Game Reviews

Game Reviews

Everything you need to know about last night's Leaf game is broken down into 10 cogent points of analysis by an MLHS writer within minutes of the final buzzer.

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This game was an abject waste of everybody’s time. On top of being one of the poorer-played games we’ve ever seen out of two NHL teams, the refs’ eagerness to call everything and anything made it a choppy, special-team-dominated affair. 18 minor penalties and one major penalty were assessed in sixty minutes of truly uninspiring hockey. The teams split 11 shots in the first period despite six penalties being assessed. The Maple Leafs won last night after allowing 38 shots on goal, and lost tonight after allowing just 17. The biggest positive after this eighth game of preseason: Just one more...

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The Maple Leafs moved to 4-1-1 in preseason with a game that followed an awfully familiar script: The Leafs' first line was dangerous in both ends. The Leafs gave up way too many shots, including 15 in 13 minutes in the 2nd period, and 38 overall.  Jonathan Bernier was the Leafs' 1st star. The Leafs won an unconvincing game in a shootout. We won't hit the panic button until the results are similar with the full lineup, and system changes aren't learned and executed perfectly overnight, but the early signs could be more encouraging. A few other quick notes: David Booth left the game with a bruised foot from a shot block, but...

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The Toronto Maple Leafs still seem to be working through systemic issues, learning new defensive and neutral zone systems, but the shots against remain a red flag. Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres Player Notes Tyler Bozak - Had an up and down first game. Bozak had three points, but he also gave up the puck in the middle of the D zone leading to a goal, and had an opportunity to make a play on another puck during a different goal against (albeit, it was a tough play and bouncing puck). Was nice to see him producing without Kessel though, and he...

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A Leafs team that was short on energy after playing back to back and a veteran group short on effort gave the fans little to cheer about consistently. A fairly boring game—even by preseason standards. Player Notes: James van Riemsdyk - Very good game for JVR. Had a number of good chances, was trying unlike a lot of the team. Mike Santorelli - Another good showing for Santorelli. Even in back-to-back games, he kept his legs moving all night, was hard on pucks, showed some good hands and was a consistent performer. Phil Kessel - Certainly not a game he was challenged in....

Morgan Rielly

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The Sens' top line of Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur could do whatever they wanted against a weaker Leaf lineup, but the Leafs got pretty good goaltending and hung around despite a 35-22 shot count, skating to a 3-2 final. The Leafs made it mildly interesting in the final minute when Morgan Rielly scored with 30 seconds left, and Daniel Winnik nearly put an exclamation mark on a nice game by nearly tying it, hitting the post with a few seconds remaining. Some player notes: Morgan Rielly – Good game. Started with a nice rush in the first; followed it up...

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Thanks to a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Maple Leafs are now 2-0 in preseason. While that means exactly nothing, especially given this was the exact same Flyers lineup playing its second night in a row, we did get our first looks at William Nylander (rookie tourney notwithstanding), Mike Santorelli, Roman Polak and Henrik Tallinder. With five regular NHL defencemen in the lineup, it was good to see the Leafs gave their goaltenders just 14 shots of work through two periods, although Antoine Bibeau needed a 13-save effort to preserve the shutout in the third. We'll have to see what he...

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It was choppy (early)preseason hockey to be sure, but some players stood out for different reasons. The Maple Leafs played a good first, were mostly snowed under in the second – falling behind 2-0 – but battled back on goals from Nazem Kadri and Tom Nilsson (set up beautifully by Kadri). David Booth was the lone goal scorer in the shootout. Scattered thoughts: - Expect Petri Kontiola to get lots of ice this preseason, or the coaching staff would be wise to give him lots anyway, because it's clear he is experiencing an adjustment, perhaps moreso than any of the other bubble forwards....

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Game Highlights - Toronto 3 vs. Texas 1 Steve Spott Post Game Press Conference

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It was a must win for the Toronto Marlies, and the urgency and desperation was visible from puck drop. A much-needed tone-setting shift off the opening faceoff by Trevor Smith, Carter Ashton and Sam Carrick got the ball rolling for the Marlies in this one, as a hard forecheck followed by a cycle and penalty draw led to the first of three consecutive Spencer Abbott powerplay goals. On the ensuing powerplay, Abbott, stationed on the point, wristed one past Nilstorp with Josh Leivo playing screen, marking the 11th straight playoff game in which the Marlies have opened the scoring and Abbott's...

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TORONTO - After a big 5-1 win on Friday against the Texas Stars, the Toronto Marlies knew they had to improve on their 50-shots-against performance in game #2 on Monday night or else risk dropping their first game of the 2014 post season. The first period started well for Toronto. After a Texas turnover inside the Marlies blueline in a 4-on-4 situation, Jerry D'Amigo picked up the puck and went barrelling down the ice and snapped a quick wrist shot over the glove of Christopher Nilstorp for his fourth of the post-season and a 1-0 Marlie lead. The first period in...

