Toronto Maple Leafs Game Review: Unlikely Result Against the Boston Bruins
Nov 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forwardTyler Bozak
(42) congratulates goaltenderJonathan Bernier
(45) after a win over the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Boston 6-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
It was a pinch me I’m dreaming moment. After a strong first period where the Toronto Maple Leafs out shot the Boston Bruins 12-8 with Phil Kessel scoring the only goal in the period, it looked like they were ready for a hard battle against the Boston Bruins.
It was not a typical Leafs game. They got the first goal of the game (they have not done that since the game against the Chicago Blackhawks). Kessel scored two goals against the Bruins. The game also started at 8:00 p.m. because the game was featured on NBC. The Leafs also chased Tuukka Rask out of the game scoring four goals on 16 shots (not good for Rask fantasy owners). Let’s just say that the Toronto game was something different, but in a good way.
Nov 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel (81) celebrates a goal by forwardJames van Riemsdyk
(21) as Boston Bruins defensemanAdam McQuaid
(54) and defensemanDennis Seidenberg
(44) skate away during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
What really told me that this game was going to be lopsided was after the third goal by Morgan Rielly. The Leafs found a way to get their legs going and the Bruins were unable to match the Leafs speed off the rush. Every goal that was scored came off Toronto’s ability to move the puck quickly and efficiently.
The second period was the best period for the Leafs, scoring four goals within the first ten minutes of the period. The Bruins did not register a shot in the second period until the midway point of the period.
Here is a recap for every goal from the game (hope you have some time to spare).
First goal by Phil Kessel
This was a weird play because the Bruins felt like the puck hit a player on the Leafs bench but the referees did not agree. Then it was Kessel with a trademark goal that we have come familiar with. He skates down the wing and fires a wicked shot top corner past Rask who knew that he would not be able to stop that shot.
Second goal by Phil Kessel
Kessel’s goal was similar to his first goal with except for the fact that it did not come off the rush. Kessel placed a perfect shot past Rask who could only hope that he could get a piece of it.
Morgan Rielly’s goal
The third goal was just a terrible effort by the Bruins. The Leafs use their speed to enter the zone with Rielly picking up a juicy rebound from Rask and he made no mistake by putting it into the back of the net. It was unlike Rask to allow a rebound like that and it just seemed like he was totally prepared to play the Leafs (maybe he expected the start against the Montreal Canadiens?).
Fourth Toronto Maple Leafs goal
The fourth goal came off a great play on the power play. This was the second time that I saw Cody Franson, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak combine for a nice play on the power play. Franson made a nice play to JVR who saw Bozak going to the net and made a nice play to put the puck in front for Bozak to deflect into the net.
Toronto Maple Leafs fifth goal
The fifth goal and the second straight power play goal was a result of a bad Bruins penalty that continued to give the Leafs momentum. Jake Gardiner took a nice shot from the point that went off Bozak then off an unsuspecting James van Riemsdyk and into the net. It looked like JVR was trying to avoid getting hit by the shot but it actually helped get the puck past Niklas Svedberg who came in relief of Rask.
Boston Bruins get on the board
The Bruins had to ruin the chance of Jonathan Bernier getting a shutout with Dennis Seidenberg putting a wrist shot on net which found a way to sneak past Bernier. For a moment it looked like Simon Gagné tipped the puck passed Bernier but it looked like it just got past him.
Sixth and final Toronto Maple Leafs goal
In a rare moment Randy Carlyle decided to give the third line some power play time and they made the most of it. Peter Holland makes a great individual effort to get to the front of the net to catch Svedberg napping (he was leaning back against the net before Holland entered the zone). How great has Holland been recently, has he been a reason why the Leafs are on this hot run?
Nov 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak (42) scores on Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) during the second period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
My reaction to the game was just pure shock and awe. The Leafs controlled the pace of the game and took the game to the Bruins. If you read my preview to the game I said that Kessel had to be on his best if the Leafs had any chance to beat the Bruins (maybe he is a dedicated reader?). I also mentioned how the Leafs had to take care of the Bruins ability to throw their opponents off their game with their pesky paly. We saw it when Brad Marchand was trying to sucker Roman Polak into making a dumb decision to retaliate against his attempt to annoy him. Then Leo Komarov took a run at Brad Marchand which is rare for me to see the Leafs do that but it seemed to have an effect.
Nov 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins forwardReilly Smith
(18) and Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner (51) battle for the puck during the first period at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
The other strong point was the defence tonight. It was a great effort all around from the defence (yes even Dion Phaneuf) especially against Milan Lucic. You cannot physically take Lucic out of the play instead you just have to play smart against him. Gardiner found a way to get positioning on Lucic and use his stick to defend against Lucic. The Leafs defence was more patient and were in great position, they had 27 blocked shots all night. If the Leafs can find a way to block shots and put themselves in better situations to defend we may see an improvement from the defence.
Overall there is not much that we can critique on. The Rogers Sportsnet panel said that this was the Leafs best game in a long time (Nick Kypreos said since 1967, real funny). The Leafs played consistently through the entire 60 minutes. Hopefully this was the result of the Leafs playing really good and not the Bruins playing so terribly. If there is a game that can make or break the Leafs season it is this one. The Leafs will have another tough test against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday so it will be interesting to see the type of effort that the Leafs come out with for that game.
Quick Game Notes
Nov 12, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner (51) congratulates goaltender Jonathan Bernier (45) after a win over the Boston Bruins at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Boston 6-1. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
– The Leafs power play was three-for-four on the night.
– Holland scored for the third straight game.
– Kessel registered his eighth multi-point game this season.
– NHL.com statistics for the game said that the Leafs had 19 takeaways.
– Polak played a team-high 26:04 minutes.
– Phaneuf led the team with five blocked shots.
– van Riemsdyk and Bozak had three points each including a goal and two assists.
– The Leafs have scored 16 goals in their last three games.