Preview: Toronto Maple Leafs vs New York Islanders
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ first blowout loss of the season came at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets back on November 25, a game much like Saturday night’s in that the team was plainly outworked from puck drop. After getting booed off the ice, the Maple Leafs were probably happy to take to the road for the three games afterward. Booed after each period en route to a 7-1 loss to the Rangers and apologizing after the game on Saturday, the Leafs won’t get the same reprieve tonight. With a tenuous hold...
With the HBO 24/7 sideshow and the 2014 Winter Classic spectacle now behind them, the Toronto Maple Leafs look to continue a three-game winning streak versus the New York Rangers.
Jonathan Bernier will start his fifth game in a row for the first time in his career, and for the first time for either Leaf goaltender this season. He turned aside 39 of 40 shots against the Rangers in a shootout loss prior to the Christmas break. This has been a convincing stretch from Bernier, one that will be tough to recover from as far as Reimer is concerned....
It's been a year and a half of a build up for the 2014 Winter Classic. The NHL lockout prevented the winter classic for happening January 1, 2013, and now a year later, the event being dubbed as "The Biggest Hockey Game Of All Time" is going to take place today, weather permitted.
HBO 24/7 has been documenting two teams: the Detroit Red Wings, who have been struggling with injury and consistency problems and, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have been struggling with injury and consistency problems.
Toronto recently had Tyler Bozak return to the lineup versus the Carolina Hurricanes and...
Part 2 of the 2014 Winter Classic Alumni game shows both team's best lineups (save for the Maple Leafs' Sundin, who is recovering for Surgery). The lineups for both teams are stacked with Hall of Fame talent, and many Stanley Cup Winners. Toronto's lineup, unsurprisingly, contains a lot truculence (that can play).
Enjoy the game.
Live Stream for 2014 Winter Classic Alumni Game
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013
Time: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET
Where: Michigan Stadium ("The Big House"), Ann Arbor, Michigan / Comerica Park
TV: CBC, NBC
It's taken a year and a half, but the Winter Classic is finally a go. Game 1 of the 2014 Winter Classic takes place today at 1pm and will have the weaker of the two rosters in this Alumni Game.
GDT: 2014 Winter Classic: Alumni Game 2 Thread Here
Pregame coles notes:
- 3 regulation wins in the last 25 games for the Leafs. That has to change tonight.
- Jonathan Bernier starts for the Leafs after stopping 39 of 40 shots vs. the Rangers.
- No real changes to the lineup from Monday's loss to the Rangers: Paul Ranger stays in beside Morgan Rielly, Liles and Fraser sit.
- Randy Carlyle says he likes the strength and "power" to Ranger's game, meaning "Power Ranger" can now be a thing.
- No Cody Hodgson for the Sabres, who is out for another couple of weeks after hurting himself blocking a shot.
- Ryan Miller...
Troy Bodie has been sent down to the Marlies. Colton Orr returns. Jonathan Bernier starts.
Paul Ranger is expected to step in for John Michael Liles (not confirmed).
Will it be two points in our stockings or a lump of coal? GO LEAFS GO.
While the Leafs did well to battle back and take a 4-3 lead in their eventual shootout loss to Detroit on Saturday, once again they failed to shut down a game when they needed to.
I went back and counted up the number of times the Leafs have forfeited a third period lead. Here's the list:
Those are some valuable points the Leafs won't get back. The only reason the Leafs aren’t out of a playoff position right now is because they’re competent in the shootout, but the lack of ROW could hurt them down the road, too, in terms of...
The Maple Leafs enter this game trailing the Red Wings for third place in the Division (remember - the funny new format means top 3 teams from each division make the playoffs) by just two points. The teams are both middle of the pack-ish in goals for and against. Both teams have been plodding along on the wrong side of .500 the last 10 games.
One area where the Red Wings have remained formidable is on the road, where they're 10-3-3 this season.
9 of the Red Wings' 41 points have come in losing efforts (most in the league). For the...
Burn the Yotes!
James Reimer is the "likely" starter in net after calling his team out following the Florida loss. Reimer had been in net for two consecutive back to back situations where his team came out completely flat. Hopefully he gets a better effort in front of him tonight.
11-15-3 since their 6-1 start, 10 losses in their last 13.. it may not be time to panic yet, with the Leafs still tight to Detroit for third in the division, two games coming up against the Red Wings in the next six games, and 45 games still left on the schedule.
But the urgency and concern was manifest in some the quotes aired in the dressing room after the Florida loss. While the vote of confidence "kiss of death" came from Dave Nonis yesterday, Carlyle does have the benefit of the doubt with the injury factor and a playoff...
There is talk Jonathan Bernier will start tonight, which doesn’t make any sense.
It would be five starts out of six for Bernier and in a back to back to boot - note: Bernier was also officially credited with the St. Louis loss - meaning Bernier would be the first of the two to get an extended run of starts for no reason related to actual performance.
Bernier has been below .900 in 7 of his last 10 games. Reimer won his last full game in a shootout after facing 50 shots against Ottawa. SItting him out in a back to...
A great win over the League champs can quickly be forgotten if the Leafs don't take it as a turnaround point amid a poor December. They're now through the toughest part of their schedule and have to get back to accumulating points with 15 of their next 16 games against Eastern opponents.
The top 4 of this Penguins team's defence has been decimated (i.e. entirely eliminated) by injuries (Martin, Letang, Orpik, Scuderi), and their fifth D, Derek Engelland, is waiting to be suspended. James Neal is suspended, as well. Evgeni Malkin is out after crashing into the boards leg first...
The Leafs have recalled Troy Bodie to play in wake of the David Clarkson two-game suspension. Whatever.
One liner of the day goes to Lescott: "Doesn't matter anyway, forechecking the Hawks is like a cat chasing a laser pointer."
Here we go.
Jonathan Bernier starts for the Leafs. Morgan Rielly is expected to play.
Who was that team in Blue and White last night?
A team in Leafs jerseys was getting out of its end efficiently. Moving up the ice together as a unit. Using fast legs to forecheck and sustain a cycle.
What explains the Leafs, a poor possession team and brutally outshot for much of the season, suddenly outpossessing and handily outshooting one of the best possession teams in the NHL? The NHL betting wasn't in their favour.
Check out the NHL shot chart, especially in the prime scoring area:
Leafs/Kings Shot Location Data
It could partially be the team getting a kick in the...
Deep breaths, everyone. No Dion Phaneuf and the 20-7-4 Los Angeles Kings are coming into town.
The Kings are a heavy forechecking team and are going to seal the boards on the Leafs all night. The key to beating a good forecheck is going to be quick puck movement, effective use of the D to D pass, and available forward support on the breakout. Without that, this Kings team will hem the Leafs in with sustained zone time, bring fresh legs into the cycle, and grind them down all night. Blowout win over the Canadiens last night aside, the Kings...
The opposite of the typical Leaf game from earlier in the season. A decent even-strength performance by the Leafs, but the game was lost on special teams and an uncharacteristic bad goal on the Leaf netminder. The Leafs again played the Bruins pretty even, but can't find a way to beat this team.
1 - An excellent opening period of hockey from the Leafs. Toronto came out with a better energy level in the back to back situation than the Bruins, and outworked them for much of the period.
2 - Jake Gardiner continues to make good things happen, jumping up...