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Toronto Maple Leafs Lose 5-2 To The Montreal Canadiens, Fail To Intimidate

The Toronto Maple Leafs fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens for their first loss against the team from Quebec this season.

Scrivens Does The Running Man
Scrivens Does The Running Man
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Story

In a lackluster affair, the Toronto Maple Leafs fell 5-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. Despite being overrun by the Habs for the majority of the first two periods the Leafs were still even heading into the third period. They were then sunk by a linesman doing what everyone's wanted them to do - drop the fucking puck - and a couple of weak plays. The good news is that the Leafs didn't deserve the win so at least they didn't suffer a loss because of those mistakes on a night when they deserved to win. The Leafs managed to win the scoring chance battle at even strength but were let down by defensive and goaltending errors that allowed goals on shots that didn't register as scoring chances.

A lot of focus, as usual was on Colton Orr's role, as he had more ice time than Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk which should basically never happen unless one of them has been shot mid-game. Yes, those two had a bad game as did their running mate Tyler Bozak. And no, Colton Orr didn't do anything egregiously wrong other than not be a useful hockey player. But arguing that JvR and Kessel were more responsible for the loss is missing the forest for the trees. When you choose to ice only 10 useful hockey players then you're lowering your odds that on any given night you'll have enough players going well enough to win. It's the same issue with the Tyler Biggs selection. The biggest part of winning is consistently stacking the odds in your favour as much as possible. There are no guarantees in sports but if you're not doing that then you're harming your odds of success. It's not rocket science.

And yes, Frazer McLaren scored. He can add "opposition player shot the puck off of my chest and into my own net" to "my defenceman's shot hit my butt as I was facing away from the play" to his "Goons Are Great" bingo card. It doesn't change the fact that on the balance of play that Orr and McLaren are not the Leafs' best options to play. There's a great quote from Stan Bowman from last year's MIT Sloan Analytics Conference about the problems with evaluating players of different skill levels which helps explain why so many people will reply that Orr and McLaren are doing their jobs whenever they don't screw up monumentally:

Stan Bowman [discussed] a system the Blackhawks used when Bowman joined the hockey operations department. It was a simple tool to chart out the coach's player rating for a player over the course of a game on a scale of 1-to-5.

Well, Bowman pointed out, the ratings provided by the coach, tallied up after every game, never matched reality. A coach's subjective bias, he explained, benefit the third line players and the players who were closer to replacement level. Those players ratings were "unfairly propped up because the expectations for that player are much lower."

Since appealing to authority is such a favourite move of those that think that crucial roster spots should be used on goons then here's the GM of the best team in the NHL. Checkmate I guess. Again, it's not revelatory but there it is in black and white.

Go watch the shitty highlights and wonder when Scrivens will stop fucking tossing innocuous pucks into danger areas. Freeze the puck dammit.

Game In Six Highlights

By The Numbers

No surprise that Franson and Fraser did well last night. They are a case of two players which Randy Carlyle is putting into a position to succeed. Their deployment makes some of his other decisions even more frustrating. There are Orr and McLaren not getting run over so I guess that justifies playing them so much. The Leafs' top players really struggled. Dion needs a lifeline if he's going to keep going toe-to-toe with the opposition's best.

Toronto Maple Leafs Corsi

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Cody Franson D 16:09 20 10 +10 +2 +9
Mark Fraser D 17:34 18 13 +5 +2 +4
Jay McClement C 13:22 16 11 +5 +3 +4
Clarke MacArthur L 16:42 17 15 +2 0 +2
Mike Brown R 2:15 2 1 +1 -1 +1
Colton Orr R 14:55 14 15 -1 0 -1
Frazer McLaren L 5:47 5 6 -1 +1 -1
Mikhail Grabovski C 17:38 22 24 -2 +2 -3
Tyler Bozak C 12:00 10 15 -5 -4 -3
Nazem Kadri C 17:32 15 19 -4 0 -4
Nikolai Kulemin L 17:05 17 21 -4 +2 -5
James Van Riemsdyk L 12:53 11 18 -7 -4 -5
Dion Phaneuf D 17:11 19 26 -7 -2 -6
Leo Komarov C 14:20 10 17 -7 +1 -7
Mike Kostka D 19:28 14 22 -8 -1 -8
Phil Kessel C 14:31 12 21 -9 -3 -8
Korbinian Holzer D 15:32 16 25 -9 -2 -8
Carl Gunnarsson D 20:06 13 26 -13 -1 -13

Montreal Canadiens Corsi

Hey, look at that, a coach put his best offensive players out for more offensive zone face-offs than defensive zone ones. What a concept! Leafs got dominated and Armstrong was still a negative probably because he sucks.

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Tomas Plekanec C 14:43 20 9 +11 0 +11
Andrei Markov D 20:21 24 13 +11 0 +11
Alexei Emelin D 21:14 25 15 +10 0 +10
Brandon Prust L 16:15 19 11 +8 0 +8
Brian Gionta R 15:17 16 9 +7 0 +7
Brendan Gallagher R 12:38 18 10 +8 +3 +7
David Desharnais C 13:15 16 8 +8 +3 +7
Max Pacioretty L 13:16 17 10 +7 +3 +6
Josh Gorges D 18:56 22 21 +1 -1 +1
P.K. Subban D 15:44 21 18 +3 +4 +1
Alex Galchenyuk C 12:50 12 11 +1 +1 +1
Michael Ryder R 12:54 13 13 0 0 0
Tomas Kaberle D 13:11 15 15 0 +2 -1
Colby Armstrong R 11:06 13 15 -2 -2 -1
Francis Bouillon D 16:45 16 19 -3 -3 -2
Lars Eller C 14:46 14 17 -3 0 -3
Ryan White C 10:41 13 17 -4 -2 -3
Travis Moen L 11:11 12 19 -7 -3 -6