In a game against our old nemesis, the HSBC First Niagara Center, the Leafs showed some good fight, but sometimes it just doesn—t bounce your way. Good effort.
1 — The Leafs are 22-16-5, and I hate games where we could have had more but didn—t get it.
2 — We gave up an EARLY goal. Not even a minute and a half in, Gaustad wins a battle in the corner and gives it to Ellis who banks it in. It was a bad bounce but I think Gustavsson could have played that angle a little bit better.
3 — If the first one was questionable, the second goal was just bad. Gaustad fires it from a bad angle and not even four minutes in and the guy they call the goose (not really a desirable nickname) fills out his candidacy for the first star of the game. Boooo.
4 — Grabo scored to make it 2-1 after a fantastic heads up play by Luke Schenn. Schenn intentionally shot it wide, Grabo then showed off great hands, a very quick release plus great hand eye coordination to get that puck past Miller.
5 — Fantastic forechecking effort by Kulemin creates a Buffalo turnover, Grabo gives it to Crabb and it—s 2-2!
6 — This game was a showcase of how a kid can improve if given a chance to develop properly. Look at Kadri—s game now. Making smart and simple plays, good decisions with the puck and hitting people. He now has all around game which is what the management was looking to get out of him. His skill was never the problem, but he isn—t a liability on the ice anymore.
7 — This was one of Schenn—s better games this season. See how simple trade rumors light a fire under one—s ass? Wouldn—t surprise me if Burke had it all planned. Burke runs the universe and we love him for that. The coverage on Pominville for the 3rd Sabres goal kinda doused that flame a little.
8 — Something happened to our penalty kill since New Year—s. Something good. The thing that cost us tonight was the powerplay and a bad start. There were cases of good puck movement and it did look threatening at times but fact is we didn—t manage to score a power play goal, which of course sucks. The coaches have struggled to find a suitable interim replacement for JM Liles while he recovers from injury. Pack up the beakers and test tubes on that Clarke MacArthur point man experiment, he was struggling on the blueline with the man advantage.
9 — Good to see Gus getting calming down later in the game. He made some HUGE saves to keep the score close. He made mistakes, but did everything possible to correct them. Didn—t look fully comfortable today, but after a fair number of solid starts we can still expect some inconsistency. Gus will work on it, but he kept it close.
10 — It was the first time this season, after an awe inspiring 42 game run, that Lupul and Kessel were held two games pointless, but Grabovski and Kulemin are coming around like we knew they could and that bodes well for the final half. Regroup and get ready for the next one. This is a good team.