Morning Mashup: 1st Overall

Ben Scrivens
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It feels good, doesn’t it? The Toronto Maple Leafs were certainly outplayed by the Columbus Blue Jackets for a good portion of the game and their specialty teams are still holding the team back, but the standings don’t lie – the team is winning consistently at the end of the day. Toronto’s team is a fast, high-powered, offensive juggernaut that has made the NHL stand up and take notice (their 45 goals put them 2nd in the league next to Philly). That isn’t going to go away from what we have seen from them so far in the early season.

Enter: Ben Scrivens
Scrivens has lived up to the promise that the Toronto Maple Leafs front office and coaching staff have seen in him since they picked him up as an undrafted free agent. Scrivens plays a Francois Allaire style that has made his transition from College, to the ECHL, to the AHL—and now the NHL, a natural progression. His style is reminiscent of that of James Reimer; while not having the same size advantage as the other Toronto Maple Leafs goaltenders, Scrivens is positionally sound, economical and has a reasonable amount of athleticism. He played pretty much a perfect game, much more than you’d expect from someone making his first NHL start. Kudos to the coaching staff for starting him in such an enviable position. On the road, against the worst team in the league, after a win. After that, it was all Scrivens.

From @TheGoalieGuild:

“@TheGoalieGuild The Goalie Guild
Scrivens has been more impressive in his NHL debut than Reimer.”

Brian Burke’s best acquisition may not have been Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel, but in fact, Francois Allaire.  Having the widely-considered best goaltending coach in the world on staff, and also to lend a hand with scouting, is something that has shored up what was Toronto’s weakest area post-lockout. Having a third string goaltender come into a game and play with such poise and economy is something that the Leafs front office should take a bow for. Giving Francois Allaire all the kudos is just not fair, however—Ben Scrivens was mentally sharp, relaxed and faced a lot of rubber (39 shots)… more than you want to see on someone starting their first game.

Toronto can’t be ecstatic with their game last night, but again they were explosive when it counted. Joey Crabb continued his excellent play from the AHL, scoring in his second consecutive game in the NHL. He’s riding a hot hand and is definitely playing with some serious moxy. Another player that is extremely hot right now is Clarke MacArthur, who had a two-goal game and now has six points (4 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games. In general, very little isn’t clicking for the Leafs offensively at the moment.

While we wait with bated breath for the specialty teams to round into form, they continue to be an explosively high-scoring team that other teams, and especially goalies, are certainly nervous to play this early in the season.

Toronto looks next to Boston, where they will want to redeem their terrible showing the last time they met the rival back on October 20. Boston continues to struggle, suffering from what many are calling a “Stanley Cup Hangover,” but they seem to been able to get up and play Toronto no matter the occasion. It’s certain to be an entertaining game, as mostly every Leafs game has been this year. Regardless of Boston’s play, they won the Stanley Cup last year and won on strong goaltending and sound special-teams. Toronto’s run and gun style can only work for so long if their own penalty kill and powerplay aren’t clicking.

First. Place. Overall.

Leaf Links

Ben Scrivens

Carl Gunnarsson

Clarke MacArthur

Game in 6

2   L. SchennD000-10009:1000:0000:0309:13
3   D. PhaneufD00004120:4002:1302:3525:28
8   M. KomisarekD00032018:2700:0002:2620:53
11   P. DupuisC00000110:5500:0003:0814:03
12   T. ConnollyC00010113:3001:5504:0119:26
15   M. LombardiC000-10208:5300:4200:0009:35
16   C. MacArthurL20220214:1201:0500:0015:17
18   M. BrownR00000211:2400:0000:0011:24
19   J. LupulR02222013:3002:2900:0015:59
20   D. SteckelC00000009:5200:0003:3313:25
24   J. LilesD10130117:2002:4102:2722:28
36   C. GunnarssonD00000218:1601:1904:5224:27
41   N. KuleminL01120012:2900:4900:3313:51
42   T. BozakC00000111:0800:4204:1616:06
46   J. CrabbR10100210:3500:4200:0011:17
51   J. GardinerD01110012:5401:4703:3718:18
81   P. KesselR01110213:1502:1300:0315:31
84   M. GrabovskiC01120113:3001:2300:2615:19
3   M. MethotD00000016:5200:0001:4918:41
4   J. MooreD000-20217:5500:0001:4619:41
5   A. JohnsonD00010412:2903:4601:0517:20
10   K. RussellD00010410:4404:1700:0015:01
11   M. CalvertL01100113:0400:0000:0013:04
15   D. DorsettR000-10108:4500:0001:0809:53
16   D. BrassardC00000110:3804:0300:0014:41
18   R. UmbergerL000-10713:2404:3600:4918:49
19   R. JohansenC10110213:3303:2400:0016:57
21   J. WisniewskiD000-40119:5004:5402:1426:58
22   V. ProspalL000-20317:0904:3600:0021:45
24   D. MacKenzieC000-20311:3000:0001:0012:30
26   S. PahlssonC000-10209:0000:0001:5510:55
28   A. GirouxL00002210:0700:0000:0010:07
32   C. BassC000-10207:3700:0001:3209:09
50   A. VermetteC01100212:5203:2401:0517:21
51   F. TyutinD000-22018:1303:0301:0622:22
61   R. NashR000-20216:2403:5700:3120:52