The Maple Leafs take on the Blackhawks in a quick turnaround following an embarrassing defensive effort last night against Philadelphia.
It's the second weekend in a row where the Leafs play Saturday-Sunday, with the second game of the back to back coming against two tough Western opponents/recent Cup champs. The Leafs have dealt with back to backs very well so far this season, going 5-1-1 in the second game, including a 3-2 win over these Blackhawks at the beginning of November.
Indeed, it has been the games where we go in thinking "this is going to be tough" that the Leafs seem to...
Toronto had a familiar start to the game, as they were even in chances early, but managed a pair of goals to take the lead.
Things took a quick turn for the worse after that, as Philadelphia dominated the last twelve minutes of the period, winning the chances 9-2 and scoring three goals, leaving the Leafs somewhat fortunate to be tied after the first twenty minutes. Despite giving up two goals, the Leafs were actually fine at ES in the second period, with Philadelphia getting most of its chances with the extra man. The third was the real disappointment, as...
The Philadelphia Flyers face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what will be the last game of a long home stand for Toronto. They have a back-to-back, on the road, against a borderline dynasty—Chicago—tomorrow, starting a heavy road schedule against some very good teams.
The Leafs could use the points in the bank before the gruelling road trip starts, but the easy points have been anything but for this team this season, with a combined 5-7-2 record against below .500 teams.
The state of the Flyers D and goaltending situation (Steve Mason is out hurt) should have the high-scoring Leafs' eyes...
The Philadelphia Flyers are in town to take on the Maple Leafs, in what will be the last of a long home stand for the Leafs, who are vacating the ACC for the World Junior Championships.
Nazem Kadri: Is he a 1C? - Domenic Galamini
Leafs' Dion Phaneuf quietly putting together strong season: DiManno Star
Leafs' Gardiner may be odd man out vs Flyers Sportsnet
'Very erratic': Leafs' Carlyle on Gardiner's play Sun
Long road ahead for Maple Leafs Sun
Carter Ashton joins Marlies on conditioning stint Sun
Maple Leafs patient with William Nylander Sun
Leafs' Gardiner still under construction Sun
Mason injured at Flyers practice The Mercury
It’s not a particularly shocking revelation: The Leafs have enough talent to beat any team in this League, but they can be made to look awful by much less talented teams if they think talent alone is going to be enough on any given night.
They're not the only team for which those rules apply, but Toronto's 14-3-2 record versus above-.500 teams compared to their 5-7-2 record versus below-.500 teams is quite the confounding incongruity.
A team like Carolina is entering this game with no illusions about where they stand or how they need to play to get a result; they’re in...
The opening period of tonight's game was similar to the Leafs' last road outing against Detroit. The difference was that the Hurricanes were able to take advantage of their dominance. They not only out-chanced Toronto 8-3 at ES, they finished the period up 2-0.
Toronto had some fightback early in the second, and while Carolina dominated the middle of the period, a late goal gave the Leafs some hope. Until the last five minutes, there wasn't much Toronto push in the final frame, as Carolina added a third goal, and held the chance advantage. Things turned around in the last...
The league's hottest team pays a visit to its coldest tonight in Carolina.
The two teams are riding opposite streaks, the Leafs winners of six straight and the Hurricanes losers of six consecutive.
With Alex Semin, Jiri Tlusty and Jordan Staal out hurt, the Hurricanes lineup looks positively destitute. Their leading scorer is defenceman Justin Faulk with 17 points.
The Leafs, currently scoring for fun; the top line has scored more than the Hurricanes' entire forward lineup combined. A combination of a lack of talent and a series of injuries to the talent the Hurricanes do have has them firmly in the McDavid sweepstakes...
The Leafs and Marlies are hoping Brandon Kozun will have cleared waivers by noon; the Leafs are in Carolina looking to extend their win streak to seven, a game they should win but could be a trap after some big wins over good teams; Roman Polak is expected to make his return to the lineup, with Korbinian Holzer likely going to the press box for the time being.
