The Leafs meet the Capitals. Last time these two teams met, the Leafs brought the world of hurt and won 7-1. Colby Armstrong returned to the lineup, while Connolly got injured so we brought the hurt this time around too. As far as the score is concerned the story was very different. I suggest reading the 7-1 Game In 10 instead.
1 â€“ The Leafs are 15-11-3 and yeah, we all hate when the Leafs outplay an opponent for major stretches and lose. We lost the special teams battle too, by a mile.
2 â€“ Dale Hunter showed us the joys of trapping hockey while having elite talent. I donâ€™t approve. Their 1st shot on net came after 12 minutes of play in the first period.
3 â€“ The Caps score a PP goal on a pretty soft (but automatic) call on Gardiner after Mike Knuble batted a bouncing puck to Dennis Wideman who put it in. Yes, you guessed it; it was only their second shot on goal.
4 â€“ Luke Schenn stirred the pot by dishing some sweet hits and then taking pity on a downed Chimera. It reminded me of a moment when you hold a little kid off by holding your outstretched hand on his head so he canâ€™t reach you. I kinda liked that tradeoff because we took their top scorer off the ice. Wait isnâ€™t Aleâ€¦ oh no, no he isnâ€™t. Sad.
5 â€“ Our penalty kill wasnâ€™t working as we gave up a second powerplay goal to the Caps, it was Wideman again. Third powerplay goal was scored by Backstrom. If you fault Reimer Iâ€™ll hurt you, or Iâ€™ll run away, all depending on your height and overall size really.
6 â€“ Except for those two plays where Ovechkin deked him silly in the first period, and got passed him in the 2nd our captain did a great job of stopping the Great 8 or at least a Semi Decent 8, which would be a proper way to call him this season. PS I love Ovechkin, just not when heâ€™s playing the Leafs. Heâ€™s catching fire though, that was pretty obvious tonight. Ovechkinâ€™s skate probably cut Connolly and he left the game in the middle of the 2nd period. Iâ€™m guessing we realized by now that having him injured was too serious to crack glass man jokes about.
7 â€“ Lupul and Kessel keep on chugging. Kessel scored to tie Michalek (yeah Iâ€™m not joking) for the league lead in goals with 18. No, not Zbynek. Joey Crabb didnâ€™t have the best of games but itâ€™s wrong to jump all over him, even if we would all like to move sideways around a beach.
8 â€“ We can argue as long as we want but fact is â€“ no matter how poorly the Caps were playing at times this year, they are still an elite team. And you seldom win games against elite teams who score 4 powerplay goals while your powerplay remains dry. Special teams were the difference, no question. BUT â€“ it wouldnâ€™t have to be a special teams battle if we didnâ€™t take bad penalties, something thatâ€™s quickly becoming a habit.
9 â€“ Cody Franson got the puck on net and scored. Which is always nice to do, especially on a less than convincing Vokoun, whoâ€™s been questionable throughout this season. A really solid effort by the team tonight, didnâ€™t quit. Dennis Wideman gets a hatty. Yes, on the PP. PK was horrendous.
10 â€“ Tomas Kaberle is a Hab. Burke used his spy perfectly. First he got us an epic return from Boston, then heâ€™ll undoubtedly score an own goal against the Habs in what will be a playoff seed decider. After that, heâ€™ll take his rightful place next to Brian Burke as the director of hockey treason. No, but seriously, itâ€™s ok to still like Kaberle. I donâ€™t like him all that much because I like defense but canâ€™t fault him for what he did for this organization, something that deserves praise. The guy paid his dues to this team, he was a true Leaf.