Monthly Archives: November 2011
By: Adam Basciano
Not even Gordon Bombay, The Flying V, or Joshua Jackson could’ve helped the Anaheim Ducks avoid a 5-2 loss, to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ok “Mighty Ducks” movie puns aside, what do Donald Duck, Darkwing Duck, and Scrooge McDuck have in common? Their all ashamed to share the same last name as that team in Anaheim, which has lost 16 of their last 18 games.
Much like they did in Dallas, the Maple Leafs surrendered the opening goal of the game to Anaheim. The Leafs firecracker of a power play evened the game, thanks to a beautiful set-up completed by Tyler Bozak. Faster than a speeding bullet, Clarke “Superman” MacArthur hammered a shot past Jonas Hiller, putting the Leafs up a goal after one period. In the middle frame, Joey “makes me hungry for fish whenever he scores” Crabb, scored his third goal in as many games, deflecting a Luke Schenn shot. The final period saw Tyler Bozak add another goal to his total, his fifth of the season. Former Duck Joffrey Lupul assisted on both Bozak goals, with Kessel adding one as well. Lupul’s two points is a real feel good story, considering that a back injury and an illness, nearly ended his career. With their assists tonight, Kessel and Lupul are the NHL’s dynamic duo, sitting first and second in NHL point scoring. Kessel has 31, while Lupul has 29. As for which one is Batman and which is Robin, that’s for them to decide. Luke Schenn scored an empty net goal, ending the scoring for the night. Despite allowing goals to Francois Beauchemin and Bobby Ryan, Jonas Gustavsson was excellent in net, stopping 26 shots.
The Leafs will enjoy two days off before playing two games against the Boston Bruins.
By: Adam Basciano
A rare Friday night game turned into a back and forth affair that required a shoot-out, where the Toronto Maple Leafs edged out the Dallas Stars by a 4 -3 count.
The Blue and White trailed early in the game, before Joey Crabb deflected a Dion Phaneuf shot past Kari Lehtonen to tie the game. The Leafs would then take the lead, thanks to a power-play goal from Dion Phaneuf. Dallas would get even in the second period. In the third period just shy of the half way point, Clarke MacArthur scored his 8th of the season, thanks to a heads-up play from Tim Connolly. Late in the third, Dallas tied the game. Overtime solved absolutely nothing, so it was off to a shootout we went. Think about this for a second, there was a stalemate in Texas that required a shooting contest to determine victory. Does that not sound like a classic Western film to anyone else but me? Forget who shot JR? In the year 2011, the question is who shot KL? I’ll tell you who, Joffrey Lupul did. He fired a bullet right through Kari Lehtonen, for the only goal in the shoot-out. The Monster Jonas Gustavsson made 26 saves in regulation and was perfect in the shootout.
The Maple Leafs will end a four game road trip Sunday night, as they face the Anaheim Ducks.
By: Adam Basciano
Despite a strong goaltending effort from Ben Scrivens and a two goal performance by Phil Kessel, it wasn’t enough to overcome a 3-2 loss in Carolina. Ultimately, a sluggish second period and an ill-advised pinch by both members of a defensive pairing cost the Leafs at least a point.
The Leafs continued their four game road trip in Tampa Bay and dominated the Lightening by a 7-1 score! 3 point nights from Tim Connolly and Tyler Bozak were the stand out performances that solidified this result. Bozak had two goals and an assist, while Connolly had a goal and two assists. Clarke MacArthur scored in his first game back coming off an injury. He now has seven on the year. Matt Frattin had two assists as he set up Joey Crabb for his third goal of the season and also made a beautiful pass to Joe Colborne, who notched his first NHL goal. Joffrey Lupul added the Leafs other marker. Special teams were more than special on this night. The Leafs power play netted 2 goals, while the penalty kill only allowed one against. Jonas Gustavsson played another solid game stopping 27 of 28 shots. Oh and before I forget, Phil Kessel notched an assist for his 30th point of the season.
The Maple Leafs will have two nights off before heading to Dallas to take on the Stars on Friday.
By: Adam Basciano
An injury depleted roster was not an issue for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they completely obliterated the Washington Capitals by a score of 7 -1. The top line for the Maple Leafs was a force to be reckoned with as Tyler Bozak, Joffrey Lupul and of course, Phil Kessel all scored a goal. Joffrey Lupul also added 3 assists for a four point night. Bozak and Kessel both had one assist each, giving that entire line a total of 8 points. Even with the top line’s dominance, the Blue & White got plenty of secondary scoring. Tim Connolly got the game’s opening goal, while Matt Frattin scored his first career NHL goal. Frattin’s goal was set up by the recently recalled Joe Colborne. Cody Franson scored his first of the season on the power play, while David Steckel scored short-handed to finish things off.
