Wednesday Mashup: Nazmania

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri (43) celebrates a goal against the Buffalo Sabres during the first period of their NHL hockey game in Buffalo, New York March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Doug Benz

Good (victorious) morning, MLHS.

I’m still pretty excited about that second Kadri goal last night (he called it maybe the nicest he’s ever scored). His ninth point in his last seven games, it was a culmination of a good 200-foot sequence by the centerman: Kadri won the defensive zone draw before the puck worked its way around to Kulemin on the far wall. Kadri supported puck, dug it out, handed it off to Gunnarsson, and took off up the ice. Gunnarsson laid in a soft chip into a retrievable area down the left side for Lupul, who found Kadri, as he did all game, driving into the slot. Kadri turned Hedman inside out and deked past Bishop in one fluid movement. Poetry.

Speaking of the defensive zone draw win, Nazem won seven of seven last night and went 63% on the dot overall. If we take it back to a month ago today – back to the December 29th win over Carolina – Nazem Kadri has won 109 draws and lost 98 in the last fifteen games (53%). In his previous 36 games this season, Kadri won 220 and lost 307 (42%). Has something clicked?

If we drop the Dallas game, the Leafs have been making a collection of the best goalies in the game look pretty ordinary of late during this hot stretch: 24 goals total in six games against Rask, Miller, Price, Smith, Varlamov, and Bishop. That’s the offensive capacity of this team, in my eyes. Seeing the top line fly and the Kadri, Kulemin and Lupul trio offer a secondary threat is bringing back memories of last season’s sixth-best offense (league wide). The third line had its moments last night as well, but a piece like Bolland coming back and slotting in on line three could give this team the depth we’ve been pining for. The defense will probably never stop scaring us until its youngins have time to mature and management makes some improvements, but at least there seems to be a little more stability back there – provided Gleason is OK – and of course Bernier’s been there to clean up mess after mess.

Onto the links…

My game review from last night’s win
And Carlyle’s post game presser can be found here.

Jonas Siegel’s post game report
Touches on JvR’s career highs among other things.

Who knew the Lupul, Kadri and Kulemin line was smart?
Stats speak for themselves.

Kadri shines as Leafs cool off surging Lightning
Be nice to see Kadri hit 20 this year after all the huffing and puffing. He’s a playmaker first, but 6 in 26 is doable.

Tim Gleason’s injury isn’t serious according to Carlyle
Looked like it at the time.

Morgan Rielly: after a Leaf win against Tampa, the ceiling looks awfully high…
From Michael at VLM.

Here’s a list of Jonathan Bernier’s games sorted by shots against
That’s a lot of wins with 35 or more saves.

Dave Poulin talks trade deadline, state of the team
Transcription of Poulin’s interview on the radio yesterday.

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • theacs1966

    Don’t discount what Reimer has done this year.  Also, don’t expect too much from Bolland.  Karlsson came back and was able to play in last years playoffs, but he says he didn’t feel right until the halfway point of this season.  Bolland was playing above his head for a short time (15gms) and when he does come back , he will help, but don’t expect the same production out of him.  He may only be at about 70%, it may be as far as he can go.  Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he center’s the fourth line for the first few games.  His timing and conditioning will not be close to game shape, so temper your expectation of him being some kind of savior for the third line, he may not be back to himself till next season, and we don’t even know if he’ll be a Leaf then.  I’ll be glad to see him on the ice, but I’m not expecting him to pick up where he left off, he might be very disappointing, which wouldn’t be his fault just the nature of his injury and the long time off.

  • MaxwellHowe

    Solid game from Naz and Lupul and of course Bernier.  But lets be honest, that game was stolen; it happens and the Leafs will have had a few stolen from them by the end of the year. Between the posts and shot differential, Leafs were lucky to escape.  Especially since the pp and pk stank out the joint.
    But a very good 3rd period from the Leafs.  Strange they play better when tied than with the lead.
    Thing that jumped out at me, in terms of negative – the Leafs concede possession of the puck and their own blueline way too much and way too easily.  That seems to stem from a lack of compete and aggression – not the smashing, facepunching type, but the failure to challenge and battle.
    Oh, and they should rest Gleason for the next game and get Ranger in there.  No ownder Gleason has slowed a step or two in the last few years.  The man has no instinct for self-preservation.

  • MaxwellHowe

    theacs1966 Keep Bolland on the wing for awhile

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Did Tampa get a PP goal last night? The kill at the start of the 3rd was huge

  • Loric76

    theacs1966 Agree completely, except for the “we don’t even know if he’ll be a Leaf then” part.  I firmly believe that unless this season’s Mark Fraser can skate circles around him by playoff time, Nonis will resign him.  He won’t let Bolland walk after spending as much as he did to bring him in, especially with how short Bollands season was.

  • Loric76

    yes.

    https://twitter.com/MikeRichardsTSNhttps://twitter.com/MikeRichardsTSN/status/428497339779514368
    Have you changed your opinion? Does Bernier start every game before the Olympic Break? http://t.co/WU5qzsb8zE

  • Loric76

    MaxwellHowe that post played lights out last night

  • Knights2Leafs

    Nice addendum to last night’s article Alec.  Nice that we have some secondary scoring when RC finally put Lupul back on the left side of Kadri with Kulie on the right.  Even our 3rd line looks good at times.
    Interesting to note that every Tampa player played double digit minutes with the exception of Aulie who played about 5 minutes.  Contrast that with the Leafs where Holland, Bodie, Ashton and Orr all played less than 10 minutes. I really think this factors into the effort or compete level. It’s easier to go full out all the time when 4 lines are rolling.
    I’m ambivalent about Mason.  I don’t hate his game as many on here do, but last night not only did he play with his usual speed game, he was as physical as I’ve seen him play this year.  Hope he keeps that up.

  • Burtonboy

    Loric76 MaxwellHowe Last I heard posts were part of the goalies equipment :)

  • Knights2Leafs

    MaxwellHowe 
    I’d only rest Gleason if he has some lingering effects from the hit.  He may not be a speed demon but he impresses the heck out of me with his ability to pivot quickly away from a forechecker giving him more time and space to clear the puck out of our end.