Happy New Year's, everybody.
Randy Carlyle's favourite top line is back in business for reasons unknown.
Toronto Maple Leafs Projected Lineup
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
(16-18-34) - (13-17-30) - (17-22-39) (46G, 103PTS TOT)
Daniel Winnik - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
(1-13-14) - (11-13-24) - (9-8-17) (21G, 55PTS TOT)
Leo Komarov - Peter Holland - Mike Santorelli
(4-12-16) - (8-7-15) - (8-16-24) (20G, 55PTS TOT)
David Booth - Trevor Smith - David Clarkson
(1-1-2) - (0-2-2) - (9-4-13) (10G, 17PTS TOT)
Dion Phaneuf - Cody Franson
(2-17-19) - (5-17-22) (7G, 41PTS TOT)
Jake Gardiner - Roman Polak
(2-7-9) - (4-2-6) (6G, 15PTS TOT)
Morgan Rielly - Stephane Robidas
This game might come as a shock to fans who decided to pick up Leaf fandom for the first time during the recent 10-1-1 hot streak; a stretch of five losses in six games might even seem like the type of blip that most teams have to play through at some point in the 82-game grind.
For Leafs fans with a memory, it was as predictable as it was depressing to watch. Over the past three seasons, fans and pundits have often wondered who the real Leafs are -- the group that collapses catastrophically or the one that goes on the tantalizing,...
The second half of Toronto's trip to Florida saw the Leafs have a solid start, given they were playing a back-to-back.
They were narrowly out-chanced in the first ten minutes, but in a familiar story, led 2-0. Tampa rallied from that deficit, getting a resounding thirteen of the next fourteen chances and getting level on the scoreboard. With the game tied, Toronto found their game again, and finished near even in chances for the period. Things fell apart in the final frame, as Tampa Bay out-chanced the Leafs 7-2 in the lead-up to Stamkos' go-ahead goal. Toronto managed only three...
The Maple Leafs look to stop the bleeding defensively tonight in a meeting of the League's two highest scoring teams.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to be a game time decision with his flu illness. James Reimer will start his second game in as many nights if Bernier still isn't up to it.
Potentially without their starting goalie and haemorrhaging shots against at the moment, more of the same from the Leafs defensively is a very frightening prospect against a team of Tampa's offensive ability. Will the fear of Stamkos knock some sense into the Leafs and force them to tighten up defensively? It...
The Leafs got lit up for six goals by a poor offensive team again last night, one of a few frustrating themes of their 2014-15 season so far. Conceding six to Florida comes on the heels of high-scoring losses to the Flyers, Hurricanes, Devils, and the Predators and Sabres back in November.
And it’s not particularly surprising when you consider the Leafs haven’t outplayed anybody in quite some time. The Leafs dance on a knife’s edge and they’re always one average – not even bad – night from their goaltender away from giving up a whack of goals to any team...
Toronto's return to action after the holidays was wild, with a back-and-forth game in Florida.
There actually weren't a lot of scoring chances (from the home plate area) in the game, but the goals came fast and furious. The two teams were fairly even in the first, neither doing much at even strength; the chances came on the powerplay. Florida then came out strong in the second, out-chancing the Leafs 9-2, despite a goal from Richard Panik that put Toronto ahead. The Leafs found their game in the second half of the period, getting seven of the last eight chances....
This will be the third week in a row with a Sunday game for the Maple Leafs, something we should probably get used to as Rogers pushes their new Hometown Hockey Sunday night program (with poor ratings results for non-Leaf games, so far).
In terms of lineup news, Christopher Gibson has been recalled to play backup to James Reimer as Jonathan Bernier is suffering from the flu and can't go.
The Leafs also placed Leo Komarov on the 7-day injured reserve to make space for the Gibson recall, which means Komarov is still a minimum of a week away from...
With the Christmas break in the rearview, a Sunday matinee versus the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida kicks off a furious five-games-in-7-days stretch for the Maple Leafs, all on the road. The Leafs had a hard time against the Panthers last season, losing three of four meetings.
