[LL] Leafs Win Back To Back Games in Alberta On Strength of Goaltending

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

The Leafs went on a road trip and pulled out back-to-back wins, thanks to the strength of skill forwards and goaltending.

The Leafs played a back-to-back against Edmonton and Calgary, and in both cases, the goaltending was stellar. Reimer had a perfect 43 for 43, and Bernier followed it with a 41-43, combining for 84-86 (0.977) between the two. It's funny how a team in this league can go from a goaltending wasteland (Toskala/Raycroft? Toslaka/Gustavsson?) to having what looks like two strong options in net.

It's worth noting, though, that the team in front of these goalies didn't look so great. In both games, they relied on a high-risk, high-reward breakout pass, and while it seemed to work out against a more passive forecheck in Edmonton, Calgary - which was chasing players behind the goal line at times - got some good scoring chances off forced turnovers.

Over both games, but in Calgary specifically, I thought Franson looked poor. He's struggling to make that outlet pass and seems to respond poorly to pressure, even when Rielly has made himself available - it's worth noting though, that in both games, Rielly-Franson have had the highest number of defensive zone starts among d-pairings, so their struggles may be a product of spending the most time in their zone making stretch passes. I thought Ranger had a very strong second game - including an empty net goal and his first as a Leaf - and it's really fun to watch Rielly and Gardiner jump into the rush with some slick moves.

Clarkson continues to look like he might generate some offense, but sometimes struggles to get the shot away and on net, and has yet to finish. Kessel's goalless streak came to a close last night; he sits to 9 goals and 18 points in 14, so undoubtedly there are some mittenstringers spooling up the "drought/slump/October" articles. JVR and Kadri both had a pair of strong games.

Here are the extraskater pages from Edmonton and Calgary. Leave some thoughts about the game in the comments.

Here are some Leafs Links:

Semyon Varlamov arrested on domestic violence charges. What we know, what we don't - Mile High Hockey
This story came out of nowhere last night. Let's hope there's a clean resolution for all involved, especially the victims.

30 Thoughts: NHL GMs want teams to pay for players' violations
30 thoughts, great as always.

So What Happens Now? A Template for the Rest of the Season. - The Copper & Blue
I only linked this because it's fun watching Edmonton Oilers fans spiral into introspection following a defeat at the hands of the Leafs.

Pascal Dupuis casually pulls out two teeth at the bench after high-stick
As you do.

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