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.

66

The opposite of the typical Leaf game from earlier in the season. A decent even-strength performance by the Leafs, but the game was lost on special teams and an uncharacteristic bad goal on the Leaf netminder. The Leafs again played the Bruins pretty even, but can't find a way to beat this team. 1 - An excellent opening period of hockey from the Leafs. Toronto came out with a better energy level in the back to back situation than the Bruins, and outworked them for much of the period. 2 - Jake Gardiner continues to make good things happen, jumping up...

824

A game in Ottawa on a Saturday night. It brought the goals, the chippy-ness, the sloppiness, and the Leaf win we were all expecting. Bizarre stat - this was James Reimer's third 49+-shot win over the Senators in his career. 1 - 58 seconds into the game, Kadri did what he does better than anyone in the league, earning a powerplay for his team. After the Leafs got set up with the trademark drop pass to Kessel for the zone entry, Phaneuf backed up across the line to the middle of the ice, threw the puck on net, Kadri jammed...

374

Toronto welcomed the HBO crew with a 3-2 overtime victory at the Air Canada Centre.  They came out with the appropriate amount of desperation and effort for a team that has been stumbling significantly. 1. The Leafs certainly came to play tonight. Maybe it was the HBO presence or an unheralded urgency in response to the squad's recent stretch of dismal outings. It could also just be the natural progression for a good - but not elite - NHL team in an 82 game season. In that case, tonight's victory would signify a swing in the right direction for the...

217

Two vastly different Maple Leaf teams showed up, but neither were enough to muster W, as the Leafs fell to the San Jose Sharks 4 – 2 Tuesday night.  Ex-Leaf Mike Brown, Joe Thornton, Brad Stuart and Logan Couture tallied for the Sharks, who won their 19th of the season and sixth straight.  Mason Raymond and Phil Kessel replied with power play goals for the Leafs, who dropped their fourth straight.  James Reimer made 37 saves in defeat, while Antti Niemi stopped 28 in his 24th start of the season. 1.  Tonight marked the beginning of the Leafs’ Dreadful December,...

1053

Murphy’s Law is gripping this Leafs team at the moment. The performance wasn’t terrible in this one; it wasn’t exactly great, but there is a confluence of bad things happening to this team at the moment, some in their control and some not. The most disconcerting part about the conclusion to this month, as the Leafs enter a brutally tough December - 2 regulation wins in 13 November games. 1 - The last thing the Leafs needed was a bad start, but the Leafs got started on one with an interference penalty by Carl Gunnarsson. On the ensuing penalty kill,...

1030

Splitting the points with the Sabres over three games is far from a sign of promise headed into a tough December. Two of the Sabres' 6 wins in 27 games have come against the Leafs. Thanks to Cameron for tonight's Game in 10. 1 - The Leafs came out looking much better to start the game in Buffalo tonight. Granted, the bar wasn't set high after their collapse in Pittsburgh, but they kept the Sabres off the shot clock for 11 minutes to open the game. However, even during this stretch, there were head scratching moments in the defensive zone....

829

The stuff of cardiac arrests. Please keep the 4-1 jokes to yourself. What a crazy game of momentum swings and refereeing-fuelled rage. 1 - The Leafs were making a mess in their defensive zone coverage on the first few shifts, coughing up an early lead when Chris Connor jumped on a pass wide open on the back door, and nearly conceded another one before they found their way into the game. The powerplay Peter Holland drew was a saviour for that reason. It seemed to settle the Leafs in when this game could’ve easily gotten away on them, with their confidence...

690

1. Countless odd man opportunities against. 2. Dreadful defense. 3. Bad breakouts vs. the trap. 4. Turnovers at the blueline. 5. Soft on the puck. 6. Too fancy offensively. Trying to pass it in the net. 7. Barely shooting (18 shots while chasing the lead the whole game). 8. Lupul hurt. 9. Outworked by lowly 'Lumbus for the 2nd time. 10. Poor Reimer. No sense in picking out individuals from the pile. This was the Leafs' first real “blowout” of the season. How will they respond?

713

Lower scoring than one might have expected, this game was more entertaining than the scoreline suggests. The Leafs won the special teams battle and the shootout thanks to Mr. Saturday Night, James Reimer, to move to 14-8-1 on the season. 1 - A pretty fun first period to watch; it was a five-on-five, penalty-free track meet as both teams were skating well while playing a loose and structure-free game. Good goaltending at both ends kept it even. For the Leafs, the biggest positive was a really good period from Lupul - Kadri - Clarkson line, which looked as good as...

67

A promising first period went badly astray as the Leafs had their five-game home winning streak snapped by four unanswered goals from the Nashville Predators. The Leafs move to 13-8-1 on the season. 1 - At least there were some things to like about the Leafs' first period. The Leafs needed some Bernier heroics on an early PK (Kadri offensive zone holding penalty) before they took control of the opening period. Forgettable game for Bernier aside, he has an amazing ability to make really tough saves look routine with sharp reads and good positional sense. He was two-steps ahead in his...

