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Maple Leafs 5 v. Canadiens 4: Phil Kessel'd

 Corsi and Fenwick | EV Face Offs | H2H Time On Ice

Game Summary | Event Summary | Habs Eyes On The Prize

In the first year after the lockout the Leafs went into Montreal for two huge late-March games that would impact their playoff hopes. Predictably, that team fell flat on their face and lost back-to-back games by four goal deficits first 5-1 and then 6-2. Entering those games the Leafs were in 10th place a mere four points back of 8th place Atlanta. By the end of that fiasco the Leafs were in 12th place and 7 points back of Montreal. The Buds would finish in 9th place 2 points out of 8th and just 3 points back of Montreal in 7th. Their abject capitulation in Montreal saw a veteran-laden team crumble under the pressue of "Ole, Ole, Ole" and a seemingly neverending goal horn.

Tonight the young Maple Leafs could have cashed things in when they saw a 3-1 lead disappear in a scant 20 seconds. Instead, Phil Kessel set up Tyler Bozak on a powerplay soon after to give the Leafs a lead they would not relinquish. On the night, Kessel has two goals to go along with two nice set-ups to the aforementioned Bozak (wonder if Steve Simmons saw the game) and BRETT LEBDA had not only an assist but also his first goal as a Toronto Maple Leaf and he was + 2. It'll be a while before we know if the current Leafs have the testicular fortitude that past editions have lacked but for one night at least they did well. And by 'a while' I mean Saturday night at 10pm because if the Leafs lose to the Wilkes-Barre Penguins they'll have thrown away a valuable opportunity.

  1. James Reimer was below .900 but he made 27 of 29 saves at even strength for a .931 save percentage in picking up his 10th win of the season in just 17 appearances. Is he for real? Who cares. He's for real right now.
  2. Phil Kessel has 25 goals which is good for 15th in the NHL. He has six goals in his last 5 games and is back on pace to best last year's 30 goal mark with 33.
  3. Tyler Bozak ended a 14 game point drought which I assume he just went on because his pal Kessel had one.
  4. Brett Lebda was a +2. I already said that but it's still incredible.
  5. The last two minutes of the game were outstanding. Colby Armstrong and Fredrik Sjostrom made yeomen efforts that saw the Habs unable to get past the red line with the puck.
  6. Darry Boyce tweeted: "Blue and white, blue and white, blue and white till I die" and confirmed that I'll be advocating for him to be re-signed.
  7. Luke Schenn smoked Andrei Kostitsyn and the other four Habs raced to the scene of the hit. Schenn stood up, pull his bucket off, and suddenly the Habs couldn't remember why they were there anymore.

Game in Six after the jump!