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.

0

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...

0

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. It...

0

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...

0

With the chance to flip Wednesday night’s script, the Maple Leafs showed some killer instinct by outplaying a tired Wings team. Even a hot goalie in Petr Mrazek couldn’t replicate James Reimer's herculean midweek effort, however, unable to keep his team hanging around in this one as the Leafs, now the highest scoring team on a per game basis through 29 games, showed off their scoring depth by attacking the Wings relentlessly from the second period onward especially. The first period was split fairly evenly, with the Leafs carrying the play for the first half and the Wings coming to life in...

0

Over the last couple of seasons, these types of games from the Leafs have been rare; they were the better team and carried the play against Detroit. This season, they've been much more common, a testament to the improved depth and better possession play Toronto has had so far. The Leafs came out strong, having the better of the first half of the opening frame, but Detroit got back into it, levelling the score and finishing the period near even on chances. Unsurprisingly, Toronto had a great second period, as they've done all year, doubling up the Wings in chances,...

0

The Leafs deserved to lose this game 4 or 5 to 1. Enter James Reimer. In somewhat of a thrown-to-the-wolves situation, low on game reps and playing in a back to back against a scorching hot Detroit team, Reimer responded to adversity as he often has in his time in Blue and White – admirably. By the possession numbers, this is the third-worst margin a team has been outplayed by in 419 NHL games so far this season. It’s not like the Leafs were leading early, either. They owned just 26% of possession while trailing or tied for the full 65 minutes,...

0

The Toronto Maple Leafs had one of the worst chance performances I've seen, almost as bad as the game that Buffalo played against them in October. Toronto were out-chanced 19-3 at ES after two periods, and had absolutely no business being in the game at all, let alone being down by just one. For that, they had to thank the excellent performance of James Reimer, who held off Detroit's challenges. They also had a strong penalty killing game, which has become a regular occurrence. The third period was better, and Toronto managed to get level through Kessel, but even then...

0

If you're Randy Carlyle, in terms of process, you're probably only really happy with the middle 20 minutes in this game (and of course Jonathan Bernier's performance). That sounds bizarre after a 4-1 win, but there were two empty netters, and Calgary had the shot attempt edge at even strength from start to finish, opening up a gap of 77-51 by the end of the game due to score effects. Toronto was fortunate to come out with a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes, outplayed by a slight edge in the opening period, but did follow that up with a good second...

0

If you've been following my scoring chance wrap-ups, there's a lot familiar in the story of tonight's game. The Leafs managed to take the lead in the first period, despite being clearly out-chanced, then had a strong second period, in which they consolidated their lead. That was followed by a third period where Calgary again dictated play, and while they got one goal back, Jonathan Bernier managed to keep the Leafs ahead. Through the first two periods, the chances were fairly close, Calgary having a slim lead. Toronto's third period defence wasn't that bad, as they held Calgary to just two...

0

Games like these are tough to judge (i.e. tough to write about). There’s the game that saw the Leafs build a 4-0 lead over one of the League's best teams (particularly on the road) through 27 games. Then, there’s the game that transpired in the final 35 minutes wherein the Leafs were outshot 34-16 and were lucky (two posts in the span of five seconds on the penalty kill with the score at 4-2) not to find themselves in a one-goal game with a healthy amount of time left on the clock. The Leafs’ first 25 minutes were excellent. The Canucks have...

0

A decrepit and depleted Devils squad trotting into the Air Canada Centre with the Leafs on a roll? A classic trap game that ended in a 5-3 loss for the home team. The state of the Devils coming into this one was almost comical. Elias, Jagr and Larsson injured. Schneider set to play 80 games this season. Dainus Zubrus mistakenly laying the body on Damien Brunner. It's likely these thoughts were also humouring the de facto top line in Toronto as Kessel, Bozak and JVR never truly got into this game. With Bozak and co. hemmed into their own end 4...