1549

Jake Gardiner dazzled in his best game of the season, David Clarkson FINALLY scored his first goal of the season and Jonathan Bernier was good when he needed to be as the Toronto Maple Leafs dropped the New York Islanders 5 – 2. Trevor Smith, Phil Kessel (2), Mason Raymond and Clarkson all scored for the Leafs, who won their second straight game.  Smith (1G, 2A) and Joffrey Lupul (3A) tallied 3 points apiece as the Leafs cruised to a pretty easy victory. Bernier made 35 saves for his eighth victory of the season.  Kevin Poulin struggled for the...

117

Less convincing than it should have been thanks to an atrocious third period, the Leafs grabbed a much-needed two points and split their home and home with the lowly Sabres. It was the Leafs' first multi-goal game since October 30th vs. Calgary. Let’s never speak of these two games again. 1 - The Leafs were in good shape from puck drop after a good couple of shifts by Trevor Smith, Joffrey Lupul and David Clarkson. Five minutes into the game, a faceoff win by new guy Peter Holland, his second consecutive in the offensive zone, drew the puck back...

1019

Not unexpected, the Leafs couldn't score and lost the game. Tough one to watch. 1 - The Leafs controlled play at even strength throughout much of the period, but the better quality chances went to Buffalo. The Sabres had the shot edge; two penalties of the period went against the Leafs, and they got caught twice on the fast break against the flow of play leading to the Sabres hitting a pair of posts. The Leafs were putting in the effort to try to grind this one out, with a committed cycle game and good work rate, but they...

262

Game in 6 Highlights | Randy Carlyle Post Game | Kadri's Controversial Hits The Leafs move to 11-6-1 with a 2-1 shootout loss after giving up the lead late in Minnesota. The Leafs have only scored three goals in their last four games, only one of which has been at even strength. Let’s hope a back-to-back home and home with the lowly Sabres is the tonic to the offensive woes, but the Sabres will have good first impressions to play for with new head coach Ted Nolan behind the bench. It was a pretty boring start to this road game, but...

795

Returning to the scene of the catastrophe, this game was in some ways a microcosm of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series last May. The Leafs were badly overmatched at first, started to figure the Bruins out as the game wore on, but ultimately fell short. In the end, the Leafs fell 3-1 and move to 11-6-0 on the season. The offense has dried up on the Leafs as of late, scorers of just two goals in their last three games. Loss aside, this is a fun if frustrating rivalry (we all know the Bruins have mastered the art of...

428

The win wasn't aesthetically pleasing, and that’s par for the course against the New Jersey Devils, but this is an important two points for the banged-up Leafs before they head into Boston. The Leafs move to 11-5-0. 1 - The Leafs played a good first overall, but they needed to come away with a goal considering their double minor powerplay which included 50 seconds of 5 on 3 time. On the upside, the Kadri, Clarkson and Raymond line had several positive shifts, with Clarkson nearly scoring (rejected at the goalline by Zidlicky) and putting in good work down low...

1184

The Leafs visited the Vancouver on Pavel Bure night for the first of two seasonal meetings with the Canucks. In other news, Luke Schenn was a healthy scratch for the Flyers as Paul Holmgren saw fit to reward the former Leafs defenseman on his birthday. More importantly, but certainly less amusing, Liles, Bodie and Ashton were healthy scratches for the Leafs and Mason Raymond was in the lineup against his old team. Anyway, see how this one turned out... or don't. Your choice. I'd prefer the latter. 1 – The Leafs are 10-5-0 and the Leafs still haven't beaten the Canucks...

101

The Leafs are the first team in the East to hit the 10-win mark thanks to a 4-2 win in Calgary. It was far from pretty, but in second leg of a back to back on the road, these are two points the Leafs will happily pocket before hitting the road further West to Vancouver for what will be their stiffest test of the road trip. The Leafs will remain top of the East thanks to two shorthanded goals (JvR, Ranger), David Clarkson's first point as a Leaf (on Raymond's goal), and a powerplay (basically) goal from Joffrey Lupul. Game...

Phil Kessel

373

The Maple Leafs started their western road trip on the right note, putting away the Oilers 4-0. It was an impeccable road game, and possibly Toronto's best work over sixty minutes this season. James Reimer tightened his grip on the starter's role with a shutout and Phil Kessel moved into a tie for second in league scoring with four points. 1. One minute into the game, Raymond chips it up along the boards to Kadri, who almost immediately sends it to Kessel streaking down the middle of the ice. As the Edmonton defender falls to the ice behind him, Kessel...

802

Toronto bounced back from a defeat in Columbus last night in a big way with a win against the Penguins. The Leafs found their physical game and put forth a strong effort across the board on their way to a 4-1 victory. 1. The Leafs came out with one of their best first periods of the season. The reason? It could be playing up to the level of their opponents, or the absence of a certain defensively-capable, offensively-culpable center. But the jump in their game was in large part due to their renewed physicality. 2. Toronto lost a hitting machine in...