Kadri to Kulie. It's nail-biting tension, right girl in the background? - Paul Bereswill
In another game of trading rushes that didn't result in chances, the Leafs come out on a sharp angle shot and two backhands.
The Toronto Maple Leafs traveled to Philly, and rather than show off James van Riemsdyk, decided to air the Nazem Kadri show. Phil Kessel opened the scoring by scoring on the far side of Ilya Bryzgalov's VHS with Kimmo Timonen hanging off his back. A beautiful spot-pass by Kadri sent Nikolai Kulemin in on a short breakaway, which led to a very nice backhand goal. Scott Hartnell put a deflection past Ben Scrivens following a defensive breakdown by Korbinian Holzer and Tyler Bozak, two Leafs playing way above their ice time. The Leafs got the insurance goal as Kadri swept a behind-the-back-pass into the slot, which Clarke MacArthur and Mikhail Grabovski would fight for and win. After a double minor to the Leafs, Jakub Voracek made it interesting, but Jay McClement made a beautiful play to lock the game down with an empty netter. Enjoy the game in six:
On the whole, I think the Leafs looked okay tonight. They ended up trading rushes again, like in Ottawa on Saturday, but converted a few more. I think the defense continues to be a weak point, but we came up against a team with an equally weak D. Hozler and Bozak managed to look like they're being deployed out of their depth on the same play tonight, for the first PHI goal, but it was a better night for both of them than Ottawa.
Some great play tonight by Nazem Kadri. Some beautiful passes, a nice shot, and Charron had him credited on ice for 7 of Toronto's 11 even strength chances. Games like this remind you that he's a very offensively talented player and that all the drag on him over the past two years was misguided if not willfully ignorant. The pass on Kulemin's breakaway was flawless and the sweep-behind-the-back to get the puck into the slot? I can't remember the last time the Leafs gained the slot on such a nice pass.
Kulemin! Some great defensive play, and it's nice to see him convert on the breakaway. I also liked seeing David Steckel in the lineup. It was just 7:04 of TOI, and 1:56 in SH, but that's what we want out of a fourth liner. 7-10 minutes with some PK time included - rather than being the one you'd expect to see sitting in a box (press or penalty).
There's a theory in goaltending that if you get very hard-faced pads and kick rebounds out as hard as possible at all times, it'll be too tough for opposition forwards. I don't think the idea has much merit at the NHL level, but I'm starting to feel like I just need to let Ben Scrivens embody that idea. He continues to generate some significant rebounds in starting directions, but tonight the Flyers never got a good enough handle on the second chance.
Next up? Wednesday night at home against the Montreal Canadiens.