Toronto Maple Leafs Week In Review: March 1-7


Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Leafs kicked off March with three games in the month’s first week. They saw action in Montreal and Manhattan for a pair of Original Six games as well as a game against Metro-division opponents the Columbus Blue Jackets. Besides game action the Leafs saw the trade deadline come and go without any Leafs transactions.

The fourth of five Leafs-Canadiens, the Leafs victors in two of the three previous games. The Leafs got off to a characteristically slow start, allowing two goals in the first period before James van Riemsdyk scored with a lucky deflection to make it 2-1 before Coach’s Corner. JVR scored the next goal in the third period after a scoreless second, this time grabbing Andrei Markov’s giveaway and slipping the puck between Peter Budaj’s pads for his second short-handed goal of the year. Just minutes later the Red Sea of Montreal players parted for Phil Kessel and he got in alone on Budaj, scoring his 33rd. PK Subban tied things back up with a powerplay goal a few minutes later, sending the game to overtime. Montreal got another powerplay in overtime, this time because Jonathan Bernier covered the puck far away from his crease, and Max Pacioretty scored his second of the night to finish off Toronto.

The Leafs hosted Columbus next for the last game of their season series, the Blue Jackets having taken home all previous games. The first period was scoreless, Sergei Bobrovsky and James Reimer both standing tall in net. Dalton Prout’s first goal of the year broke the tie, and was quickly followed by Artem Anisimov’s 16th, making it 2-0 Columbus. It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the third period that the Leafs began showing some interest in offense, Mason Raymond scored his 15th with a perfect slap shot over Bobrovsky’s blocker. This would be all she wrote for Toronto though, the game ended 2-1.

Before next game was the NHL’s trade deadline, this year Leafs mentioned in trade speculation  included Nikolai Kulemin, Mason Raymond, Dave Bolland, and James Reimer. None of these names would move though as Dave Nonis told Toronto media that prices were simply too high and he did not want to mortgage the future for a rental player. Though the specifics were not given, it was reported that the Leafs made an offer for Thomas Vanek better than Montreal’s, but couldn’t come to an agreement on how Vanek’s cap hit would be split up, meaning that the Austrian is now a member of les bleu, blanc et rouge.

The Leafs were in New York for a game against the Rangers that night, for whom Martin St. Louis would make his debut after being traded for Ryan Callahan. It took no time for Brad Richards to find chemistry with St. Louis, the two were linemates for Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup run. The pair were a threat to score in nearly every shift they took. The first period was scoreless though it didn’t take long in the second for things to get underway, Tyler Bozak scored on a penalty shot for the Leafs less than two minutes into the frame. Nazem Kadri doubled the Leafs’ lead in the third period with an early goal after Kulemin made a great play to set him up. Soon after this Richards took a tripping penalty, giving the Leafs and opening to finish New York on the powerplay. It didn’t go quite so well however, the powerplay turned out to be a comedy of errors and the Rangers tied things up with two shorthanded goals in the next 90 seconds. This was the second instance of allowing two shorthanded goals on the same powerplay in a week for the Leafs, they allowed the Islanders to accomplish the same feat in their game last week. The Leafs-Rangers game went into overtime when Bozak got to be the hero again, he roofed Kessel’s behind the net pass for a 3-2 win.