Battle of Ontario Round 1 - Toronto

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Before writing anything about the game tonight, it should be universally noted that the Maple Leafs played what amounted to an American Hockey League team, with a few veterans for good measure. Ignoring that fact, the Leafs still banked another two points off a division team, and for the second consecutive Saturday night did not allow a goal in doing so. All in all, a pretty good night for the Buds.

Observations

– Two weeks ago when last writing a summary, I believe I referred to having Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr both in the line up as folly. I am wrong, the players appear to have hockey value. The meathead line is now broken up, at least temporarily with injuries, but the players individually have been effective. It seems like the whole “defending our skill players” philosophy is maybe more myth than reality though. Not one Ottawa Senator avoided Phil Kessel tonight in fear of the goons. Chris Neil wanted no part of McLaren or Orr, preferring to take a run at getting Mike Brown to go. Brown wisely declined.

– The more I watched him tonight, the more one aspect of Ben Scrivens’ game stood out. His style is far from orthodox, but his athleticism is really what makes him perform well. It’s a trait that is reminiscent of Curtis Joeseph, where he would always seem to make the save, no matter how ugly it looked. This isn’t saying that Ben Scrivens is the next Curtis Joeseph, just noting the similarity in style.

– The Leafs were celebrating the 1963 Stanley Cup victory tonight, having a huge ceremony to start the game. It is not clear whether the event coordinator that normally arranges these things quit or wasn’t available, but using Ford Mustangs on an ice surface to bring the players out in parade fashion was maybe the biggest mistake made all night. It looked like bumper cars in a winter storm. The thought was fantastic, and the intentions obviously good, but the execution was a little less than ideal. The only part worse was watching a visibly amused Ottawa Senators bench snickering at the less than ideal driving conditions. At least Toronto got the last laugh.

– The Leafs have not allowed a goal on Saturday night since 8:54 of the first period on February 2nd against the Boston Bruins. That would make the streak 191 minutes and six seconds.

– Tonight’s Maddies Mark player of the game was without question Ben Scrivens with 34 saves for his first career shutout, making it one of his best days ever. For more information on how you can provide “best days ever”, visit www.madiesmark.org

And to close, mustangs on parade.

 

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