Some might say the Leafs are casting Reimer in the fire by returning him to the crease against the Boston Bruins. Then again, the standards are low - if the Bruins score less than six, we're making progress against these guys.
Further, it makes more than a little sense given Reimer has a 3-1 career record against the Bruins, and the Leafs could use any boost they can get against a team they've had no answers for this season.
The Leafs did themselves no favours on Wednesday by giving up seven powerplay opportunities to the league's best team. If there's any reason for hope, it's that the Leafs played their best game against the Bruins so far, and if it wasn't for the penalty parade and an empty netter, the game could've gone either way. It was the first game in which the Leafs made inroads offensively, using their speed and skill to control the play for significant spells. Hopefully they can build on that tonight while limiting the defensive miscues and penalties taken. [more…]
The hungover defending Stanley Cup champs won only four games in the first month of the season, and two of them came against the Leafs. Now, the Bears have woken up out of their post-Cup win hibernation and only the Leafs stand between them and a pretty much perfect month of November. Aside from one shootout loss to Detroit, the Boston Bruins have rattled off eleven wins in the month, and the once-last placed team in the Conference now have top spot in the Northeast Division (and beyond) well within their sights. The Bruins trail the Leafs by a point and have two games in hand.
The Bruins have certainly had the Leafs' number so far this season, beating them by a collective 13-2 score over two outings, but the Leafs look to be an improved team as well since their Oct. 20 and Nov. 5 meetings. Both of those games came in the midst of a goaltending crisis, when Gustavsson and Scrivens were struggling to put a claim on the net in Reimer's absence. Four straight wins for a more composed looking Gustavsson has somewhat eased those concerns as we await Reimer's return to the crease. [more…]
Update: per Jonas Siegel, Aulie is in for Gunnarsson. Grabovski looks to be on the fourth line as Wilson keeps the MacArthur - Connolly - Kulemin line in tact.
The injury riddled Maple Leafs keep finding ways to grind out wins.
Reimer-less, Grabovski-less, Armstrong-less, Komisarek-less (is this good or bad now? I'm not sure), and for part of last game without first pairing defenceman Carl Gunnarsson and center David Steckel, the Leafs have won three of their last four as the organizational depth, and resolve, of the young club continues to shine through.
Tonight the Leafs are in Anaheim looking to wrap up a southern road swing on a high note; a three-game winning streak. It looked unspectacular, but to me their win against Dallas gave great reason for optimism. Dallas is a hard-working, bigger, physical team (they lead the NHL by a country mile in hits this season), the type of opponent the Leafs have struggled with a bit this season, and the Leafs found a way to win it. The Leafs aren't a group of softies by any means, nor are they the perfect archetype of Burkean truculence, but they seem to own a trait of perhaps greater importance - mental tenacity. [more…]
The Maple Leafs (12-8-2) and their opponent tonight, the Dallas Stars (13-8-0), have traveled similar [more…]
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to rebound from their first home loss in more than a month Tuesday night when they face a Toronto Maple Leafs team that hasn't scored in its last two visits to the St. Pete Times Forum.
Toronto has been stumbling of late and have be decimated by 7 injuries to their regular line-up. Good news on that frontâ€”James Reimer is expected to return later this week (reported elsewhere, not in that article) and Clarke McArthur is dressed to play against the Lighting.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been red-hot at home this season with a 6-2-0 record and the Leafs have been mediocre on the road with a 5-5-0 and have a 4-5-1 record in their last 10 games.
Phil Kessel will look to distance himself from the rest of the pack in the scoring and points race tonight. He has 4 goals, 2 assists in the last 5 games.Â After a slow start (for him), Steve Stamkos has started to find his touch around the net and has 5 points in his last 5 games. [more…]
We're at the quarter pole of the NHL season, and the Leafs are tied for first in the Northeast Division. They own the most productive offensive duo in the league in Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul, who after huge games last night are 1st and 3rd in NHL scoring with 27 and 24 points respectively. Three powerplay goals last night in their 7-1 rout over Washington, extending their powerplay production streak to three games, brings the Leafs' PP up to sixth in the league at 20.5 percent. The PK is killing at 89 percent in the last eight games. It's been an up and down ride through 20 games, to say the least, but these are accomplishments, or improvements, to take pride in. But the Leafs can't afford to reflect on and enjoyÂ any of that, or their best performance of the season last night, as amazingly just four points separates them from last in their division, and 12th in the East. Besides, they're in Carolina this afternoon for their second game in less than 24 hours.