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Drew’s the Glue: Heavily out-shot but not out-done, Marlies fly high in Texas TORONTO - On Friday night, the Toronto Marlies began their series with against the West’s best Texas Stars. The Stars and Marlies split the season series at 2-2 this season and all four games were great match ups. The Marlies entered Friday’s game with an impressive 7-0 record in the post-season, haven’t trailed for a second in those 7 games, and were looking to continue those impressive streaks. In the first period, Texas put pressure on fast and furious early but it was the Marlies who would again find...

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Back and forth game leaves Wolves grasping for their playoff lives TORONTO - On Wednesday night, the Toronto Marlies returned home for just their second home playoff game this post-season, game #3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals versus the Chicago Wolves. Toronto only played one home game in the opening round, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals to complete the three-game sweep. The Marlies have been dominant in the first two games of the series, taking 3-0 leads in the first period of both games one & two.  On Wednesday, the Marlies were looking to move one step closer to reaching the Western...

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Going home on a high note — Marlies hold off late Wolves surge, head home with 2-0 series lead TORONTO - On Saturday night the Toronto Marlies looked to once again make quick work of the Chicago Wolves in game #2 of the Western Conference Semi Final. Toronto defeated the Wolves by a score of 5-2 in the opening matchup on Friday night and also welcomed back Peter Holland and Spencer Abbott to the lineup. Abbott recorded two points (2A) while Holland chipped in with three points (1G 2A). In the first period the Marlies got on the board quick....

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Toronto Marlies open round two with a bang versus Chicago TORONTO - On Friday night the Toronto Marlies and the Chicago Wolves kicked off their round two Calder Cup matchup in Chicago. Toronto, coming off a long layoff after their 3-0 sweep over the Milwaukee Admirals, were looking to make sure that the Wolves bark was louder than their bite. Friday was also the first post-season game for both Spencer Abbott and Peter Holland. Abbott had been sidelined with an upper body injury since the beginning of April, while Holland missed the last few games of the regular season with a minor injury. In...

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TORONTO -  On Thursday night, the Toronto Marlies returned to Ricoh Coliseum with a chance to sweep the Milwaukee Admirals in front of the home town faithful. With the Maple Leafs out of the post-season, the Marlies have begun to draw support from Leafs Nation. On Thursday night, the sea of blue jerseys could be seen in the stands at Ricoh Coliseum and the fans most definitely got their money's worth. After a scoreless first period where the Marlies were outshot 11-8, the second is where they would strike. With both teams exchanging penalties in the middle frame, Toronto was the...

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TORONTO - Whether it's positive or negative, the Maple Leafs are consistently the talk of Toronto. The Toronto Marlies, often left behind in all the commotion, are now the centre of attention with the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs. On Saturday night, the Toronto Marlies gave their fans something to smile about. A tough matchup on paper against the Milwaukee Admirals was made to be just a fairytale by Toronto on Friday in game #1. The Marlies defeated the Admirals 6-2 on Friday and were looking to take a 2-0 series lead on Saturday night. The first period was a rough one...

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TORONTO - On Friday night the Toronto Marlies and Milwaukee Admirals dropped the puck on hockey's second season.  The North Division champion Toronto Marlies struggled towards the end of the season but we're able to end the year on a high note with a win against the Rochester Americans.  For the Marlies, the matchup versus the Admirals would be one that would test patience, hockey sense, and most importantly their discipline. In the first period Toronto struck first.  A fairly even period for the most part, the Marlies benefitted from a Milwaukee mis-communication.  With less than five minutes to play in...

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So ends the three-week nightmare that derailed a promising 2014 Leaf playoff bid. So begins weeks of soul searching while the real teams compete for the Cup in those playoff contests the Leafs teased us with last May. The Leafs finished up the year with a 38-36-8 for 84 points. They had 80 points 28 days ago with 14 games remaining. That's remarkable in a disgusting kind of way. The Maple Leafs didn’t even do a good job faking half an effort tonight. Pretty sure the team in White didn’t cross the red line in the first three minutes of...

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About that pre-game talk of pride and putting in a good effort for Drew MacIntyre in his first ever start... He’s not mad at himself, I don’t think. Worst yet, earlier in the period Nick Bjugstad trucked MacIntyre (wasn’t helped into the crease at all) and the Leafs stood around twiddling their thumbs. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VLmf_wBeaE&w=700&h=394] Outchanced 26-12 (by Leafs TV’s count) against the Florida Panthers. 37 shots against. Said Randy: “I thought there would’ve been a little more compassion for the goalie in our net... If that's all we have, we shouldn't be thinking too much of ourselves.” Go back to the Marlies and...

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning - TAMPA, FL - APRIL 8

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I mostly watched this one with my eyes half glazed over, dozing in and out of consciousness, with a smell of burnt toast lingering, symbolizing the end of the Randy Carlyle era (fell asleep with something in the toaster.. BOBBY!). This was a dead team skating, one not worthy of much analysis on this night. Phaneuf and Gleason together on a pairing looked about as we expected before the night (not good), while Carl Gunnarsson moving to the right side seemed to only exacerbate his recent struggles (he backed right off and didn't seem sure with his stick on the...