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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxtSyIs5g9c

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One of the ugliest displays I've seen from a Leaf team in a long time unfolded on Tuesday, as they were routed 9-2 by Nashville. The Predators dominated the first period, including a goal in the first two minutes. While the Leafs were able to limit the damage in the second, a late Nashville goal, followed up by two more in the first 90 seconds of the third, triggered a complete and utter collapse, as Nashville extended the lead to 8-0 with fifteen minutes still to play. It was one of those nights were the Leafs were not only outchanced, but...

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There’s no such thing as a good team that is inconsistent. The definition of a good team is one that is consistent. By extension, mediocre teams are inconsistent, and the Leafs are mediocre. Most people get that. But then there’s this: In a week where this team dominated the Bruins, scoring 6 goals and allowing 25 shots, they let in six to a truly awful team that’s been scoring 1.2 goals a game. If anyone can explain this, throw it in the comments. Shot Location Chart   Possession Chart

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There will be some debate after this win as to whether the Leafs were just that good or the Bruins were just that “off.” Zdeno Chara and David Krejci were out of the lineup and that’s a big factor, beyond a shadow of a doubt. On the flipside, Chara wasn’t in the lineup in the late October 4-1 Bruin win in Toronto. The Bruins weren’t playing anywhere near as good then as they have been recently, either; they were plugging along at .500 when they entered that game. The Bruins were 8-2-0 in their last 10 and riding a five-game winning...

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After losing out in their last game against Boston, Toronto came out strong last night, dominating the first ten minutes and getting a goal for their work. The game was even in chances after the first period, as Boston did well in the second half of the frame, although the Bruins still trailed. However, the Leafs broke it open in the first half of the second period, dominating play and scoring four goals in the ten minute stretch. They ended up taking the period 9-4 in ES chances. While Boston pulled the chance gap back in the third, it didn't...

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It was the first game the Maple Leafs have won without a Phil Kessel point this season. And it came in a five-goal game for the Maple Leafs. Depth contributions were the key in this, the Leafs’ eighth win over the Senators in their last nine meetings. The Maple Leafs got an important contribution out of their third and fourth lines in a back-to-back situation, along with goals from each of their top-6 lines en route to a 5-3 win. While the defensive play still makes it difficult to get too excited about this team, their forward depth is giving us legitimate hope they won’t...

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After playing a wild game with the Rangers last night, tonight's game, the makeup for the postponement from the 22nd, was another exciting and goal-filled affair. Unlike that game, though, the Leafs didn't have a major lull, as even as they fell behind three times in the first twenty-five minutes, the chances stayed pretty much even, and Toronto went into the final period even in chances and ahead on the scoreboard. While Ottawa did have the better of the third, as they chased the Leaf lead, James Reimer again stood strong to secure back-to-back wins for Toronto. You can see that...

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It was an entertaining Saturday night win by the Maple Leafs and, as the scoreline would suggest, not a banner night defensively for either team. The game was both evenly played and pretty much wide open, which tends to suit the Leafs’ strengths just fine. Despite yet another early goal against, the first period was characterized by a definitive Leaf edge and it briefly looked like the Leafs were going to walk away with this game. While it left the ACC crowd throughly entertained (only thing the game was missing, on top of the nine goals and numerous odd man...

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The Leafs had another dismal start, falling behind in the first minute, but ended up on top of a wild opening period, up 3-2 and even in ES close chances. The second looked like it could be a serious problem for Toronto; they were outclassed in chances, but they managed to surrender only a single goal, leaving the teams level heading to the final 20 minutes. After Rick Nash put the Rangers ahead early in the third, the Leafs managed a pair of goals to get back ahead, and then did a very good defensive job, not allowing the Rangers...

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Toronto had another poor start, but unlike the Arizona game, they managed to keep the score close. Despite being outchanced 10-3 at ES in the first 15 minutes, they were down only 1-0, and a late push, including Kessel's goal, got them level. The second period was similar, with Colorado superior until the last few minutes. A similar pattern played out in the third, with Colorado taking the lead through Duchene, after which the Leafs generated some chances as they pushed for the equalizer, eventually being rewarded with the goalie out. An entertaining and even overtime period ended scoreless, and...

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We shouldn’t have to spill ink on the head-scratching decision that was the Morgan Rielly scratch, but it ended up clearly affecting the game in a negative way, so here we are. In Arizona, Rielly did get caught on a bad pinch and coughed up the puck at his own blueline, one partially leading to a goal against (assist to JvR’s giveaway behind the net), but he also directed six shots on goal in that game and had recently been playing well. Alas, Carlyle's decision was quickly exposed as a poor one in this game. Stuart Percy struggled jumping into...

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Unprepared to start the game. That was the story of the Leafs' 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night as they tried to dig themselves out of a 3-0 hole and ultimately couldn't overcome it. 1st period - The Leafs generate a little ozone time and a SOG from Polak on the first shift with Clarkson, JvR and Bozak, after Carlyle pretends to reunite the top line of old before yanking Kessel for Clarkson right after the draw. - On the first shift for Kessel, Winnik and Kadri, the wingers (Kessel first, Winnik second) fail to get the puck moving on...

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The Leafs came out flat in Arizona, with a couple of bad giveaways and an unlucky bounce seeing them fall behind 3-0. Toronto didn't generate a single ES chance until just before the halfway point of the game. They improved in the second half, but still ended up out-chanced pretty decisively. They managed a pair of powerplay goals, but there wasn't much generated at ES down the stretch, even while they were chasing the one goal lead in the last few minutes. The Leafs never got back to ES Close after the early part of the game, and while they...

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It’s a four-point weekend for the Maple Leafs. Among the fan base, it was ‘blow it up’ last week, ‘playoff bound’ the next. The Leafs needed their goaltender to be their best player to get this win over one of the league elite in a back to back and that’s exactly what they got. While it could be argued he should’ve come up with a save on one of the first two goals, James Reimer was every superlative in the book in the third period to close this out as the Maple Leafs just hung on for dear life – tonnes...