The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled out a big 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Air Canada Centre last night. Nazem Kadri scored twice, James van Riemsdyk had the game-winning goal and Jonathan Bernier was magnificent in a 40-save performance.
Here is one of those saves. It is a thing of beauty.
The top line continues to dominate and I’ve really liked the look of the second line since Nikolai Kulemin was bumped up. There are bound to be changes to the bottom two lines with David Clarkson and Trevor Smith coming back from injuries soon, but I can’t see how Randy Carlyle can make any changes to the top two lines when they’re playing this well.
One player I hope sticks around when Clarkson comes back is Troy Bodie. I think he’s shown he deserves to at least be on the fourth line. But then again, I thought the same thing about Jerry D’Amigo, and he was demoted to the Toronto Marlies.
Steve Tzemis of The LeafsNation shares my pro-Bodie stance. Probably the most frustrating thing about the Carlyle era is his stubborn refusal to sit Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren and employ an actually skilled fourth line. Sigh.
TSN’s Jonas Siegel has more on last night’s game and a few points about van Riemsdyk’s breakout year.
Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night In Canada released this week’s edition of 30 Thoughts yesterday. He mentions in it that the Leafs were one of only three teams that showed interest in acquiring Michael Del Zotto from the New York Rangers. He ended up being moved to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Klein.
Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting there is likely to be four outdoor games next year, and there are plenty of teams in the running to host. Right now we know Washington, D.C. will get the Winter Classic, while Winnipeg will get the Heritage Classic. Ottawa is expected to get an outdoor game as well. The story is from Mike Halford of ProHockeyTalk.
As we move closer to the Winter Games in Sochi, Patrick Helper of Too Many Men On The Site shares a few interesting facts about this year’s Games. The Russian team will have a little extra, uh, motivation to bring home the gold.