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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.

1853

Tonight's game offered the second of the three seasonal meetings between these two teams. The Leafs were without Joffrey Lupul and they had to get the job done against a team that could creep up to a playoff spot with a win tonight, a Stanley Cup finalist from last year. Komarov and MacArthur made their return and it made things a little bit easier while the Devils are struggling to score without Kovalchuk. Fraser McLaren was scratched because the Devils require less face-punching or something like that.  1) The Leafs are 21-13-4 and rarely do you play an entire game...

259

Trade deadline in the rear view, let’s hope this game doesn’t set the tone for the Leafs’ finish this season. Between a 5-3 loss and Joffrey Lupul leaving the game with a head injury, this was a return to Earth after the highs of the win in Ottawa. 1 - An eventful first period. The Leafs started flat, showing some rust on their legs against the more game ready Flyers. A scramble off a faceoff wound up at the point and a good tip by Simon Gagne put the Flyers up 1-0. Kadri’s line got the Leafs back even just...

559

The Leafs played the Sens in the fourth of five meetings between these two teams. This Battle of Ontario offered great value as the Sens held a two point advantage in the Northeast Division and the Conference standings headed into this one. Not anymore. 1) The Leafs are 20-12-4 and James Reimer has never lost in Ottawa. 8 straight games with at least a point. Can you say pl... no, shut up and don't jinx it. The Senators don't give up four goals on the regular, by the way. 2) The Leafs' powerplay has been soaring lately and it kept on...

442

That. That was the win that cemented the Leafs as playoff worthy. 1 - The Leafs started nice and bright, carrying the pace early. JvR, contrary to pre-game line projections, started on the top line and he responded admirably to what was being asked of him amid his goal-scoring slump. He got in hard on the forecheck, cycled the puck, made a beautiful behind the back pass to Kessel and went to the net, taking a Cane out of the play and thereby opening the passing lane. Kessel found Bozak cross-crease to make it 1-0 Leafs. JvR had another amazing...

318

Toronto overcame a slow start on the second night of a back-to-back set to close out the league-worst Florida Panthers at home.  The game featured the return of Joffrey Lupul to the Kessel line, simultaneously heralding the revival of said line as contributing members of the team. 1. This thought was written before the game started, because it is true and relevant regardless of the outcome: games such as tonight's are as much a "must win" as exists in this league. To be a playoff team, games against the worst club in the league need to garner you two points....

211

Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron scored in the shootout as the Boston Bruins clawed back to take 3 – 2 decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin scored for the Leafs in regulation, who led 2 – 0 in the second period before ultimately receding to the Bruins.  James Reimer made 27 saves in a losing effort, while Tuukka Rask made 23. 1. The Leafs are 17 – 12 – 4, and boy the past 120 minutes of hockey are hard to fathom.  With the shoot out loss and win on Saturday, the Leafs evened the...

2405

The Leafs faced the Bruins for the third time this season. The Bs have taken the first two games along with their 8 last games against the Leafs which made this a statement game for the Buds. A celebration of Sundin's induction into the HHOF gave it some more flair and we all hoped it wasn't going to be a repeat of the effort shown on last February's Sundin night. Fortunately, they got a do-over. 1) The Leafs are 17-12-3 and Mats is still bald and beautiful. Oh yeah, Leo, our hit machine, is out 7-10 days and Marlies captain...

Fraser McLaren vs John Scott

402

True to form, tonight's tilt in Buffalo was fast paced, exciting, and goal-heavy. Getting three points in a back-to-back situation is a respectable outcome, although an early two goal lead put the Leafs in a position to close out four points that they failed to capitalize on. 1. It was surprising to see Reimer get both starts in this back-to-back set. Recently, Carlyle had gone on record saying that Scrivens was currently playing better between the two tenders. Granted, Scrivens has lost and Reimer has won since then, but you would think this statement of faith would indicate a more...

392

A much needed two points put an end to a five-game winless (but not pointless) skid. Given the Leafs’ three wins in their prior nine were a pair of up-and-down 5-4 wins (vs. Ottawa and NYI) and a late come from behind win over New Jersey, this could be fairly labeled the Leafs’ first consistent performance over three periods since their wins over Buffalo and Philadelphia in late February. 1 - A turnover from Sami Salo allowed the Leafs to get set up in the offensive zone six minutes into the first. A Kadri-led tic tac toe passing play...

1949

This was the third and final matchup between these two Canadian teams battling for a playoff spot. The previous game still stings, with the Jets easily beating the Leafs 5-2 on Tuesday in Winnipeg. It was payback time. More importantly, it was slump busting time in a game the Leafs desperately needed to win. Well... 1) The Leafs are 15-12-2 and this was one crazy game. They could have quit. With 4 unanswered goals against in what was a horrendous 2nd period, it's what we would have been used to. But they didn't. Point gained or a point lost? You...

