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Hold on tight! Leafs: 5, Ottawa: 4

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The Toronto Maple Leafs took a 3-0 lead and managed to hold on to the victory, with a final score of 5-4.

Happy Leafs. Sad goalie.
Happy Leafs. Sad goalie.
Abelimages

The Ottawa Senators came to the Leafs' building - I mean the one in Toronto - and went down 3-0 early. Tyler Bozak scored on a bizarre deflection off Chris Phillips, Jay McClement forechecks like a beast and then slaps home Kulemin's rebound, and JVR batted home a little flip pass by Kessel. The Senators broke the Leafs' run when Zibanejad bashed home a rebound on the doorstep, followed by Zach Smith scoring on a very similar play. Phil Kessel scored on a slick wrister, and The Dream destroyed a loose puck, sending it over and behind Ben Bishop. He's so hot right now. Alfredsson scored thanks to some very blown coverage, and Greening tips a slippery puck past James Reimer with under two minutes to play to make Leafs fans sweat. Here's your game in six:

We tend to talk about "scoring effects" - how teams ahead in the game tend to shoot less - and I think game is a decent example of them in practice. JVR's low-chance skill move at 3:20 of the GI6, rather than keeping speed up and taking a shot, being one example, but in general, the Leafs took their foot off the gas with just 1 even strength shot in the third to the Senators' 18.

James Reimer is really, really good. He was victimized by a couple of rebounds that stayed in the crease, where he couldn't cover them, sprawled out, and became defense-dependent, but making 39 saves, 37 of them even strength and 19 of them listed as scoring chances, impresses me.

Something negative: Bozak. On the Alfredsson goal. What is that lame flyby? Wave the stick, carry on? That's a fifth-or-sixth-ballot Hall of Famer you're dealing with there. It's not like you're covering Sundin, but I think you could manage to stop on the puck and play some damn defense. It looks like another case where Bozak thinks someone else is picking up his man. For a first line forward, he just doesn't seem to communicate well.

The Leafs play again tonight against the Bruins, so we'll see how they fare on the second half of a back-to-back. Carlyle did a good job getting the fourth line out there without much damage to the Leafs, as Orr played 7 minutes and Steckel had about 8:30. No Leafs forward was over 20 minutes TOI, and even the D was rotated heavily (Phaneuf led with 23', Kostka at 21:19, and everyone else was at or below 20:04). After a workload like last night's, I'd expect Scrivens to start. We'll see how the team fares against the Big Bad Bruins. Go Leafs Go.