Schenn vs. Schenn, Jagr vs. age. Bobrovsky vs. Gustavsson. Leafs Nation vs. Gustavsson. This was a great game that we unfortunately lost. A lot of positives to draw from this one.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 5-2-1 and I think we could have had this one. A very good effort by the boys.
2 â€“ The best first period the Leafs have played this year. We had jump right off the puck drop and never let them play their game. Excellent forecheck, supporting the D and Kessel scored an absolute laser. According to Joe Bowen, he now has 3 less goals than the entire Rangers team. Also, whatever it is, Jagr still has it. Be it cherry picking, reading the play, or a sick shot… he has it.
3 â€“ Pronger got hit in the head/eye by Grabovskiâ€™s follow through on a shot. Yes, players should be more responsible and yes, he should have had a visor on, but you hate to see that happen to a guy. Sure hope it isnâ€™t as serious as I fear it to be. He was not hospitalized, so thatâ€™s good news.
4 â€“ Might be just me talking here, but when we look at Monster’s fundamentals, which still aren’t good, it’s really easy just to blame it on his development. But we have to remember that his development wasn’t quite a walk in the park. Still, this was a night in which he put all of his talent and upside on display and showed why it’s hard to give up on the guy. One question remains: Has the guy really done enough to deserve our lack of belief in him? 68 NHL games in total. 42 of which (thatâ€™s a big number) came in his rookie year. Since his heart and family problems, the guy only played 26 games in 2 seasons with the big club. Happy B-day Gus, you did your part out there.
5 â€“ For the most part it was little simple plays that let us down, like missing passes, whiffing on shots and not clearing the puck when we had the chance. You have to make those simple plays to win close games. Same goes for the special team battle. Close games depend on taking that slight advantage the other team gives you. We didnâ€™t do that tonight but the overall effort and desire was there.
6 â€“ We try to play a pass-happy game, and sometimes it can get too cute. We aren’t the biggest team in the world up front, but our good speed can be a big part of the forecheck. All you have to do is dump it in order to get the defender’s stick off the ice, and we have the speed to get there, pressurize and force mistakes. The Leafs need to chip and chase, or simply get a shot on net, when the passes aren’t there.
7 â€“ Dion Phaneuf once again played a really good game. Thatâ€™s particularly true as far as his defensive game is concerned. Gardiner continues to look good, slick and effective offensively without being a liability on defense. Schenn didnâ€™t want to be overshadowed by his brother. He wasnâ€™t.
8 â€“ David Steckel got his third of the year. A three game scoring streak. Heâ€™s on pace for something heâ€™ll never reach but itâ€™s a great unexpected contribution nonetheless. In 2006-07 he scored 30 goals in the AHL, so heâ€™s no stranger to finding the net. Great play by Frattin to let that go instead of looking for his first NHL goal, shows a team-first attitude.
9 â€“ Basically, when you give 3 breakaways to a guy that can finish like Jagr, youâ€™ll have a tough time winning a hockey game.
10 â€“ This game was a major measuring stick, and it was important for the boys to put in a good effort. In my mind we did exactly that. The boys showed that they can outplay a team like Philadelphia in their own building for good stretches of the game. Also, we werenâ€™t playing just any Flyers team. We were playing a Flyers team that wanted to respond after two big losses.