Tuesday, April 21, 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.

1431

Montreal had a strong start, getting six of the first nine chances, and a pair of goals in the first thirteen minutes (the second of which Bernier would like back). Toronto was able to get even in chances for the period after a good late push, but didn't get a goal out of it. The second period was also even in chances, with Montreal again having a hot start before the Leafs pulled things back late in the frame. There wasn't a real push back from Toronto in the third, as an early Montreal goal extended the lead to three,...

9

The Clarkson-free Leafs had a strong first twenty-five minutes, out-chancing the Flyers and opening up a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from the top line. The rest of the second period was all Philadelphia, as they dominated the chances, 10-1, but couldn't find a way past Jonathan Bernier. The Leafs started the third by widening the lead even further, but faced some penalty problems, as the Flyers had a number of chances on special teams, including a pair of power-play goals. Bernier stood strong, though, and the Leafs earned their first back-to-back wins of 2015. The first period was...

0

The first period didn't have a lot of even strength action, as the two teams combined to generate just three ES chances. Most of the action in the period happened with a man in the penalty box, including all three goals occurring on Winnipeg power-plays. The Jets dominated special teams in the second, out-chancing Toronto while the Leafs had the extra man, but the teams were close to even at ES, despite a late goal from Winnipeg that re-established their lead. Nazem Kadri got the Leafs level early in the third period, and though both teams had some close chances...

765

The opening period was an offensive, back-and-forth one, as Toronto and Carolina traded chances. The Leafs had the better of it, out-chancing the 'Canes 10-6 at even strength. Brandon Kozun's first NHL goal drew them level on the scoreboard, but it took less than a minute for them to fall back behind, a deficit they never recovered from. After that first, both coaches must have been unhappy with their team's defensive performance, as the chances went drastically down. Toronto hardly got any offense in the rest of the game, despite four power-plays, on which they generated not a single shot on...

922

Toronto got an early power-play goal to take the lead against the Panthers, but Florida dominated the second half of the period, and got a goal themselves in the last few minutes. Another power-play early in the second put Florida ahead, and Toronto's offense sputtered before former Leaf prospect Jimmy Hayes scored what would prove to be the winning goal. Florida went into a complete defensive shell in the third period, not generating a single chance. Toronto weren't able to do much about it for the first two-thirds of the period, but in the last few minutes were able to...

2

There wasn't much separating Montreal and Toronto in this game, with both teams having strong stretches. The two teams exchanged goals midway through the first, with Toronto getting out-chanced, but not badly.   The second period was quiet, with Montreal unable to do much on the power-play, and the Leafs finishing strongly, but not scoring. Montreal started the third period well, but they weren't able to find a breakthrough either, and Toronto looked the more likely to score in the final ten minutes of regulation and overtime, when they out-chanced Montreal 6-3 at even strength. In the end, the game went...

0

The Maple Leafs had another horrible start, similar to their game against the Rangers, as they finished the first period behind 2-0 and down 12-3 in chances. Toronto had a great response in the second, scoring twice in the first five minutes and getting the first seven chances. In the last ten minutes of the period the Islanders took control again, including getting a third goal. Toronto had some chances as they chased the game in the third, but couldn't get another tying goal, and lost yet another game. Other than the first ten minutes of the second, the Islanders were always...

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...