The Toronto Maple Leafs salvaged a split on their two-game trip to Florida with a 4-0 victory over the Panthers on Thursday. After out shooting the Tampa Bay Lightning the night before and losing, the Leafs looked more like themselves by getting out shot 34-17 and pulling out a win.
Despite coming away with two points, the Leafs still shouldn’t be overly pleased with the victory. Keep in mind Florida is a last place team and they still out-played the Leafs for stretches of this one, and Toronto was only able to generate one power play opportunity.
Here are some things that stood out from the game.
With Tyler Bozak given the night off to rest some bumps and bruises, Nazem Kadri was moved up to play with Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. The trio clicked well and combined for five points and a plus-6 rating. Kadri will eventually become the number one centre for this team, especially if the Leafs can’t re-sign Bozak in the summer, but it was good to see the chemistry now in case the Leafs need to spark their offense in the playoffs.
MacArthur and Frattin
Clarke MacArthur broke a 15 game goal scoring drought and his tally was assisted by Matt Frattin, who had his second straight strong game. It’s important for some of the depth players to contribute, as come the playoffs, Toronto is going to need everyone chipping in. Not to mention that someone like Frattin may be playing more regularly in place of Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren in the post-season.
I thought Randy Carlyle might give Ben Scrivens one final start here, but I suppose he wanted to keep Reimer sharp. It turned out to be the right call as the Leafs were once again badly out shot. In fact, Toronto only managed a single shot on goal in the third period to Florida’s 16. Reimer stood tall playing on back-to-back nights and made 34 stops for his fourth shutout of the year.
Although these final few games are still important, they are not as crucial as staying healthy for the playoffs. That’s why I’m sure there was plenty of panic from Leaf fans when they saw Kadri rolling around the ice throwing punches wildly at Alex Petrovic of all people. It wouldn’t have taken much for Kadri to have injured a shoulder in that situation and everyone needs to be smarter when it comes to fisticuffs.