Toronto’s usually inconsistent special teams, were hotter than Playboy magazine’s Christmas issue (not that I’ve read it, I’m just guessing). 3 goals were scored via the power play, while the penalty killing was a perfect 5/5 on the night. Jonas Gustavsson played his best game in two years stopping 40/41 shots. There’s no question Gustavsson can make big saves. If he could only have some consistency in his game, then he could be part of a great 1/2 punch along with Reimer in net. I also enjoyed watching the Leafs hold Alex Ovechkin pointless. I can’t stand this player. Not because I’m envious of his skill, I just find him to be one of the most arrogant players in the league. Seeing his usual toothless annoying smile replaced by a frown for the majority of the night, certainly put a smile on my face.
The Leafs will look to build on this win Sunday afternoon when they face the Carolina Hurricanes.
By: Adam Basciano
Given that we’re in the midst of the Fall season, it’s normal to see leaves falling from the trees. The Toronto Maple Leafs clearly are experiencing a case of sports imitating life. They have lost 5 of their last 6 games, three of those in a row. As a result, they’ve fallen from first in the Eastern Conference all the way to sixth.
Their last three losses are all the more frustrating. They have outplayed their opponents for the majority of all three games. If not for costly mistakes and 3 superb goaltending performances by the other teams goalies, the Leafs could have won all three. The 5-2 loss to Ottawa is far more inflated due to two empty net goals by the Senators. That loss can be attributed to an ineffective powerplay, and a careless high-sticking double minor penalty, thanks to the wayward stick of Philippe Dupuis. The loss to Phoenix, is a direct result of a slow start in the first period, which saw the Leafs trailing by two goals after only six minutes. A tenacious effort the rest of the way allowed the Blue and White to force a shoot-out, gaining at least a point. The game in Nashville saw defensive miscues from Dion Phaneuf, Carl Gunnarsson, and Luke Schenn directly led to the loss. I’m starting to get a sense of Deja Vu, as this seems to be the Leafs M.O. for the month of November the last few years. Anyone want to start a petition to get the month of November erased from the NHL calendar?
The Maple Leafs are an injured bunch a the moment. They’re without the services of James Reimer, Mike Brown, Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Matthew Lombardi, and Mike Komisarek. As a result Cody Franson will see regular action on defense, while Toronto Marlies leading scorer Joe Colborne has been recalled to fill the void left by Lombardi. The Maple Leafs will look to escape their Fall Funk with games against the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes this weekend.
By: Adam Basciano
With me being a comic book and a Spider – Man fan, a title combining the Leafs and comic books is pretty much inevitable. Much like the fictional Uncle Ben, Scrivens faced a barrage of shots. The difference is, while Uncle Ben succumbed to the pressure of the bullet, Ben Scrivens seemed bullet proof in the Leaf net. Regardless, both Ben’s had a positive effect on the people around them. Uncle Ben’s death inspired Peter Parker to become the hero he never thought he could be. Ben Scrivens’ spectacular saves secured 2 points the Leafs had no business getting.
The Blue & White had a great first period carrying the bulk of the play and out-shooting St. Louis 14 – 8. They were rewarded with two power play goals from John – Michael Liles and Phil (still leading the league in scoring) Kessel. After that, the spotlight turned to the goaltending. The Leafs were out-shot badly for the rest of the game, by a tune of 32 -8. Scrivens stopped 38 of the 40 shots he faced during the game and all 3 in the shoot-out. One save of the many that stands out, is Scrivens’ miraculous glove save on former Leaf Alex Steen. Phil Kessel scored the shootout winner for the Leafs. Despite this being a Leaf blog, I must mention St. Louis Blues player Kevin Shattenkirk. That guy would be extremely popular at Star Trek conventions. I mean really, is that last name not the best unintentional nod to William Shatner and his role as Captain Kirk?
Next up for the Maple Leafs is the annual Hall of Fame Game. The Leafs will face the Ottawa Senators after honouring 3 former Leafs, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour, who will all be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
By: Adam Basciano
Last time I checked, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was held at Exhibition Place. Apparently it moved to the Air Canada Centre on Saturday and Tuesday because their was a heap full of cow dung on the ice where the Leafs usually play! Wait, What? That was the Leafs performance that looked like s#^+ out there? My mistake. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been outscored 12 -1 at home over the past two games in two consecutive losses, with the lone Leaf tally coming off the stick of Phil Kessel.
