Saturday, March 28, 2015
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.

2041

Toronto had a horrible opening period, out-chanced 12-2 at even strength, but after a late power-play goal they managed to get out of it down by a single goal. The second was much more even, but the Rangers managed to extend their lead after former Leaf Dominic Moore scored New York's fourth. The Leafs then had a great third, scoring twice in the first seven minutes, setting up a great last part of the game. The two teams both had great shifts, and exchanged a number of chances, but it was the Rangers who got the winning goal, off the...

1402

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally managed a win, as the Edmonton Oilers showed that the Leafs still have a lot to learn about being a truly bad team. Toronto dominated the chances in the opening period, but weren't rewarded. They did finally manage a break-through, midway through the second period, Panik getting a power-play goal. At that point, Toronto led the ES chances 9-4, and they kept up the pressure after that, Kessel and Rielly adding goals to give the Leafs a comfortable margin. Edmonton had the best of the chances in the third, but the game was out of...

1221

Toronto's struggles continued in New Jersey, as they stretched their losing streak to a new franchise record. The Leafs had a poor first period, falling behind and getting out-chanced 9-5, and gave up the first two chances of the second as well, along with another goal. Toronto were better after that second goal, but couldn't score, and the Devils added a third going into the final period. The Leafs then earned a couple of power-plays, and were actually able to generate quite a few chances, but it wasn't enough, as they only scored one goal. The Leafs were badly out-chanced while...

6

The Leafs had a solid opening period at even strength, but were undone by special teams, as Nashville scored shorthanded and on the power-play to consign Toronto to another first period deficit. Toronto were able to bounce back in the second period, dominating the chances, 9-3 at ES, and cutting down the lead. The Leafs stayed on that roll early in the third, and for once in this long slump, were rewarded, scoring twice in a minute. However, Nashville were back tied only four minutes later, and after the Predators went back ahead Toronto didn't have much of a response....

1065

Toronto will be thrilled to see January end, as they lost a 9th straight to close out the month and set a franchise record for fewest goals scored in a month. I actually watched the last two periods of this game over again, because on my first viewing the chance numbers I had were incredibly low. The second view didn't increase them; the teams combined for only 20 chances, one of the lowest totals in games I've tracked. For a team that's struggling to score, to put it lightly, playing a close checking, low-chance game on the road isn't a...

431

In the first half of this game, the Leafs were impressive, limiting Arizona's chances and actually getting an even strength goal, from Phil Kessel. The last ten minutes of the second period saw Arizona generate some chances, threatening the one-goal lead, but Jonathan Bernier was able to hold them off. Bernier had a terrible third period, as a goal from the Coyotes' blue line -- arguably worse than the infamous 200 footer on Vesa Toskala, which at least took an awful bounce, unlike tonight's -- tied the game up, and another from a sharp angle that got through Bernier's near...

843

In their first game back since the All Star break, the Maple Leafs showed the type of defensive effort that new coach Peter Horachek has been looking for. While their offensive struggles continued in New Jersey, they had one of their best defensive games of the season. They held the Devils to only three ES chances in the first two periods and the game was up for grabs heading into the final twenty minutes. James van Riemsdyk put them ahead in the third, and they seemed well placed to hold the lead, until a bad icing was followed by a...

806

The Leafs had another disaster of a first period in Ottawa, as after getting the first two chances, they were out-chanced 10-2 the rest of the way, and fell behind 3-0. While the Carolina game saw them give up the third goal early in the second, this time Toronto got it out of the way earlier, with Zibanejad scoring in the last minute of the first. The Leafs were much better in the second, and cut the deficit to one early in the final period. For the first six minutes of the third, it looked like Toronto might be able...

1971

In their return home, the Leafs had a bad first period, giving up two goals in forty seconds to fall behind again. They then compounded those struggles by surrendering a third in the first minute of the second period. After that, they really took charge of the game, with a couple of excellent shifts helping them to dominate the scoring chances, taking the period 11-2 at ES. None of those chances managed to turn into goals, as Toronto's scoring drought continued. Toronto weren't as good in the third, but did manage some power-play chances, and eventually got a goal with...

2

Toronto again had an unfortunate start in California, falling behind 2-0 against San Jose after a pair of goals in an eleven second stretch. The Leafs were even with the Sharks in chances for the period, and managed to finish down by only one, after Roman Polak broke their goose egg for the California trip. San Jose were excellent in the second period, out-chancing the Leafs 8-2 after the first couple of minutes, but Reimer was able to keep his team within a single goal. The Leafs were able to do a decent job in the third period, generating six...

0

The Maple Leafs were a little unfortunate in the opening period, as they out-chanced the Ducks 6-3 at ES but found themselves behind after Anaheim scored on a prolonged 5-on-3. The second period was much worse, as the Ducks got a pair from Corey Perry, and took over the chances by a margin of 9-4. Toronto were then totally shut down in the third, generating only a single ES chance, which came in the final minute after the Leafs were down 4-0. Anaheim's final period was one of the best defensive showings I've seen this season. The Leafs ended up even...

744

Four straight games with under 30 shots against – something the Leafs never achieved under Randy Carlyle. Two games in a row getting shutout – something they haven't achieved since March of 2012, a few games after Carlyle was first hired. The Leafs are undergoing a rewiring process amid the toughest part of their schedule hands down. The game isn’t coming as natural to them, and they’re struggling to find a way to generate offensive opportunity while playing a more responsible game. It’s going to be a process. When breaking up their best offensive line in hopes of changing the dynamic and...

2

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...

584

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...

740

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...

Phil Kessel

40

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. It's way...

812

In their first game post-Randy Carlyle, the Maple Leafs ended up with another big defeat, beaten 6-2 by the Capitals. For the first two periods, the Leafs were having a strong game, despite trailing on the scoreboard, as they were superior in possession and in chances. However, they struggled in the third, getting clearly out-chanced as Washington pulled away for a comfortable victory. This was one of the Leafs' best chance games in quite some time, and while the result didn't go Toronto's way, it wasn't a terrible start to Horachek's tenure. The ES close numbers do show that Toronto struggled...

450

The Leafs' long road trip came to an end with a bad loss, as Winnipeg thoroughly outplayed them. The first five minutes were a good start for Toronto, but after that things went south, with Winnipeg out-chancing the Leafs 8-1 at ES over the remainder of the period. Toronto managed to take the lead after a good start to the second, but four minutes later they were behind. They never managed to get back into it, as in the second half of the game they generated only a single ES chance, and Winnipeg blew the game open. This was one of...

672

The Leafs had a great start to the first game of 2015, as they had the bulk of the chances until a Wild powerplay late in the first. The Wild were better in the second, and took the lead at the midway point, but Toronto were still right into the game, and the two sides went into the third even in chances at ES. Franson scored a goal early in the third, and it looked like Toronto would have a good shot of at least earning a point. However, Minnesota went back ahead through Spurgeon, and a powerplay goal widened...

886

Toronto closed out 2014 against the Bruins, one of the closest chasers for the wild cards spot the Leafs are fighting for. Toronto had a great start, dominating the first period in chances and getting an early lead. That continued at the start of the second, and at the halfway point of the game the Leafs were in command, up 3-1 and holding Boston to 2 ES chances. That didn't last, as the second half of the game was almost a mirror image of the first half. Toronto managed only one chance on the Boston net in the last twenty-eight...