There has yet to be a confirmed starter reported, though Ron Wilson indicated we would see Scrivens and Gustavsson split the starts before the weekend. Splitting the goalie starts in a back to back situation would be standard protocol for most teams, but there's an argument to made for allowing Gustavsson to try to build off his 40-save performance last night. It's a decision that is likely to get overscrutinized either way (Update: Scrivens will start as planned, according to James Mirtle). [more…]
The Toronto Maple Leafs have called up top prospect Joe Colborne and he is expected to make his season debut tonight against the Washington Capitals. The "Paperboy" (as nicknamed by his teammates - because he looks twelve and always delivers) had gotten off to a torrid start in the AHL with 19 points in 12 games played before sitting out a handful of games to injury. He is expected to skate alongside Joey Crabb, with whom he demonstrated plenty of chemistry while on the Marlies' top line, and David Steckel. The trio should be able to generate a strong cycle game down low.
Per NHL. com, "Last 10: Washington 3-6-1; Toronto 4-5-1
This is the first meeting of the season. The Capitals won three of four against the Maple Leafs last season, but three of the four contests went to a shootout.Â Two teams going in the wrong direction after great starts meet up for a Hockey Night in Canada clash.
The Toronto Maple Leafs make just their fourth-ever trip Bridgestone Arena tonight â€“ the fewest of any of the NHLâ€™s 29 other teams. It is also just the fourth overall meeting between the Predators and Leafs in the last six seasons. The Predators hold a 6-5-(1)-0 record against the Leafs in their 13-season history, including a 2-1-0 mark at Bridgestone Arena.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are going on the road with a patched up lineup. As if that isn't bad enough we're in the midst of a 1-3-1 slide, and have to attempt to snap out of our recent funk without two of our top-six forwards. The Leafs will be forced to face the Predators without Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski, who were both injured during Tuesday night's 3-2 shootout loss to Phoenix at the Air Canada Centre.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be looking to get back on track tonight as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes at home. It will be the only meeting with the Coyotes this season and the Leafs will be in tough. Last season, Phoenix handily beat Toronto 5-1 at home, a game which you might remember more for Mike Brown's controversial hit on Ed Jovanovski.
This is the second game of Phoenix's five game road trip and they are already 4-1-1 on the road, making this no easy task for the Buds. The Coyotes shutout San Jose on Saturday to kick off this road trip.
For Toronto, Ben Scrivens gets the start after playing a solid game on Saturday night despite taking the loss. This comes amidst rumours that the Leafs have been in contact with Marty Turco, so the pressure will be dialed up tonight on the young Scrivens. [more…]
The Maple Leafs will honour Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour and Joe Nieuwendyk prior to puckdrop tonight, as the trio will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. The name Doug Gilmour speaks for itself in this city, and while perhaps better known as a Chicago Blackhawk, Dallas Star, or Calgary Flame respectively, the other two also gave the Toronto faithful some special moments, particularly for the younger generation of Leafs fans whose best playoff memories involve names like Ed Belfour and Joe Nieuwendyk. It should be an electric atmosphere in the ACC prior to puck drop; let's hope the home side can feed off of the energy on this special Hockey Night in Canada. [more…]
Yesterday's worrying story from The Star's Dave Feschuk on James Reimer's history of head injuries has been somewhat put to rest in a TSN article tonight. In a story posted around 6:30 p.m., agent Ray Petkau called the injury history overblown, and the word is that Reimer has not experienced a headache in a number of days. Petkau expects Reimer to return to the ice "soon," and while a specific time table still remains ambiguous, it's somewhat reassuring after a few days of panicked calls for Burke to acquire goaltending help.
The Leafs are turning back to Ben Scrivens in the meantime, as the 25 year old will start his third NHL game tonight in St. Louis. Solid, if unspectacular goaltending (i.e. without the weak, team-deflating goals) would be extremely useful at this stage as Burke is not in an advantageous bargaining position, nor do we want to rush Reimer back. A steely performance against the Blue Jackets gave way to part games against the Bruins and Panthers in which he looked more like a goalie with only 43 AHL games to his name. The Bruins game was a bit of a write off, and he came into cold against the Panthers, so we can always hope. [more…]
The Leafs host the Panthers tonight in what will be labeled a good test of character after Saturday's debacle against Boston. Teams (even good ones) lose two games in a row all the time, but coming off a 7-0 licking in their own barn we'll expect a much better effort and "compete level" out of the team tonight. Interviews with the players called the game a lesson in what happens when they sit back and don't take their game to the opposition. The Bruins for their part did a good job preventing that with a strong trap game to which the Leafs had no answer.
It has been a point of particular emphasis from Ron Wilson to respond to losses with urgency in order to avoid the type of extended losing slump that killed the Leafs' playoff hopes last November, and so far this season the Leafs have not lost twice in a row. They'll look to keep it that way tonight against the Panthers, who after an off-season of lavish spending seem like an at least marginally improved team, sitting at 6-4-3 a month into the 2011-12 campaign. They're coming off three straight shootout loses headed into tonight, but do have points in six of their last seven.