I’ve been trying to come up with something for post-games. When the Leafs win, I’m usually too giddy to put together a well-thought out, rational recap, and when they lose, I like to drink heavily. So I’ve decided to boil it down to all the bare essentials. What went right, what went wrong, and the best highlight of the night.
- James Reimer sure did a hell of a job shutting up all the naysayers, at least for a day or two. A 32-save performance earned the stud his 4th career shutout, and he pretty much singlehandedly carried the Leafs for the first period, while the rest of the team skated around like they were knee-deep in pudding. Let’s hope he keeps it rolling, because if he plays like that all year long, we’re in damn good shape.
- Dion Phaneuf came out looking like he’s gonna do his damndest to get back to the Phaneuf of old. An assist on the first goal and uncorking that bomb of a shot to give the Leafs some cushion is a great start for the captain. Oh yea, and I’m pretty sure he’s been getting some staring lessons from former Blue Jay Dave Stewart.
- The Grabovski line looked great all-around, even in the first period for the most part. Matt Frattin didn’t look outta place at all, and did all the little things right, especially in his own end. Hopefully Nazem Kadri was taking notes. Grabbo looks poised to have an even better year than last season – his puck control is ridiculous, and he’s playing with a whole new level of confidence. Really pissed off I missed out on him in my fantasy draft this season. (At least I got Kulie)
- Was that really Phil Kessel playing some responsible defense?? Kessel didn’t score, but almost got an empty-netter, and got robbed after a filthy move that left both Jaroslav Spacek and Carey Price sprawling. Wish he coulda roofed that one, but if he dedicates himself to being a more complete player, that line won’t be such a liability for once.
- Welcome aboard Matthew Lombardi and Dave Steckel! Lombardi really changed the momentum of the whole game with his shorthanded goal early in the second while all the suits that can afford those gray seats in the lower bowl were still getting their cotton candy and $40 martinis. It wasn’t the prettiest goal in the world, but man is he fast. Steckel was 72% in the faceoff circle, played a ton of minutes on the PK, and took nearly 25 draws. Great last minute pickup.
- Finally, dare I say it? Mike Komisarek had a good game, ladies and gentlemen. Blocked shots, stayed in position, played physical (and didn’t take any dumb penalties), and didn’t get turnstiled by the smaller, faster Montreal forwards. Good things.
- Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. The Leafs could have opened a bake shop in the first period. Defense and forwards alike were to blame for some costly mistakes that could have blown this game wide open for the Habs very early, if not for Reimer.
- The powerplay. Clearly not fixed. I was very worried that the inability to convert on the 5-on-3 was going to come back to bite them, thankfully, it didn’t.
- No fights – personal preference of mine, but it’s not like any of those fairies from MTL were gonna tangle with Jay Rosehill or Mike Brown and that mustache. On a sidenote – Don Cherry was bang on for most of his rant during the first intermission. I’ve stayed pretty silent on the whole hitting, headshots thing, but I’m going to have to put together a rational, logical piece on it in the near future. Glad to see that #thegoodolecanadianway started trending on Twitter during Coach’s Corner – at least I’m not alone.
Tags: Carey Price Dave Steckel Dion Phaneuf James Reimer Jaroslav Spacek Jay Rosehill Matt Frattin Matthew Lombardi Mike Brown Mike Komisarek Montreal Canadiens Nazem Kadri Phil Kessel Toronto Maple Leafs