The Ducks sound prepared for a Leafs team identity they've been trying to stray away from under new interim coach Peter Horachek.
"They get us into a horse race, and they're better at that game than we are. Sometimes you get caught playing the other team's game, and it seems to be happening to us. We're more about getting it deep, grinding it out, and attacking the nets and playing good defensively.
That's been the flummoxing paradox with this Leafs team the past few seasons; if they can draw the other team into playing the track-meet, borderline-pond-hockey brand of game they excel...
Tonight, the Leafs play an Anaheim team they've found some recent success against by playing the firewagon brand of hockey they've started to rein in under Peter Horachek.
It'll be interesting to see which way this game goes tonight.
Anthony Petrielli: Leafs Notebook - What changes has Horachek implemented? Video analysis + the Leafs Notebook (MLHS)
Evan Dorey: Game 43 Scoring Chances - Kings 2 vs. Leafs 0, scoring chances not as close as the shot clock (MLHS)
Maple Leafs Hot Stove: Randy Horachek after practice - January 13 (MLHS)
Jonas Siegel: The Leafs are breaking habits, flipping styles (TSN)
James Mirtle: Is William Nylander ready for...
The Maple Leafs' West Coast trip got off to a poor start, as they had a bad first period, falling behind in the opening minute and getting out-chanced 9-4 in the opening 20.
LA continued to play well in the first half of the second, and come the halfway point of the game they were up 15-4 in ES Chances. Toronto managed to pull things back in the second half of the game, as they pushed for an equalizing goal. They out-chanced the Kings 10-4 at ES in the last thirty minutes, but could never find the breakthrough that would...
The Maple Leafs made one crucial misstep by being asleep to start the game, and ultimately paid for it in a hard-fought and tightly-contested game against the Cup champs on the road.
While the Leafs’ first shift was inexcusable and they were largely pushed around in the opening period, they have certainly won games where they’ve played much worse. The Leafs stuck to the gameplan after the early goal against and slowly found their footing in the game, dictating possession in the second half. There were a couple of doorstep chances for JvR and Panik in the third period, but...
The Maple Leafs look to keep building on the positive possession performances of the past two games against one of the best teams in the League at possessing the puck.
The Kings have recently been dealt a blow with the losses of 2013-14 emergents Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli to injury, and are losers of four of their last five, three in overtime or shootout. The Kings have played a tonne of tight games, going to overtime or shootout 12 times so far this season, and have lost 10 of those games (1-6 in shootout, 1-4 in overtime).
If the Leafs...
It's probably what the Leafs really wanted from the beginning of the season, with a good opportunity to keep their prized new prospect playing in Toronto under the tutelage of their development staff.
That the SHL season is going so poorly for MoDo, including the recent dismissal of their head coach, seems to have given them a second chance to get William Nylander over to Toronto this season. Or maybe it was the plan all along.
Regardless, if the Leafs feel it's possible Nylander could take the leap into the NHL next Fall, this seems like an important first step; getting him over for a...
Leafs Scoring Chance Tracking – Halfway point - MLHS
Game Review: Game #43, Toronto Maple Leafs 5 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets 2 - MLHS
Game 42 Scoring Chances: Maple Leafs 5 vs. Blue Jackets 2 - MLHS
Game in 12 – Leafs 5, Blue Jackets 2 - MLHS
Peter Horachek – Blue Jackets Post-Game - MLHS
Darryl Belfry – Macko and Cauz – Jan.9 - MLHS
Brendan Shanahan Media Address – January 9 - MLHS
Rumors II: Oilers, Hurricanes, Leafs, Kings, Coyotes and Avs - MyNhlTradeRumours
Ferraro: Leafs need to surround Kessel with better talent - TSN
Leafs’ Phil Kessel makes NHL all-star cut - TheStar
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect report: January - Sportsnet
This was more like the game fans were picturing following a coaching change.
Despite Franson and Phaneuf (falling over) teaming up for an early blunder leading to a Ryan Johansen breakaway goal out of nothing, the Leafs shook it off; an early bit of bad news going against a fragile team can sometimes end ugly, but the Leafs didn't respond like a team mired in turmoil.
A bounce going the right way can be a great relief for a team tightly gripping the sticks, and the Leafs got one off a centering pass from Tyler Bozak that went in off a skate. From...
The Toronto Maple Leafs had their first victory in the post-Carlyle era, as a great opening period powered them past the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In that twenty minutes, they went out to a 4-1 lead that they never seriously looked like relinquishing. Toronto were even with the Blue Jackets in ES chances in the period, but got a pair of power-play goals and another off a Columbus leg to earn that lead. Despite trailing, the Blue Jackets were only even with the Leafs in chances the rest of the way, and couldn't get closer than a two goal deficit.
Reasonably happy with the team's possession performance versus the Capitals, Peter Horachek's message will be to stick with it while cracking down on some of the avoidable errors of last game. The Leafs will also need a bounceback performance from Jonathan Bernier, who let in 5 on 25 shots.
The Blue Jackets enter as winners of 4 of their last 5. The Blue Jackets are a heavy team who embarrassed the Leafs a few times last season; the Leafs won their most recent Oct. 31 meeting against a Columbus team facing overwhelming injuries. They're still missing some key contributors (Horton, Jenner, Anisimov),...
Last night was a good reality check for anybody expecting an instant turnaround with Randy Carlyle gone, but there were also a few positives.
The Leafs appeared to carry a slight edge in play in all three periods, and the numbers agree – Toronto had a couple more shot attempts per period. Peter Horachek mentioned after the game that there have been some nights when the team has allowed 40+ shots and over 25 scoring chances; last night he had the team down for allowing only 12 scoring chances on 26 shots against.
The effort was there, the Leafs just made...