Leafs season is the fact that the Buds have been pretty consistently outshot (30.8 SA/G, 22nd in the league, versus 28.3 SF/G).
Now, teams that play good enough team defence, control the main areas of the ice consistently enough and get solid enough goaltending can manage to make the playoffs despite losing the shots battle. Ottawa made the playoffs last season despite allowing the second most shots in the league per game; Phoenix was third last in the regular season, made the playoffs easily and went to the Conference Finals; Nashville allowed over three more shots against than for on average, and Florida and Washington were the other two teams to allow more shots than they produced while still making the playoffs. 5 of 16 playoff teams total. I’d say there were elements of good luck, good coaching and good goaltending at play to varying degrees with those teams. [more…]
Showing no signs of slowing down, the Leafs followed up a tough loss in Ottawa with a bounce back win in Philly, their 8th victory in their last 11, to move to 12-8-0 at the 20-game mark of the season. The Leafs' speed and puck movement proved to be too much for the Flyers as the Leafs built a lead and held on for the win. [more…]
The Leafs have so far been able to stop losing streaks before they start and look to do exactly that tonight with a bounce back win in Philadelphia.
Saturday’s loss was a tough one. The Leafs were far from their best but really should’ve taken a point out of it after fighting back in the third, only to foul it up with seconds left in regulation. Randy Carlyle took on some of the blame for not taking a timeout, but that’s kind of a 20/20 hindsight explanation. If Scrivens holds onto the rebound, or if Gunnarsson or Kostka prevent the Senator from skating unabated to the puck, we’re thinking nothing of that defensive zone faceoff. [more…]
The Leafs and Senators head into the second edition of the 2013 Battle Ontario tied at 22 points, two behind the surprising Habs for both the division and Conference leads.
A week ago today, the Leafs shut out Ottawa 3-0, with the Senators looking primed for a downturn in the wake of the Karlsson injury. Not the case, at least not so far. The Senators rattled off three wins in a row this week, two in shootouts, and both teams will enter the second chapter of their season series playing some good hockey. Paul McLean's Senators look to have the strength in system, the goaltending and enough depth to hang around like a bad smell in the playoff race in spite of the absence of Spezza and Karlsson. [more…]
The Leafs move to 11-7-0 and improve their once-dismal home record to 4-4. Tonight, they ground the head of the down-and-out Sabres into the dirt with their boot, new coach be damned. Through three games against Buffalo, one of which Miller stole, it's safe to say the Leafs are a clearly superior team to at least one of their divisional rivals. [more…]
The Sabres' Ron Rolston era begins tonight in Toronto. Sitting in the Northeast Division basement by a seven-point margin, the Sabres ended the tenure of the then-longest tenured head coach in the league yesterday. The Leafs will have to match what should be a heightened energy level from the Sabres after their big wakeup call.
The Leafs have so far been good at stopping losing streaks before they start, and keeping that up will bode well as far as the playoff race goes. As far as recent history against the Sabres is concerned, the Leafs were Ryan Miller'ed and lost against the run of play in their home opener. Matt Frattin's late heroics evened the season series up at 1s in Buffalo on January 29. [more…]
If I reported back from the future after the Leafs' first 17 games and told you before the season started:
Joffrey Lupul has been out injured since game three, Jake Gardiner has only played two games and is in the minors, Phil Kessel went on a 10-game goalless drought to start the season, Dion Phaneuf recorded only one assist and no goals in his first 11 games, James Reimer has been out injured for several games and we haven't acquired Roberto Luongo or any form of goaltending help, our only player acquisition since the lockout ended is Frazer McLaren, Colton Orr has been playing on the third line the past few games, and John-Michael Liles has been a healthy scratch while Korbinian Holzer, Mike Kostka and Mark Fraser are playing significant minutes on the backend... [more…]
One of the more interesting, borderline meaningless stats associated with the Maple Leafs at the moment is their league-leading hit count despite the subtraction of Luke Schenn’s ~270 “hits” (not that Schenn wasn’t physical, but pity the ACC stat recorder who decided his patented three-step push counted as one). Through 16 games in 2013, the Leafs lead the league, ahead of the Flyers and Rangers, with 454 hits. [more…]
The Leafs fall to 8-6-0 as their four game win streak ends with a tame effort in Carolina. [more…]
Leafs Nation is feeling a little down on its luck with the injuries to resurgent starter James Reimer and one of our point-a-game youngsters off the third line, Matt Frattin (while Joffrey Lupul and Carl Gunnarsson remain shelved). Given the busy schedule, two major contributors to the Leafs' 8-5-0 start will be out for what could amount to half a dozen games, as the Leafs play six games in the coming ten days starting tonight in Carolina. [more…]
If you haven't heard yet, there’s a new way to play fantasy hockey that turns the season long grind into quick hitting one night leagues. And the best part is that you can win cash every single day. You draft a team for one night and get paid out as soon as the games end that night. DraftStreet.com is at the forefront of this new trend in the fantasy world and is giving us another promotion, much like the first: a FREE one-day fantasy league with $200 in prizes exclusively for Maple Leafs Hot Stove fans. [more…]
The Leafs look to extend their winning streak to four while getting off the schneid at home tonight against the Flyers. The key will be avoiding a letdown after a thoroughly solid win over the Canadiens and all the excitement that came with it. It was such an arrant ass kicking that Habs players were still complaining about it in the media today. [more…]