In the 7-0 loss to the Boston Bruins the forwards and defense were equally terrible, which left rookie goaltender Ben Scrivens helpless to a hungry Boston Bruins team looking to regain their winning way. Worst of all was a hat-trick by Tyler Seguin, who of course was the draft pick we traded away for Phil Kessel. Now we’ll never hear the end of those idiots in Boston chanting “Thank You Kessel” The Leaf players must have mistaken a sweating Ben Scrivens for a wet towel, because they definitely hung him out to dry. In the game against Florida, the reverse happened. It was goaltending that led to the loss. On the first goal, Jonas Gustavsson got turned around (literally) and had a great view of the puck sliding into the net. Sure, Schenn got undressed like a cheap hooker, and Kulemin may have nudged Gustavsson, but he looked like he was doing a pirouette in the crease. The second goal was even worse. Gustavsson came out to settle a puck down behind the net, but somewhere along the way, he forgot the settling the puck part. Hey Jonas, you can barely make a save in the net, what in God’s name possesed you to think you’d be useful handling the puck outside of it? The third goal may or may not have hit a Leaf stick on the way in, so I’ll cut him some slack on that one. Here’s a thought, maybe Gustavsson should remove ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” from his pre-game music playlist and replace it with the Remy Zero song “Save Me.” Maybe it’ll inspire him to, I don’t know, MAKE A SAVE! The damage had been done by the time Ben Scrivens came into the game en route to a 5 -1 loss.
Leafs nation can only hope for more offense, better defense, and a lot more saves when the Maple Leafs visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
By: Adam Basciano
I’ve woken up from this dream several times. It starts with the Leafs being 1st overall and also having the leading goal scorer/point getter in the league! What? It’s real? So, this is what having a winning team feels like? Well call me crazy, but I like it!
The above statement is a factual representation of the current state of affairs in Leaf Nation, after a 4 – 1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Due to the injury to James Reimer and games on back to back nights, Ben Scrivens played in his first NHL game. He didn’t just play, he played fantastic in net. Many will say, “Well, yeah but Columbus is the worst team in the NHL.” When a goalie stops 38 of 39 shots as Scrivens did, I call that an earned and well deserved win. Especially since several of those saves were of the spectacular variety. In fact, Ben Scrivens’ first game reminded me of James Reimer’s first start against Ottawa last January. The Maple Leafs were heavily out shot 38 – 18. While it’s clear great goal-tending won the game, the offense was very potent. Joey Crabb did his best impression of Phil Kessel, scoring on a perfectly placed wrist shot. That’s his second goal in as many games. Meanwhile, Clarke “Superman” MacArthur is back in his super-heroic form from last season, as he scored two goals increasing his season total to 6. After piling up assist after assist, John – Michael Liles scored his first goal as a Leaf, with assists going to Lupul and Kessel.
The Maple Leafs head home on Saturday to face the Boston Bruins, hoping for retribution after their first game against each other in Boston.
By: Adam The Leaf Guru
I could go into a rant about the recent issues we had with Blogger but Dave covered it quite well. As a result, I didn’t get a chance to blog about the game against the Senators. Aside from two goals from Clarke MacArthur, penalty trouble, and an ugly goal by Kaspars “the unfriendly ghost” Daugavins, the Leafs came up just short losing 3-2.
Moving on to last night, the Leafs faced Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils. Remember back in the day when going up against Brodeur was a concern? Well, not anymore! Watching Brodeur was like looking at a dinosaur in a museum. You admire the grandeur they once had, but ultimately you feel bad for the way they went out! Hey New Jersey, maybe it’s time for him to retire! Either way the Leafs won, that’s what matters! Joey Crabb was called up from the minors while Matt Frattin was sent down. Much like one of the Specials at Red Lobster, the Leafs got more than expected out of Crabb, as he scored the games first goal. Ok, so that was a cheesy fish reference but you had to know one was coming when discussing a player named Crabb. Besides, Red Lobster is more flattering than Aquaman, which was my second choice. After New Jersey got the equalizer Grabovski restored the lead, only to have the Devils respond once more. In the second period the game turned into The Joffrey Lupul show, as he scored a hat trick. Lupul now has 8 goals and 6 assists for 14 points. His linemates Phil Kessel and Tim Connolly notched 2 assists on Lupul’s goals. As a result Kessel still leads the NHL in points with 20, while Connolly is proving he’s a point a game player with 4 in as many games. Jonas Gustavsson made 19 saves in the win.
The Maple Leafs penalty killing needs work, and a lot of it. They’ll get a chance to improve on that faltering aspect of their game tonight, when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
By: Dave The BeLEAFer
Our very own Adam The Leaf Guru has been mentioned by name and quoted on one the web’s biggest and best NHL Blogs, PUCK DADDY. In an article written earlier in October, Adam wrote about how the Leafs beat the Flames and how dominant Phil Kessel was in the game.
Here is a snapshot of what was written:
For the full article, click here
Kudos goes out to Adam The Leaf Guru, keep up the great writing!