The Toronto Maple Leafs provided a clinic in beating the 'vaunted' 1-3-1 of Bond Supervillain Guy Boucher as they pasted the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-1 on the strength of the youngest roster in the NHL. I guess you could even say that the book is out on Tampa. The Lightning have given up 67 goals this year so I guess the book's been making the rounds.
The Leafs took advantage of the Lightning's lack of discipline (don't supervillains always get undone by their henchmen?) got them into penalty trouble and up stepped the league's third best powerplay. Turns out that Ron Wilson may not be much of a coach but he can see the future:
"Our power play, especially thefirst unit, is scary-dangerous right now." - Ron Wilson, October 3, 2010
Two goals later and a close contest was on its way to becoming a quite enjoyable rout. First, Tim Connolly neatly redirected a Nikolai Kulemin feed past Dwayne "Old Balls" Roloson. In the final minute of the period, on a 5-on-3, Tyler Bozak picked up his first of the game by knocking home a rebound off of Phil Kessel's wrister.
Quotes and highlights after the jump.Tyler Bozak had a hell of a game. After scoring the powerplay goal, he out thought Dwayne Roloson for an extremely rare 3-on-3 goal as Old Man River made a beautiful bank pass to him for a tap in at the side of the net. That play led to the always hilarious (maybe not always intentionally) Greg Millen:
"The one thing Roloson doesn't do really well is handle the puck"
|2011 - Dwayne Roloson||14||728||6||6||1||42||3.46||373||331||.887||1|
I might add "stopping pucks" to the list of things that Roloson doesn't do really well anymore. For comparison's sake, here are the stats for the much maligned Jonas Gustavsson who just wins:
|2011 - Jonas Gustavsson||11||580||6||4||0||31||3.21||306||275||.899||2|
Bozak also added an assist on Joffrey Lupul's laser snipe which chased the NHL's collective grandpa from the net with a nice drop pass after Dion Phaneuf had judiciously pinched and kept the attack alive. Wilson was asked about Bozak's play which has seen him pick up four goals and five assists in his last seven games Ron Wilson had this to say:
"Last year was like no matter how he played he was going to be in the lineup. He knows Grabbo is only a week maybe out if that much and he's competing as hard as he can to stay on that line. I mean, I'm rewarding him by continuing to play him on that line because Timmy Connolly is able to play with anybody and make them better."
One of the things that MF37, Chemmy, and I talked about on our last podcast after Connolly was signed was that, along with Colborne's development, that it gave the Leafs' more depth down the middle. When the trade for David Steckel was made I thought that that might leave him as the odd man out. Maybe he had the same premonition because he's quietly put together a good bounceback season. He's almost 50% of his production from last year and, for what it's worth, he's a plus player so far on the season.
Speaking of Connolly, his coach and Bozak threw some laurels his way as well:
"Yeah, well you know that line has struggled for whatever reason and Timmy has come in and made some simple plays."
- Ron Wilson
"Whenever TC's in the lineup he makes our team better."
- Tyler Bozak
He might not have played every game this year but you cannot say he hasn't made an impact:
|2011 - Tim Connolly||10||3||7||10||0||8||2||0||0||2||15||20|
And last, but not least, Matt Frattin returned the favour by setting up Joe Colborne's first career NHL goal. Both of the assists he picked up were on rushes that looked a lot like the highlights he was racking up last year while dominating the NCAA. If his luck has finally turned then he might be able to provide the Leafs with tertiary scoring. And if that can be somewhat consistent then maybe we'll see a few more 7-1 wins.
GAME IN SIX