866

Toronto saw a hard fought one-goal lead disappear in the third period against Pittsburgh, as the Penguins Sidney Crosby staged a second consecutive third period comeback to steal the game in regulation.  It's a tough loss to swallow after a thorough effort across the lineup kept the Penguins scoreless until the final eight minutes of the game. 1. You could see the team knew they needed a bounceback game in this one. They came out fast, determined, and nervous as the first period had a mixture of turnovers and energetic offensive play. Thankfully, the Penguins can be a sloppy bunch defensively,...

1384

Former Leafs Nik Antropov and Kyle Wellwood came back to haunt their old club with five points between them, as the Winnipeg Jets trounced the Leafs 5 – 2 on Tuesday night.  Blake Wheeler scored two goals, while Ondrej Pavelec had a rare good showing with 24 saves for the victory.  Phil Kessel scored both goals for Toronto, and now has nine on the season, and five in his last five games. 1.  The Leafs 15 – 11 – 1, and appear to be regressing to the mean with three straight losses.  They were heavily outshot again, with Reimer and...

746

The Leafs welcomed the Penguins in what was their second meeting of the season. A win in the first game in Pittsburgh certainly felt good, but this was a Penguins team that has 7 wins in their last 10 games and has just now started to push for the top of the Conference standings. It was a different game entirely. 1) The Leafs are 15-10-1 and this was a collaborative effort from Michael Stephens and Mislav Jantoljak. 2) 1st minute, Malkin wins a faceoff against Bozak, Neal gets the puck to the point, it trickles back to him and the winger...

399

More of the same in Boston. It was less embarrassing than last season's visits to the TD Garden, and there's a small victory in that, but the Leafs fall short nonetheless and drop to 15-10-0 with a 4-2 loss (one empty netter) to the Bruins. 1 - In a tentative start from both teams, there was not a whole lot going on early besides a bout between Fraser and McQuaid that I’d score in Fraser’s corner. It wasn’t exciting early, but it was the tight-checking start you wanted to see from the Leafs, who were on the road in...

336

The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Ottawa Senators in the alley and on the ice in the first period and survived a late push on the way to a 5 – 4 win on Wednesday night.  The Leafs took a lead early, and chose not to look back, with goals coming from Tyler Bozak, Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel and Nazem Kadri.  James Reimer made 39 saves, while Kessel recorded two assists for his first three point night of the year. 1.  The Leafs are 15 – 9 – 0 at the halfway point of the season, despite...

1027

It wasn't pretty, but the Maple Leafs took it to New Jersey 4-2 Monday night and moved up in the standings.  Nazem Kadri continues to be Toronto's most dangerous attacker and James Reimer is on a personal five game win streak. 1. On Mike Brown's departure - yes, it made sense from a team management perspective. Brown's penalty killing: brave but not necessarily the best. He is less suited for the role of a fourth line zero-minute duster than the likes of McClaren or Orr. He's more of a bottom six/top six player than a top nine/bottom three. That being...

328

The Leafs closed out February strong with a win over the New York Islanders in front of all 30 of their diehard fans. They have finished the month 9-7-0, giving them 26 points on the year, matching their first 22 games of last season. Oh, and Nazem Kadri had a hat trick. 1. The first Islanders goal by Josh Bailey demonstrated that third pairing defensemen are third pairing defensemen for a reason, no matter their +/- ratings. The lazy play by Franson would get you benched in most Rec Leagues. 2. In fact, Fraser and Franson were on the ice for...

1624

Prior to this one, the Habs lost only four regulation games this season, but two of those loses have come at the hands of the Maple Leafs, including the 6-0 shellacking handed to them in the Bell Centre. The 6-0 win also featured physical dominance by the Leafs so this one was expected to be a fiery affair. The Habs added Michael Ryder and PK Subban to the lineup just to make things more difficult. 1) The Leafs are 12-9-0 and this was a loss to the Habs. We don't like those. "Ole Ole" in the ACC, hell no... 2) It...

242

Showing no signs of slowing down, the Leafs followed up a tough loss in Ottawa with a bounce back win in Philly, their 8th victory in their last 11, to move to 12-8-0 at the 20-game mark of the season. The Leafs' speed and puck movement proved to be too much for the Flyers as the Leafs built a lead and held on for the win. 1 - The Leafs came out hitting everything in this one. Unable to find a fight last game, Mike Brown in particular was looking to make an impact. Thankfully, an excellent PK bailed him...

1249

The second edition of the Battle of Ontario. Last time these teams met (Feb. 16th), the final score was 3-0 in the ACC. Now, last time the Sens were simply missing their top line C and last year's Norris Trophy winner. Tonight, that list included one of the season's best goaltenders, Craig Anderson. Fair to say that this was another winnable game. Not to be as the Leafs fall 3-2. 1) The Leafs are 11-8-0 and this was disappointing. 2) 4th minute - McClement keeps the puck alive on the boards and Grabovski scores from up close as he gets some...