In a Battle of Ontario with a playoff feel, two very important two points were on the line. Coming into this game Ottawa held a three point advantage on the Leafs in the Conference standings and the boys in blue needed to narrow the gap.
1 — The Leafs are 27-19-6 and I feel blessed every time Bob Cole does the color commentary.
2 — I was wondering, where were all those All Star game Ottawa fans. All I heard was Go Leafs Go, in an atmosphere which was louder than the ACC. Those five Ottawa fans must have stayed at home.
3 — Kessel scored his first goal (and point) in the last four games which ended his scoring drought. You got to love the way he played it. Drove the net against a slower defenseman, got his rebound and put it in.
4 — Phil was instrumental in Phaneuf getting a power play goal a little bit later on. Our captain made a great play on the boards to keep the puck alive in the zone, it got to Kessel, who made a through the leg pass to a well positioned Phaneuf, and Dion makes no mistake. Wonderful.
5 — The Thrill continued to add to his great performance in the second period by feeding Bozak with a fantastic stretch pass who then cashes in and increases the lead to 3.
6 — One thing I noticed is how much better our transition game has looked of late. That does coincide with the Liles comeback but even before that we were really making much better use of the breakout pass and our speed through the neutral zone in the last couple of games.
7 — Luke Schenn scored after an extremely patient passing play. With that great pass Lupul got his second point (2 assists) on the night for his new career high in points scored. Congratulations Lupes!
8 — A couple of points on James Reimer vs Jonas Gustavsson debate. When both him and Gus play their A game, Reimer is the better goalie. Gus has improved in a lot of areas but Reimer—s composure and far better fundamentals lead to him being a better overall netminder. When Gus is on his game he still tends to give up bad goals, even if he makes tremendous saves at times. Tonight we saw what a picture perfect Reimer looks like. So, you be the judge; I say Reimer but I also say why make that choice now, both are playing much better hockey of late and we should be glad about that. But it isn’t just them, it’s much improved overall team defense.
9 — Our penalty killing in 2012 has been nothing short of amazing. The PK went 3/3 tonight and we still haven—t allowed a PP goal in this calendar year. We scored 2 power play goals as Franson got on the end of yet another good passing play. Both special teams worked like a charm. Looking at it from Jan. 3rd to Feb. 4th this was the Leafs‘ 5th shutout in that time frame. Reimer’s second straight shutout and it wasn’t an easy one – 49 saves.
10 — This was a very important win. We have 3 games in hand on the Senators and this win shaved their advantage to just one point. Bzzzzzzzt (sound of a blue and white electric razor). Like Reimer, this night was picture perfect.