Sunday, April 19, 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.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Boston Bruins

11

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...

772

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...

4

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...

473

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...

2

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...

0

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...

300

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...

739

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...

4

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...

937

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...

8

Toronto was unfortunate not to be ahead after two periods, as their second period performance was excellent, putting a lot of pressure on the Blackhawks and severely limiting Chicago's chances. They did manage a breakthrough early in the third, through Peter Holland, and then went into a defensive shell. Chicago threw everything they had at the Leafs' net in the third, generating a crazy twenty-three chances in the period, but James Reimer somehow managed to keep the Hawks at bay and earn Toronto a third consecutive win. Some major momentum shifts here, but that excellent second period means the Leafs finished...

703

The Toronto Maple Leafs were delivered a blow before the start of the game with the news that oft injured forward, Joffrey Lupul, was out with a broken right hand. This was a a decent win for Toronto against a team they should beat given the Blue Jackets had $30 million in players on the IR. They did not convincingly shut the game down and were dominated towards the end of the game, however, they did push shots to the outside and none were really of much threat. Tough luck for Jonathan Bernier on the power play goal. He looked good...

Phil Kessel

4

The Leafs earned a second straight win against a short-handed Blue Jackets team, getting some opportunistic third period goals to secure the victory. The first two periods were fairly close in chances until the Leafs scored their second goal, after which a couple of strong shifts saw them open a gap in chances. While Toronto managed only two shots on goal, both goals, in the third, they were even in chances, a sign of a very good defensive road effort. This was the lowest overall chance game the Leafs have played this year; they were content to defend their lead after...

1242

Buffalo is projecting as one of the worst teams in the modern era, but this win was convincing and much needed. If you want to put a positive spin on it, the Leafs have been generous with their shots allowed against even the worst of opponents in the past year; tying a franchise record for fewest shots against in a game – 10 – is a plus regardless of the opponent. The decision to go with Bernier over Reimer seemed somewhat curious given their recent form, but both goalies got the night off as it turns out. Bernier was credited with the...

7

After getting a lot of media heat from Saturday night's loss, the Leafs had the perfect response. They played what was, by the numbers, easily the most dominant single performance from a Leaf team in a long time, as they allowed Buffalo just ten shots on net, and had over 80% of the chances at even strength. Through most of two periods, they were playing with fire a little, not having turned the domination into any goals, but in the third Buffalo ended up paying for their struggles, and the Leafs were able to win easily. These numbers are nuts; to...

5

When I had the chance to sit down and watch this game, having missed it live, I expected a Leaf performance quite a bit worse than what I ended up seeing. Boston had a territorial edge, but for the most part didn't generate much in the early part of the game. The Leafs actually led in chances after two periods, despite being behind 2-0. However,  Toronto wasn't good in the third period, and two quick goals saw a game that was still within reach break open, with Bernier pulled. That first period was quiet in terms of chances, and the Leafs were unfortunate...

Nazem Kadri

1788

With an ugly loss to the Boston Bruins, the Maple Leafs have fallen to 1-4 on home ice, and Randy Carlyle sounds lost for answers again already. While the Bruins carried the edge in play, this was somewhat of a nothing game for the first 40. A flukey first goal and a bad pinch put the Leafs behind 2-0. It wasn’t out of reach until a disastrous early third period powerplay, which this game seemed to hinge on, yielded a shorthanded goal against.  While the Maple Leafs struggled to get more than one line going among their 11 forwards, the Bruins showed them...

10

The scoreline and result from Tuesday night's game was very similar to the Leafs trip to New York earlier in the season, as they exploded with four goals in the second period, and held on for the win. However, in this game, Toronto were much more convincing in terms of even strength chances, as they dominated that second period to earn their comfortable lead. The third period was a little concerning; you'd expect the Islanders to dominate the chances, given the score, but you'd hope the Leafs would be able to do better on the defensive end. Still, this was...

Phil-Kessel

538

Sometimes all it takes is the right bounce. The Leafs were off to a drowsy start and fell behind 1-0 before the first line got a fortuitous bounce off the boards that fell perfectly to Kessel, who dropped to JvR for his 3rd of the season. The Leafs would fall behind again after a series of penalties -- two by Lupul, one costly after a bad bounce landed on the wrong stick for Tavares’ 2-1 goal -- but it was quickly apparent that the first goal was a lift that went straight to the first line’s legs. Toronto was also a little hard...

56

This was a bit of an odd game, scoring chance wise. The Maple Leafs had a superior possession performance to what they managed Friday night, but -- particularly in the third period -- they weren't able to turn that possession into scoring chances, as they generated few shots from the 'home plate' area. Jonas Gustavsson had to make saves down the stretch, but wasn't tested nearly as stringently as Jonathan  Bernier was. This shows in the chances, as the Leafs were beaten by a similar margin to Friday night's game, despite the fact it was a better game from Toronto. It was...