The Toronto Maple Leafs put forth a laudable road effort in front of a raucous Boston crowd in a rough and entertaining affair tonight, but ultimately fell 3-1 to the Boston Bruins. Hockey is a cruel game sometimes, and the Leafs simply didn’t put in a full 60-minute effort, and even though there were some positives, the NHL standings will still list “6” under the “L” column beside the Leafs’ name tomorrow morning. Here are some thoughts on the game:
A Tale Of Two Periods
The first period was an unadulterated mess for the Leafs. There was one stretch in which the Leafs were hemmed in their end of the ice for probably close to two minutes straight…at even strength. The Bruins eventually tallied a goal on the power play when Zdeno Chara banged in the puck from the doorstep off a scramble.
The second period, however, was completely different. The Leafs started getting more physical; Dion Phaneuf had a big hit, and David Clarkson dropped the mitts with Jarome Iginla. For one reason or another, the Leafs seemed to use the fight as motivation, and clearly drove play for the rest of the period. Joffrey Lupul scored a really nice goal off the rush when he fired a snapshot from the circle to the left of Tuukka Rask over his short-side shoulder. The Leafs were able to take the game into the second intermission tied.
Shot To The Heart
(I sincerely apologize for the Bon Jovi pun. Wait, no I don’t. Deal with it.)
I’m not sure what the statistic is, but I can tell you the vast majority of games this season the Leafs have been outshot, and most of those haven’t been close. But in this game, the Leafs finished with 34 shots; the exact same number as the Bruins. Miraculously, the Leafs actually won the corsi battle (in five-on-five, close-score situations) 37-36. That might only be a difference of one shot attempt, but if you’ve been watching the Leafs this season, you know any victory on the shot counter is significant.
Reimer Is Still Reimer
James Reimer was his usual magnificent self, making a bunch of big saves on the Bruins. If it wasn’t for Reimer, the Leafs could have easily ended that first period down 4-0. Unfortunately for the Leafs, Rask was great on the other end as well. If I was naming the Three Stars for this game, I would just have the two goalies there and throw out the third star. Who cares about the third star anyway? Better yet, who cares about any of the three stars? Whatever, I’m done here.