0

Toronto had a bad start against a short-handed Devils team, falling behind 8-4 in ES Chances, and 1-0 on the scoreboard. However, they seemed to recover after that, finishing the first period level in ES chances, and twice managed to tie the game up in the second. They struggled in the third, though, with the Devils managing to defend well, and opening up a three goal lead. Toronto had one strong ES shift in the third, but other than that generated little in their attempt to chase down the lead. The ES numbers ended up close, but the Leafs losing...

0

The high-scoring Maple Leafs won a game over a reeling opponent in mostly-convincing fashion, extending their points streak to five games and improving their record to a solid 13-8-2. The way Dallas is playing has to be close to giving Lindy Ruff a coronary: Cheating for offense, undisciplined, losing a lot of their puck battles, heavily offense-first, and passive defensively and through neutral ice. There is a lot of skill on that roster, but they’re not playing anything close to sound hockey; more than a few people on Twitter remarked on their similarity to the 2013-14 Maple Leafs. They won’t...

0

The Leafs started December with another strong performance, which was similar to their game against the Capitals. The first period was even in chances at ES, but the Leafs took the lead with a pair of goals, including a very early one from the on-fire Tyler Bozak. A good second period, which has become a consistent thing for the Leafs, saw them extend the lead to 4-1, and they held on in the third for the win. The game was pretty much even at ES, but the Leafs were vastly superior on special teams, really limiting the Stars power-play, despite Dallas...

0

A point out of a visit with the league's best and highest-scoring team (15-4-2 with a +27 goal differential after this win) is something any team in the League will take, no questions asked. Especially if you spot them a 2-0 lead. The Leafs had yet another poor start, scored on in the first five minutes for the eighth time this season, with Morgan Rielly and Jonathan Bernier losing sight of the puck coming out from behind the net and Blake Comeau depositing his first of three goals on the night 27 seconds in. The Leafs could've put themselves in much better shape...

0

Toronto finished its season series with Pittsburgh, ending up clearly second-best in chances in all three games. In this one, though, they managed to earn a point after they scored three times in the second, as they responded well after falling behind 2-0. While the Leafs had the better of the scoring in the second, Pittsburgh still had more of the chances. The Leafs then played a tight third period, limiting Pittsburgh's chances and holding on to earn a point. The Leafs' ES Close numbers were really poor, as some of their better play came when they were down two in...

0

The Maple Leafs played a patient, disciplined game en route to a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. They were certainly out possessed in terms of zone time, but it didn't translate into a shots deficit (shots were 28-27 Leafs), which is a testament to some committed defensive play by the Leafs. The Leafs were disciplined in keeping a third man high and made the safe play more often than not on the half walls; you’d like to see the Leafs generate some more time in the right end of the rink, but bend but not break mantra would...

0

The Maple Leafs played a strong, low-chance game against a Red Wings team that dominated them in chances in two previous meetings. Toronto had more chances at ES than the Wings in the first and third periods, including the winning goal from Peter Holland, and for a second straight game, the Leafs did a good job defending their third period lead at even strength. Detroit did have the better of the game in the second period, but Toronto was able to limit them to one goal, and got out of the period tied. Pretty much an even game at ES, as there...

0

Win or lose, the Maple Leafs haven't done anything half way in the past couple of weeks. It goes without saying that this was a major improvement from Toronto. The Leafs transition game was much better than it was against Nashville, helped by some pretty loose play through neutral ice by Tampa Bay. To the Leafs credit, there was less cheating and the D were getting the puck into the forwards' hands a little quicker, enabling the Leafs to play a faster game overall (one of the Leafs' biggest issues is that they're a fast team that doesn't play like...

0

If the last eight days have taught us anything, it's that this is an inconsistent Leafs team. After a terrible performance against Nashville, they came back with a strong showing against the Lightning. Toronto dominated the first period, and were unfortunate to go into the intermission level after a shorthanded goal against. While the second was more even in chances, the Leafs managed to pull away thanks to JVR and a bad Tampa giveaway, and they held on to the lead in the third. Toronto's even strength defensive play in the final period was strong, but the Lightning did put...