Komarov breakaway: All speed, no hands. - USA TODAY Sports
The Leafs looked good last night, but not good enough to beat Sidney Crosby.
Scrivens and Fleury held the game scoreless through 30 minutes of play, but Tyler Bozak opened the scoring off a beautiful feed from Cody Franson. With under ten minutes to go in the third, a slick Sidney Crosby pass to Pascal Dupuis tied the game, and five minutes later, another Dupuis shot found the net on another pretty Crosby play. Here's your game in six:
The first goal was a bit of a defensive breakdown - Dion drops in to the corner (exactly as last recap's Phaneuf troll wanted), JVR doesn't pick up the man in the slot, and the best player in the world can get the puck where he wants it - in this case, on Dupuis' stick as he's right at the back door. On the second goal, Dupuis finds a no-mans land between JVR's coasting backcheck and Holzer-Phaneuf puck watching with the best seats in the house.
Grabovski was matched up against Neal and Sutter, while the top line of JVR, Bozak, and Kessel were playing aginst Crosby - Grabbo even ended up with more OZone starts than DZone. With softer competition, Grabbo looked like a threat. JVR's name pops up twice in the goals against, but I think the fault was more on the defensemen in each goal - it would've been a low pickup for JVR on the first goal, and the d-men were just covering open space on the second. JVR did have a good night generating offense, but Carlyle had them matched up against an incredibly talented player and they got burned twice. Quality of competition and zone starts matter - they're numbers in the aggregate, but tonight's game is a good example of what those numbers represent.
The team looked good with a defenseman that was capable of moving the puck. Liles was on ice for a team-leading 13 shots for. Liles played like a man who really, really hates the press box - scratching him for 12 games almost makes you think that maybe Carlyle's personnel decisions on defense haven't been the greatest. huh.
By the way - how dumb was the second intermission sportsnet panel? The Leafs backup goaltender posted two shutout periods against the number one team in goals for per game, and Kypreos talks about how the Leafs should still be trying to get Luongo out of Vancouver because they "need goaltending." Nevermind that they're 11th in even strength save percentage. And this isn't even touching their inane "Trade Kessel" discussion.
Great news: Timeonice.com is functional again! If you'd like to poke around the site yourself, I recommend using Nicetimeonice.com. The Leafs next play Saturday against the Jets, and despite last night's strong play, we're getting close to a "must win" game if the Leafs want to stay in the top 8.