The Good, The Bad and Don't Fight Mike Brown

A great way to open the new-look Madison Square Garden, if you ask me. The Leafs looked pretty sloppy in the opening 20, but locked things down after a weak goal squeaked through the Monster, and dominated play over the last two periods. Jonas Gustavsson earned his first full win (Reimer did play the first period of the game in Montreal on Saturday) of the season, and the Leafs got goals from all four of their lines, a real solid team win all around.

The Good

  • I don’t know what to think of the Monster anymore. Just when I want to have faith in him, he lets in a softie like that first one tonight. Then he shuts things down for the majority of the evening, albeit against a Rangers team that, even though they have some quality scorers on their club, seems to have trouble scoring goals this season. A good effort from him, nonetheless, and with Reimer being placed on IR this afternoon, it’s a pretty safe bet he gets the crease on Saturday against the Penguins.
  • Welcome back, Clarke MacArthur. Alot of people were getting fed up with the MGK line early, even though I thought they had done a pretty good job up and down the ice, and just hadn’t gotten the production to go with it. MacArthur’s first goal of the year may not have been the prettiest, but blasting a clapper through Henrik Lundqvist isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.
  • Matthew Lombardi, Joffrey Lupul and Mike Brown rounded out the scoring for the Buds. Always good to see scoring from all four lines.
  • Dion Phaneuf didn’t register a point tonight, but he’s been great all year defensively as well. He led all skaters with nearly 27 minutes of ice time, and was solid up and down the ice. Carl Gunnarsson seems to be continuing to come along nicely, adding an assist of his own.
  • The penalty kill was perfect tonight, including a crucial 4-on-3 early in the first that I really think helped turn the momentum almost as much as our highlight of the night did.
The Bad
  • The new ice at MSG. The puck was bouncing all over the place, more than a couple players lost their footing, it just wasn’t pretty.
  • The powerplay – I feel like this could be written after every game, and I’m going to keep writing it. 0-for-4, including the last powerplay which saw the Rangers generate more scoring opportunities while it seemed like the Leafs were happy to just run the clock off with a two-goal lead.
  • What is up with Luke Schenn? I didn’t think he played all that bad tonight, but he still only saw 13:12 of ice time, the least of all defensemen. With Phaneuf playing the way he is, if Schenn could step up like he did last season, it would make the Leafs’ defensive game exponentially better.
Highlight of the Night:
I felt like this fight was a real turning point in the game, and not just because I love watching Brown drop the gloves. If there’s anyone that reminds me of the way guys used to throw em when I grew up, it’s Brown, who seems to just lower his head and fire away until his opponent hits the deck or the refs break it off. Enjoy!

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Tags: Carl Gunnarsson Clarke MacArthur Dion Phaneuf Henrik Lundqvist Joffrey Lupul Jonas Gustavsson Luke Schenn Madison Square Garden Mike Brown New York Rangers Toronto Maple Leafs

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