Leafs Humiliate Habs, move into 5th place in the Conference
Nothing quite beats a Saturday night tilt between the Leafs and Canadians.
Bob Cole had the call, and everything just feels right when watching these two original six rivals go head to head. 59 seconds in, to the delight of the large contingent of Leaf fans in the building, Leo Komarov, just inserted on the second line with Grabovski and Kulemin, scored his first NHL goal to put the buds up 1-0. A few minutes later, 6:33 into the first, Tyler Bozak, after winning a faceoff and heading to the net, buried a rebound to put the Leafs up 2-0. Bozak has really been coming into his own and his faceoff skills are very dominant. He won 8 faceoffs in the first alone, and will be receiving a well deserved contract in the offseason. The Leafs were a physical force, and cleared away the Canadians who were swarming the net. Reimer didn’t have to be spectacular, but was solid with 8 saves. The key for the Leafs will be weathering the storm early on in the second period as the Canadians will surely come out firing.
Montreal came out of the gate flying, but James Reimer and the buds were up to the task. Dion broke up a two on one by delivering a big hit on Habs rookie, Galchenyuk. 3:36, into the period, off a philthy dish from Kessel, JvR potted his club leading 7th goal of the season, putting the Leafs up 3-0. Montreal carried a lot of the play and outshot the Leafs 20-7; however, it was the Leafs scoring on the powerplay at 18:01, as the suddenly red hot Phil Kessel scored his prototypical wrist shot from the high slot. The final few minutes of the period could have easily resulted in several goals for Montreal, but Reimer was outstanding and made several amazing saves. He stoned Gionta up close, and denied Plekanec from the slot as well. This game is far from over as we all know the Leafs penchant for blowing leads, but let’s hope that’s not the case.
The third period was more reminiscent of a WWE match than a hockey game, with fights, hits, and even a bite, occurring. The period started off with a good tilt between middle weights Mark Fraser and Brandon Prust. A few minutes later, finally having enough of his constant runs at Phaneuf, it was Mike Kostka dropping the gloves with Brendan Gallagher. Decision goes to Kostka. A few minutes later was when all hell broke loose behind the Leafs net, the highlight (lowlight) was Pacioretty putting his arm in the mouth of Grabovski, who seemed to bite the Habs forward’s arm. Video wasn’t conclusive, but Pacioretty showed the refs a mark. Unfortunately the craziness wasn’t done, as Colton Orr got a game misconduct for taking a run at Plekanec, and proceeding to K.O Rene Bourque with one punch as he jumped in to defend his teammate. You could see the Habs frustrations were boiling over, and it was great to see the Leafs stepping up and responding. You can bet somewhere Brian Burke is smiling. Lost in all the madness were two more Leaf goals, one by Holzer 4:20 into the period, and Dion Phaneuf netting his first of the season, courtesy of a beautiful pass from Phil Kessel, 13:15 into the period on the powerplay. Oh and James Reimer, making his first start in the Bell Center since getting that concussion courtesy of Brian Gionta, made 37 saves for the shutout.
- Leafs lead the NHL in hits with 238
- Komarov leads all forwards with 43 hits
- Komarov scored his first NHL goal, the first by an Estonian born player
- It will be interesting to see where Gunnarson fits into the lineup as right now I love the size and grit the current group plays with. Maybe it makes him expendable.
- With the win the Leafs move into 5th place in the East with 14 points.
- Kessel scored for his second straight game and added two helpers
- Leafs and Habs next play February 27th
Next game: Monday Leafs play host to the Flyers
from Matteo http://youtu.be/o6pQMtdd3DQ