Home Authors Posts by Alec Brownscombe
Do or die. Win or go home. Put up or shut up. [List other cliches here].
The Leafs look to keep things interesting in this series and give us all more Leaf playoff hockey to enjoy by extending the series past five games with a win tonight.
The Leafs have a right to feel a little hard done by with this 1-3 series deficit. Point fingers at certain individuals if it’s your thing, but the fact of the matter is that Toronto, despite looking every bit Boston’s match over the last 3 games, has made the crucial mistakes that are costing them games. Boston almost always has capitalized opportunistically.
I was one of the more deflated Leafs fans after witnessing game 1 of this Leafs-Bruins playoff series. I knew Boston previously matched up like kryptonite against the Leafs, and the game went pretty much exactly as I envisioned in my head; essentially, it was an extension of the last dozen or so matchups against the Bs.
Then Game 2 happened. And, even after last night’s Game 3 loss, I now consider myself considerably less pessimistic.
Let’s break down the goals against from last night:
For anyone rubbing their eyes and waking up this morning, I can confirm that what you saw last night was NOT a dream. It was dream-like, but not actually a dream. It happened.
The Leafs won their first playoff game since 2004 and in the process beat the Bruins in Boston for the first time in over two calendar years.
Phil Kessel scored his first goal at evens against the Bruins, and he waited until the playoffs, in the third period (representing the game winner), to do it.
The three day break has given us much time to digest the events of Wednesday night. The Leafs can draw inspiration from the inexperienced Islanders last night with the way that team was blown out in game 1, looked to be in the process of getting blown out early in game 2, fought back, and now find themselves on equal footing in a best of five series against the heavily favoured Penguins. All we can do is hope the Leafs make the necessary adjustments and find something more within themselves tonight in Boston.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
After last night there is no shortage of critics jumping on the uselessness of the likes of Mark Fraser, Mike Kostka, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren and by extension the coach who continues to deploy them in his lineup. To varying degrees I have been frustrated with all of them at points throughout the season.
The fact of the matter is that toughness did play an appreciable role in the Leafs success over the 48-game haul. Let’s forget facepunching for today. Without James Reimer there’s no Leafs playoffs, but without a simplification of the defensive game, an emphasis on winning more one on one battles and protecting your net in an overall effort to reduce chances inside 20 feet, maybe Reimer isn’t in a position so much to succeed.
We are within 2 hours (update: 1 hour, 50 minutes) (update 1 hour, 49 minutes) (update 1 hour, 48 minutes) of the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Leafs playoff hockey.
No official word on final lineup combinations as of yet but we’ll update as soon as we know.
Look at that glorious playoff ice paint. I haven’t been this excited about ice paint since… well, when the Leafs painted on their logo at center ice and streamed it online during the lockout. Desperate times, let’s not talk about it. After all IT’S PLAYOFF GAME DAY!
With the fast and furious 48-game 2013 regular season in the books, presented below are 82-game points projections for each Leaf player, for whatever they’re worth.
The Leafs finish the season at 26-17-5 (57 points) and not on the note we were hoping for headed into the playoffs. Their round 1 opponent is now up in the air and will depend on the result of tomorrow’s Ottawa-Boston game.
Playoff preview? A primer for Tuesday night? With a win, the Leafs could go a long way in making it so. The playoff implications have been laid out here for this final game of the regular season for these two rivals.
As if this game didn’t already have enough intrigue, Brendan Gallagher, proud owner of arguably the douchiest face in the National Hockey League, made a douchey remark about how Nazem Kadri plays scared when he’s on the ice, something the vast majority of us failed to notice between the two or three times Kadri ran Gallagher over last game.
Here are the playoff scenarios going into tonight:
MLHS is running its annual playoff pool over at CBC, and HOLY SHIT there’s Leafs players in it this year. The prize for the individual group winner will be a “Phil & Nazem & Joffrey & James” MLHS t-shirt. If you happen to win the overall CBC-wide pool, you will also take home a car (an MLHS’er actually finished top 5 a few years back).
