The Toronto Maple Leafs came back ifrom a 2-1 deficit in the third period to beat the Washington Capitals and consign them to further early season misery. The Leafs got goals from James van Riemsdyk, Nikolai Kulemin, and Matt Frattin who scored the winner on a great give and go with Nazem Kadri. James Reimer wasn't particularly busy but he was strong again with a weak Alexander Ovechkin goal being the only blemish on the night.
The first goal was disappointing because it came as a direct result of a player, Mark Fraser, falling asleep at the wheel. The Leafs equalized when Michael Neuvirth could not control the rebound on a Phil Kessel shot from the slot and JVR tapped home the rebound. The Ovechkin goal should have been stopped as it definitely wasn't a classic Ovechkin powerplay shot. Kulemin tied the game up after Mike Kostka finally hit the net and the rebound settled behind Neuvirth. We were talking about how when you start noticing something it seems like it always happens. Last night I was definitely there with Kostka missing the net. Sportsnet made it worse by showing a clip of all of these time he hit the net for the Marlies and scored. Kostka often looks like he's settling down but it seems like his decision making is sometimes a bit slower. Not sure if he's still intimidated but I joked that Kostka needs Gene Hackman to walk him around the ACC with a tape measure so that he knows the rink is the same as the Ricoh.
Anyway, the stage was set for Frattin's heroics and then the Leafs held on. Kessel got some more great chances but they just didn't go in. Some day they will and if it was Saturday I'd be more than okay with that. Overall, I thought that the Leafs played quite well. They were disciplined which is still a leftover from the Ron Wilson era. And they also did a good job of drawing penalties. I watched this game at a bar so it can be hard to follow along sometimes. My favourite tools to figure out how coaches matched lines, to calculate corsi events, and other fun stuff aren't working so in the meantime, let's take a look at the numbers mittenstringer style:
- Phil Kessel may be struggling but it looks like the Leafs have two potential 40 goal scorers in Matt Frattin and James van Riemsdyk as their four goals would pro-rate out to 46 goals over an 82 game season
- And hold on to your hats because Mikhail Grabovski and Nazem Kadri are on a 35 goal pace. The Leafs have offence to burn!
- The Leafs were only shorthanded three time but Jay McClement still played three minutes on the penalty kill.
- If Kessel had the same shooting percentage as Matt Frattin his team leading 33 shots would translate into 18 goals. Instead, he's shooting zero percent and talking about 'chances'
- Kadri and Frattin may be getting a lot of time in offensively optimal positions but they aren't even allowed to sniff the ice on the PK. 0:00 of TOI.
- The fourth line played six minutes each. I wonder how many injuries Colton Orr prevented from the bench./li>
- James Reimer stopped 20 of 22 shots to keep him at .910 sv% and improve to a 2.80GAA
Game In Six