Mason Raymond, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk all scored in the third period for the Leafs, and Jonthan Bernier was again very solid in goal. In fact, the only goal allowed by Bernier was on a knuckle puck in the first period that was going wide of the net before he put his blocker on it. It was a strange goal that the Laval native is sure to have wanted back, but like on so many other nights, Bernier more than made up for it later.
The Leafs started the game by going up 7-1 on the shot clock, with the help of a couple bad penalties taken by the Canucks. The power play didn't look great, to be honest, with the Leafs only getting one shot on four minutes of time with the extra man, but although the power play never cashed in, the Leafs' penalty kill was also flawless.
Jay McClement left the game with an undisclosed upper body injury after taking a slash to the leg, twisting awkwardly, and then falling into the boards. There was blood on the ice as he left the game, possibly due to a cut from his visor. Randy Carlyle said after the game that McClement had been taken to the quiet room and said he would not return.
Somewhat fortunately for the Leafs, Carlyle's experiment of using Nikolai Kulemin at center is yielding positive results, as the Russian was his usual dependable self defensively, but also created several good chances to score. He narrowly missed the net on several occasions and wound up assisting on Raymond's goal to tie the game for the Leafs.
Here are Randy Carlyle's thoughts on the game and the Olympic break:
Thoughts on a few players:
- It's great to see Raymond burn the Canucks.
- It's also great to see Kulemin doing so well at "C". This probably makes Carlyle want to keep him but also probably increases his trade value. When I think about it, it's surprising that it wasn't discussed more often. Kuli is a very strong guy with good defensive instincts, and this team desperately needs C's who can bring that to the table. Wonder what he'd do with JvR and Kessel.
- Paul Ranger was a mix of good and bad. He played limited minutes alongside Cody Franson, and made a couple really nice poke checks to break up rushes but then also basically watched as Ryan Kesler blew by him for a good chance on a power play. He's still way better than Fraser, I guess.
- Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner continue to look awesome. I love watching them rush the puck, and I feel like they're getting better in their own end. I can't think of a single glaring turnover from either of them last night.
- I hope James Reimer can get into some more games after the break.