JOIN THE MLHS GROUP HERE. Here’s what you’re playing for:
The Leafs are 26-16-5 after taking care of business with a much-needed, convincing win 4-0 over Florida. The Canadiens beat the Jets, so Saturday’s game will not determine fourth place/home ice advantage. Saturday’s game still has a lot at stake, however, as the result will determine if the Leafs play the Habs, Capitals or maybe even the Bruins in round one.
After allowing 5 goals a game while losing three of their last four, the Leafs need to stop the bleeding against the lowly Panthers tonight or else risk falling down the standings into the matchup no one wants against the Washington Capitals.
After a three day break spent golfing, fishing and pool side chillaxing in Florida, the Leafs were looking to mount a push for home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs with a win over Tampa Bay tonight. As it turns out, the Leafs would outshoot their opponent for the first time in 10 games. Surely it ended well…
Last night was a good night on the out of town scoreboard for the Leafs. The Sens, Isles, Rangers, Habs and Bruins all played and only the Islanders collected a point. This puts the Leafs in control over their own home ice destiny, now four points back of the Habs with a game in hand and a meeting against Montreal left on the schedule. To me, there’s no question, Montreal is the ideal first round opponent given a) how the Leafs have matched up against them and b) they appear to be slumping at the worst possible time.
The Leafs have a chance here to feel good about themselves with wins against the bottom two teams in the Eastern Conference in the next 24 hours. Randy Carlyle is doing a smart thing by getting all of his players into game action ahead of the post-season in this back to back set, as he will reportedly ice a fourth line of Joe Colborne, Matt Frattin and Clarke MacArthur tonight. This should help keep the players who have been in and out of the press box sharp while giving Carlyle the ability to roll four lines and reduce the workload for the big guns. And a nice looking four lines it is:
IT’S OVER. The Maple Leafs are playoff bound after 9 years on the outside looking in as the clinch has been sealed with a 4-1 victory in Ottawa Saturday night. Enjoy this moment, Leafs fans.
The Leafs head to a rink of warm recent memories tonight, looking to get out of a two-game funk in which they’ve been outscored 10-4 and outshot 75-51.
Back at the 42 game mark, with six games to go, the only scenario in which the Leafs could even possibly risk losing their playoff berth was if they were to lose out while all the teams placed 6-9 below them finished really strong. That has unfortunately played itself out a little bit over the past few days. The Rangers won again last night, and combined with Senators, Rangers, Islanders and Jets wins on Thursday, it puts the Leafs only 3 ahead of 8th and 5 up on 9th. That’s still a pretty healthy margin on 9th with only 4 games to go, but the Leafs have to start winning. Even if the Jets do them a favour and lose, falling to 7th or 8th obviously puts the Leafs in a rough matchup for round 1.
5 games to go, and with the Habs’ recent form, home ice advantage is within the Leafs’ reach (also play them in the last game of the season). The Buds will need to bounce back from their first blowout loss since early March vs. the Jets, as they seemingly ran into a red-hot Capitals team at the wrong time, in a back-to-back scenario with travel in between and some bad habits creeping into their game.
On the flip side, with a loss to the 7th-placed Islanders the Leafs could find themselves in position to fall back into the clutches of the 6-7 seeds of the East. Based on recent play within the Conference, and the Leafs season series against the potential opponents, I think we have to be hoping for Leafs-Habs matchup in round 1 – both from the standpoint of how unspeakably awesome it would be and in terms of the Leafs’ chances of advancing. The Leafs can take down most teams that attempt to outspeed and outskill them and they have also outcompeted the Habs physically. The difficulty seems to come in when the Leafs are slowed down, forced to fall back on a grind-it-out cycle game, and retrieve and control the puck along the boards.
After the Leafs pulled off a steal of a win over New Jersey last night, the Buds are in Washington, DC tonight hoping to chase down suddenly-within-reach home ice advantage for the playoffs. Should the Jets lose and the Leafs win tonight, mathematics say we can officially borrow against our homes and buy tickets to Leafs playoff games in May.
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