Last night the Leafs beat the hated Montreal Canadiens 5-4 in overtime. It was an exciting game from start to finish. Mikhail Grabovski scored the OT winner on a move that looked like the game version of his shootout goal vs. St Louis last year.
There were a lot of interesting story lines from this game so let’s begin.
- David Steckel (that sniper…) now has 2 goals in 2 games. I’ve been really impressed with Steckel through the first 7 games and that’s just because of faceoffs. So now if he can chip in with some goals here or there then that would just be an added bonus!
- Phil Kessel continued his hot streak with a 2 point night (1G, 1A) and leads the NHL in points (14) and tied for the lead in goals (8). Here’s to hoping this isn’t just one of his hot streaks then goes on a typical cold spell.
- Jake Gardiner. I REALLY like Gardiner. He had a terrific pre-season then kind of struggled in his first couple regular season games and ended up being a healthy scratch. Now he’s really picked it up. His numbers don’t jump off the page (2 assists in 5 games) but his defensive game and puck moving ability has really shone. He’s averaged roughly 22 minutes per game since being a healthy scratch and an average of 25 shifts a game. If he keeps playing like he has, then some of the other defensemen could become trade bait.
- Guess who’s tied for the lead in defensemen points? Yep, that’s right Dion Phaneuf. The captain has been great so far this year and it looks like he’s back to the old Dion that we knew from Calgary. He had a 2 point game last night (1G, 1A) and again logged the most minutes on the blueline for the Leafs. Will he win the Norris? Ehh maybe not. Can we hope? Of course!
- The powerplay was 2 of 7 tonight. While 2 goals is a success, the overall powerplay is still struggling. They are 15th ranked with a 16.7% efficiency but it just looks sluggish and ineffective. Maybe it’s just me but I think the powerplay has some work to do.
- Luke Schenn again got low minutes last night, getting only 12 minutes of ice-time. But honestly, I didn’t think he was that bad. He took a bad penalty but if that’s why Wilson didn’t play him then that’s not fair considering Jake Gardiner took a bad penalty tonight as well. He played well in the game vs. Boston (+2 in a 6-2 loss) and I think he played well vs. the Habs.
- I don’t want to beat this guy up even more considering media and fans do it all the time, so I’ll keep this short, Mike Komisarek has just been bad. There, done.