The Toronto Maple Leafs were handed their first loss of the season at the hands of #1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and his Colorado Avalanche. Instead of just regurgitating a recap that you can find at about 50 different newspaper websites, we’re going to just take at what we deem to be notable items from the evening.
Bernier Staking His Claim
After his strong performance in relief of James Reimer on Saturday against Ottawa, Jonathan Bernier was given the start, and the opportunity to make the first real “move” in the Maple Leafs goaltending battle. Bernier did not disappoint, stopping 31 of 33 shots, for his third above average appearance of the season.
Bernier’s save% through his 3 appearances is now a gaudy .963, a clearly unsustainable number, but when combined with how he has looked in the net, can give Leaf fans hope that the team did acquire the star that some project Bernier to be. While it is still early in the season, and James Reimer has plenty of time to make his case for the job, Bernier’s play coupled with the impression the front office would prefer Bernier, make it sem like his job to lose.
Poor Nazem Kadri
Colton Orr is a terrible hockey player. While playing on the fourth line it’s clear that he doesn’t have the skating ability or hockey IQ to keep up with the other 4th liners around the NHL, so what does that get him from Randy Carlyle? Why a spot on the flank of perhaps the Maple Leafs most talented centre that’s all!\n
What did Naz do to Carlyle to deserve this? I know the Leafs were short-handed with Kulemin hurt, Clarkson suspended, and Jay McClement on new daddy duty, but Carlyle truly believed that skating a face puncher like Colton Orr alongside Nazem Kadri was going to help this team win?
What’s the point of having the AHL franchise right down Lakeshore Boulevard from the ACC if the Leafs aren’t going to use it to call up a skilled player to play in a skill position on the line up when something like McClement’s wife going into labour happens? Once Kulemin and Clarkson are back in the line up it will be tough even for Randy Carlyle to create a top-9 that isn’t at least palatable, but until then, ugh.
Despite being handed their first loss of the season, the Maple Leafs played what was perhaps their most complete game thus far. While they were unable to solve Seymon Varlamov after Joffrey Lupul scored his second of the season, the Leafs managed to edge the opposition on possession stats (Fenwick/Corsi) for the first time this season.
On a down note, this means that the idiots of the world will denounce these stats as being stupid, since when they have said the Leafs played poorly, they won all 3 games, and in the first possession positive game of the season, they managed to lose the game. Oh well!
If the Maple Leafs continue to be a positive possession team like they were last night while receiving the type of goaltending they have gotten thus far from Jonathan Bernier, we will be talking about wins more often than not.
Fancy Stats (via The Extra Skater)