The opposite of the typical Leaf game from earlier in the season. A decent even-strength performance by the Leafs, but the game was lost on special teams and an uncharacteristic bad goal on the Leaf netminder. The Leafs again played the Bruins pretty even, but can’t find a way to beat this team.

1 – An excellent opening period of hockey from the Leafs. Toronto came out with a better energy level in the back to back situation than the Bruins, and outworked them for much of the period.

2 – Jake Gardiner continues to make good things happen, jumping up into the play 12 minutes into the 1st period. With Holland on briefly with Raymond and Clarkson, Pete jumped on a rebound off of Gardiner’s second shot at the net and jammed it in at the back post. Good work around the net by David Clarkson to draw attention and open up some space.

3 – John-Michael Liles made a couple of clever little plays in the first period to evade a forechecker and get the Leafs out of the zone. He combined with Gardiner for some nice puck movement on powerplay unit #2 on the Leafs‘ lone powerplay in the period. Throughout the game, he also helped sustain some cycles with timely pinching, an asset of a mobile D. Unfortunately, Liles left the game after taking a hit pinching down the boards in the third, and it looked as though his head was jarred on the contact.

4 – For whatever reason, this team has been unable to sustain the intensity level for 60 minutes at any point this season, and started losing the lion’s share of puck battles in the second period. Combine that with avoidable penalties, a bad goal on Bernier, and you’ve got the makings of a nightmare period. Come the end of 40, it was 3-1 Bruins.

5 – It all started with a puck-over-the-glass delay of game call against Carter Ashton. The Leafs won two draws to start this penalty kill, but couldn’t clear on either. On the second draw win, Dion Phaneuf didn’t get his clearance airborne after the faceoff win, which sent the PK scrambling. Gunnarsson was late arriving to pick up a man in front, and after a couple of passes Carl Soderberg made it 1-1 on the doorstep.

6 – A minute later, Carl Gunnarsson hammered a pointshot into a shinpad and took a hooking penalty scrambling back. The Leafs went right back to the PK. Another blown clearance – this time from Mason Raymond – led to a goal against. A hard shot from the left circle from Tory Krug, according to Jonathan Bernier, took a deflection off Jake Gardiner’s shin pad and in. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead just like that.

Looking forward to Gus’ system analysis early this week on what’s slipped on this penalty kill. It is certainly being put to work far too often. The Leafs lead the league in penalty kill time with over 121 minutes against over 31 games. It’s not always defensive zone penalties, and it doesn’t seem to be 100% related to zone time – the Leafs are taking dumb penalties all over the ice.

7 – With four minutes to go in the second period, a point shot off a lost draw got through Jonathan Bernier’s legs for a goal that needed to be stopped. That stood up as the game winner.

8 – After a draw win by McClement in the first minute of the third period, McClement beat Soderberg to the front of the net and finished off the rebound from Kulemin and Holland’s shots. Finally, some secondary point production, i.e. points from players not named JvR, Kessel, Kadri or Raymond. Holland had a goal and an assist; Clarkson grabbed an assist, his first point in 8 games; Jay McClement scored his first of the season (and just his third point).

There were a couple of good cycle shifts by a thrown-together combination of Kulemin, McClement and Holland in the third period.

9 – This game was over after Milan Lucic went in beast mode with four minutes to go. Phil Kessel gave up on the battle after getting beat to the puck in the offensive zone, Dion Phaneuf got caught flat footed and was skated around with ease, Lucic – with a full head of steam through the neutral zone – gained the edge on Carl Gunnarsson and found Jarome Iginla in front to put the game out of reach at 4-2.

10 – An empty netter from Patrice Bergeron made this game look more out of reach than it was. This was a winnable game, and the Leafs inability to avoid their one-horrendous-period and stupid penalty habits sunk them tonight.

In terms of the performance of the Leafs’ best players tonight, we may have been seeing the after effects of 28 minutes for Phaneuf and 24-25 minutes for JvR, Kessel and Kadri last night, as feared. On the upside, the Leafs got a kick in terms of secondary production to at least keep them in this game. Still not good enough. The 5-game stretch from hell starts with a loss, and the disappointing part is that there was at least a point to be had.


3D. PhaneufD000-2033110-5:46:002:25:0022:05:00
4C. FransonD0001015210-3:08:001:07:0021:26:00
11J. McClementC101104100074%0:08:002:25:0012:59:00
12M. RaymondL0000030010-2:10:001:20:0018:19:00
15P. RangerD000-1024002-0:00:001:17:0017:45:00
21J. van RiemsdykL000-2033002-5:42:000:43:0024:48:00
23T. SmithC000-100220061%2:10:000:11:0017:08:00
24P. HollandC112201000040%0:00:000:00:0010:35:00
26J. LilesD000-1001211-2:14:000:05:0017:17:00
29J. D'AmigoR000-1002000-0:00:001:07:005:00:00
36C. GunnarssonD000-1222420-0:08:001:46:0016:06:00
37C. AshtonR00002110000%0:08:000:00:005:29:00
38F. McLarenL0000000000-0:00:000:00:003:44:00
41N. KuleminL0111023200-0:08:001:23:0012:29:00
43N. KadriC000-220200141%5:42:000:00:0023:23:00
51J. GardinerD0112013100-4:44:000:34:0025:21:00
71D. ClarksonR0110234130-4:17:000:00:0018:34:00
81P. KesselC000-2060010-5:35:000:05:0024:36:00
45J. Bernier34 - 380.895057:19:00
60 %
60 %
65 %
Special Teams
10 %
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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosted "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covered the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at