Good news on Komarov and more in the Leaf Links.
Ian Dudgeon: Maple Leafs Prospect Rankings - End of 2014 (MLHS)
Rob Longley: Full practice for Leo Komarov (Toronto Sun)
Jonas Siegel: Komarov practices in full but not yet cleared for contact (Twitter)
George Richards: Florida Panthers suddenly rich at forward (Miami Herald)
Ryan Dadoun: PHT's Top 14...
Enjoy your day, ladies and gentleman.
Leafs prospects Gauthier and Nylander face different tests at world juniors
Drafted players by country for the 2015 World Juniors
Florida Panthers coming off hot streak ahead of matchup against Leafs
Rumors II: Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Stars, Kings and Draisaitl
David 'Shoaltsie' Shoalts: A Caledon man in the heart of Leafs Nation
Nominations For Shaky Hunt Toronto Sports Media MSM Of The Year
Moneyball for hockey: How Guelph's HockeyTech is changing the game
From all of us here at MLHS, have a safe and happy holiday.
Anthony Petrielli: What Does the Future Hold for Jake Gardiner? (MLHS)
Evan Dorey: Game 35 Scoring Chances: Leafs 4 vs. Stars 0 (MLHS)
Jonas Siegel: New look duo (and Bernier) helps Leafs to victory in Big D (TSN)
JP Nikota: Game Recap - Leafs Down Stars 4-0 (PPP)
MLHS: Randy Carlyle Post Game - Leafs 4 vs. Stars 0 (Video)
Travis Yost: Maple Leafs in the abyss between contender and pretender (TSN)
Michael Langlois: Maple Leafs head into break with a win over Dallas (VLM)
Kevin McGran: Life on the road gives Leafs...
With their long road trip in full swing, the Leafs got an important victory in their last pre-Christmas game, shutting out the Stars in Dallas.
Toronto did well in the first half of the game, finishing the opening period even in chances and ahead 1-0, and then dominating the first 15 minutes of the second, carrying the play and earning two more goals. After that, Dallas controlled the game, getting the bulk of the chances and putting Toronto under pressure. This mostly came at the end of each period; Dallas out-chanced the Leafs by a 6-1 margin in the last...
Two teams that can score but can't defend to save their lives will meet tonight in Texas prior to the NHL Christmas break.
The Leafs are losers of three in a row while the Stars are surging with four straight victories, including a sweep through Western Canada. Dallas tightened up their defensive game versus Vancouver and Calgary, allowing just one goal between the two games, before giving up five to the Oilers and staging a huge comeback to win it in a shootout. They're last in the league in goals-against at 3.38/game.
The Leafs haven't left Dallas with a win in their...
Dallas is currently the worst defensive team in the NHL, averaging 3.38 goals against per game. The Leafs, still the league's highest scoring team, have a good opportunity tonight to bounce back after getting shutout in Chicago on Sunday. However, the Stars are surging (four in a row), and with the Leafs struggling defensively themselves, it's hard not to picture this going the way of a Texas shootout.
David Johnson: Optimizing the Leafs Forward Lines (MLHS)
Jonas Siegel: Leo Komarov won't be seen again until January at earliest (Twitter)
Jonas Siegel: Carlyle's embracing analytics, Kessel's best year (TSN)
TSN1050: Steve Spott on Kessel, Leafs' challenges playing...
In the game day thread before the Carolina game, we talked about how, in March of 2014, the Leafs were on a red-hot streak that included wins over the Kings and Ducks right before they played a weaker Eastern Conference opponent (Washington), lost, and began a long losing streak.
They had won a few games they shouldn’t have, and sure enough it caught up to them and then some; they went from the hottest team in the League to ice cold, and we all know how the season ended.
The slump is only at three games at this point, the panic button...
From 2015 World Junior Championship pretournament exhibition action: William Nylander, after picking up an assist on Sweden's first goal, draws a penalty shot with his speed and subsequently buries a beautiful backhand shot.