Mike Johnston: Brandon Kozun on waivers as Polak set to be activated off IR (Sportsnet)
Jonas Siegel: The heavy workload of Toronto's no. 1 is suiting Jonathan Bernier just fine (TSN)
James Mirtle: The five ways...
The opponent doesn’t seem to matter; no team has an answer for the Leafs’ four-line attack at the moment.
Tonight it was the League’s hottest team and owner of its best overall record rolling into town, and the Leafs lit them up for six goals.
Outplayed on the whole (didn't 'feel' as bad as the shot count, but the shot location chart below doesn't paint a pretty picture), the Leafs got the better goaltending and were certainly the more opportunistic team; boiled down, that’s been their basic formula when they’ve gotten hot in the past few seasons.
Two goals had a definitive...
While the score line was different, there was a lot similar between the Leafs' back-to-back wins against the teams from Southern California.
Much like Sunday, the Leafs went out to a 2-0 lead, despite being out-chanced in the first two periods, and, also just like that game, Anaheim responded with a goal late in the second, putting some pressure on Toronto. The Leafs showed some good resilience with another great third period; despite holding a lead, they were even in chances. Of course, the difference was that they turned four of those chances into goals, making the final score pretty lopsided.
The Ducks and Leafs -- both so hot right now. Something has to give tonight at the ACC.
The Maple Leafs played the Ducks well last season; they were able to put quite a few goals on the board as both of those games turned into contests of traded chances. The Leafs won both games in regulation by a combined score of 7-3.
Defenceman Ben Lovejoy remarked on the speed and skill of the Leafs and their ability to kill opponents in transition:
“They’re so fast, so skilled and we got away from our game and turned pucks over. And they were...
Toronto ends their home heavy schedule this Saturday (to make way for the World Juniors at the ACC) and begins a 7 game road trip starting Sunday vs the Chicago Blackhawks.
The red-hot Anaheim Ducks are in town tonight to take on the red-hot Maple Leafs, in what could be a great matchup.
Much has been made about the Maple Leafs possession woes this season. While being abhorrent last year, they are making ground on becoming a better possession team through better personnel and, most importantly, through better systemic process and tactics.
During a Saturday morning chat, Mike Babcock was asked about the...
Audio: Dave Nonis on Leafs Lunch, Dave Nonis with Jeff Blair (TSN, Sportsnet)
Anthony Petrielli: Why the first line needs to be broken up, Kadri’s nice season & more (MLHS)
David Johnson: JVR, PDO, and the Leafs Defence (MLHS)
Evan Dorey: Game #30 Scoring Chances: Leafs 4 vs. Kings 3 (MLHS)
Jonas Siegel: Leafs cap whirlwind month by defeating Cup champs (TSN)
Michael Traikos: Maple Leafs benefitting from the evolution of Nazem Kadri (National Post)
Thomas Drance: Maple Leafs' William Nylander guilty of water bottle cruelty (The Score)
Kyle Cicerella: Leaf prospect Connor Brown playing above his rookie status (Kyle The Reporter)
Michael Langlois: On a...
With a minute left in the second period against the Los Angeles Kings, a familiar sight for Toronto Maple Leaf fans was taking place as their top line was on the ice and hemmed in their own zone. The Kings would score that shift—albeit a weak goal—against the Leafs three worst possession players at that time in the game (James van Riemsdyk was the highest at 22CF%).
On their first shift of the third period, they got scored on again. For the night, they were the three worst possession forwards on the team. They also combined for two goals for.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis' current assessment of his club: "I think we have a good team, and not a great team. Great teams can have nights off and still win. That's not our group. We need to compete and execute if we're gonna have success."
Through the first half of this game, the Leafs looked in great shape, especially given it was the second half of a back-to-back; they had a 2-0 lead, and were roughly even with the defending Stanley Cup champions in chances.
They seemed to hit a wall late in the second, though, as the Kings generated six straight chances, including two goals. That continued in the third, with Los Angeles going into the lead, and it seemed like that might be it for Toronto's hopes in this game. However, instead of folding, the Maple Leafs showed some great resilience, as they...