For the first time this year, the Leafs were clearly the superior team in Tuesday’s game against Colorado.

They dominated the ES chances, especially in an effective third period, when they chased down an Avalanche lead and threatened to win in regulation before Kessel settled the game with a piece of overtime magic. There’s a lot of positives to take from this game.

Edit: Since this is my first post here at MLHS, I should add a little background. I’m tracking scoring chances using the relatively common ‘home plate’ approach, as described at In Lou We Trust, among other places. Scoring chance data is fun to track, but comes with some caveats. First, for the most part, over the long term, it converges with a team’s Corsi. Last year, the two measures ended up about a percentage point apart, with the Leafs getting ~44% of ES chances. In addition, scoring chances are obviously smaller sample size, so we need to be careful about making substantial conclusions using them. A couple of bad shifts can impact player’s stats for a game much more than is the case with a stat like Corsi. As well, information like competition and zone starts aren’t directly factored in, so players utilized defensively will rank more poorly than their play deserves; that’s fine, as long as we keep it in mind. I also like to take a look at some of the other comparisons you can draw from this data, like which players are on for the fewest chances per ice time, or which lines have been best at generating chances together. That stuff is even more prone to small sample size effect, and I’d treat that more for fun and to provoke further study than as any kind of firm conclusion. You can follow me at @BAWdisease on twitter.

StatusOverallESESCL
TeamTORCOL%TORCOL%TORCOL%
14450.003442.863442.86
28466.675455.565455.56
310471.429469.2340100
41150.001150.0000-
Total231363.89181358.0612860

The Leafs dominated the final period in particular, and while some of that is score effects, they actually had a much better margin after the game was tied, not allowing the Avalanche a regulation chance.

Details are below.

ClubStPTimeTScOscNoteTorontoColorado
COLEN119:4800Duchene from McGinn42812112443491211261
TOREN113:5400Santorelli wraparound2547713434294840481
COLEN113:3200Tanguay from Berry25477135034294840481
TOREN113:0200Winnik deflects Percy shot wide2642431946509045925171
TOREN110:0600GOAL! Van Riemsdyk from Kessel428121343491211481
COLEN106:4601GOAL! O'Rielly from loose puck428121465034901292461
TOREN105:3411Kadri drives2643193434912405171
COLEN100:0311Everberg drives42812146503494592261
COLEN218:4311O'Rielly from Landeskog2643193434904592481
TOREN216:3611Bozak wide from Kessel428121343491211261
COLEN215:5211Landeskog wraparound42812134349045925171
COLEN215:3911O'Rielly drives42812134349045925171
TOREN213:4611Winnik from loose puck2643193434912115171
TORPP211:5711Bozak from rebound of Kessel shot428121450349055681-
TOREN211:3411Van Riemsdyk from Kessel42812144434259012681
TOREN209:4811Kadri wraparound264319346349045922171
TORPP205:3611Bozak deflects Percy shot4281214503490555171-
COLEN202:2011GOAL! Duchene from Iginla4381193434912112171
TOREN201:3212Clarkson from Bozak42712112443494840261
TORPP200:0712Phaneuf from Kessel42812134344055681-
TOREN319:1612Van Riemsdyk deflects Kessel shot4281214503491211461
COLEN318:1712Everberg drives wide254771465034904592481
TOREN317:4412Kadri drives26431912443494592581
COLEN317:1812Duchene wide from giveaway264319124434912115171
TOREN316:3212Franson from Kessel42812134342912116171
TOREN313:2512Santorelli from rebound of Clarkson shot254771465034294840481
COLEN312:4812Everberg wide from Landeskog264319124434904592261
COLEN311:1912Duchene wraparound42812135034912115171
TOREN309:2412GOAL! Lupul from loose puck26431934349045925171
TOREN308:5222Lupul wide from Winnik2643193434904592261
TOREN308:0522Kessel drives428121465034912114171
TOREN308:0122Kessel from rebound428121465034912114171
TORPP303:2522Lupul from loose puck438119445034912261-
TOREN301:4622Bozak wraparound42812146503491211261
COLEN404:4522McKinnon wide from Duchene42813434-929241-
TOREN404:2622GOAL! Kessel drives42813434-929241-

The player-by-player data:

PlayerFADTOIESFESAESDESTOIESCLFESCLAESCLD
Phaneuf117424:18107316:26752
Franson145921:23115615:30743
Robidas23-113:2823-112:52110
Panik00004:4400004:44000
Lupul84419:2164216:08422
Van Riemsdyk126619:3096313:07752
Holland00004:3100004:31000
Santorelli22011:3722011:37110
Winnik73418:2363314:22413
Bozak147719:43107313:46752
Kadri84420:1564216:30422
Rielly43118:1033015:07211
Polak63320:2153216:02422
Komarov22014:3222011:19110
Percy95423:3455016:53330
Kozun00005:5000004:18000
Clarkson32115:5132112:34211
Kessel138521:0198114:52660
Reimer2213960:341813546:061284

In a major contrast to the previous games, there’s a lot of positive things going on for the Leafs on the night, led by the second line, which has been consistently strong. Daniel Winnik had a great night, setting up the chance on the equalizer with a good forecheck, and Lupul had some good chances as well. The top line had a typical night, generating a lot of chances, but also being very vulnerable defensively. If the Leafs can consistently get strong nights from the second line, they could be successful this season.

On defence, Franson had a strong game, and Phaneuf was good as well; even Polak managed to get onto the positive side of the ledger. Percyhad some great plays, but also some errors, as expected from a young defenceman, ending up even.

Cumulative numbers this season:

OverallPos#ESFESAESDES%AvESTOIESClFESClAESClDESCL%
FransonD21414050.00%13:4887153.30%
LupulF41719-247.20%14:5198152.90%
KadriF41620-444.40%14:471010050.00%
WinnikF41211152.20%13:0677050.00%
ClarksonF41713456.70%11:4878-146.70%
ReimerG22933-446.80%43:031519-444.10%
RiellyD41621-543.20%14:5579-243.80%
PhaneufD42528-347.20%16:591116-540.70%
PercyD41621-543.20%16:27711-438.90%
KomarovF41311254.20%11:3658-338.50%
Van RiemsdykF42030-1040.00%14:33915-637.50%
PolakD41322-937.10%17:30713-635.00%
BozakF42228-644.00%14:26815-734.80%
GardinerD2910-147.40%16:2636-333.30%
SantorelliF41210254.50%11:3948-433.30%
KesselF42133-1238.90%15:11816-833.30%
BernierG32538-1339.70%35:34919-1032.10%
HollandF4412-825.00%7:1725-328.60%
RobidasD41526-1136.60%15:55514-926.30%
KozunF4514-926.30%8:2639-625.00%
FrattinF113-225.00%9:1103-30.00%
PanikF316-514.30%6:0902-20.00%

Winnik has done well on that second line, which along with the third line, have been pretty good for Toronto, particularly in the last two games. The top line is still the dilemma; no line can match their pure production, but they give too many opportunities to opponents to be the core of a top contending team. Franson has had a great two game start, and Phaneuf has done alright as well. Robidas had a couple of bad errors in this game, and he and Polak have definitely been the weak links.

GameOppOverall   ES   ES Cl   
TotalChFChANet%ChFChANet%ChFChANet%
All8787050.00%5471-1743.20%2438-1438.70%
4COL2213962.90%1813558.10%128460.00%
3NYR2525050.00%1423-937.80%311-821.40%
2PIT2026-643.50%816-833.30%01-10.00%
1MTL2023-346.50%1419-542.40%918-933.30%