Leafs dominant again, lose Reimer to injury
Coming off a 3 game road trip with exuberant confidence, the Leafs managed to quiet down the already quiet ACC,
by allowing the Flyers to score 38 seconds in. Wayne Simmonds grabbed the rebound from a Luke Schenn shot, of course, and put the buds behind 1-0 early. Finally the Leafs seemed to find their legs as they started putting some more shots on net and creating some traffic. The Leafs and Flyers are two of the three top hitting teams so the physicality in this one should be of no surprise to anyone. Grabovski had a great chance off a nifty feed from Kulemin, but Grabo, who has gone pointless in his past seven, rang it off the iron. Grabovski has been known for inconsistent offensive play and considering he’s the highest paid forward, that’s unacceptable. The Leafs got the goal back at 14:49 of the first as Dion Phaneuf one timed a Leo Komarov pass past a screened Ilya Bryzgalov. It was Dion’s second straight game with a goal, and the fourth game in a row that a Leafs D-man scored a goal. A few minutes later the Leafs were on the man advantage, but once again they were ineffective and in fact, it was the Flyers who had the best chance, and if not for Reimer making perhaps his best save of the season, the Leafs would have been behind again. The powerplay went 0-3 and is really becoming a momentum killer. Shots after 1, Flyers 11 Leafs 8.
In the second, the Leafs scored 3 goals, but I have to start by mentioning that James Reimer was hurt after a skirmish in the Leafs crease. He could not get up without the help of the trainer, and eventually needed the help of Liles to skate off the ice. After such a promising start it’s really a shame to see Reimer once again go down to injury. Though it seemed rather significant, Carlyle addressed the media saying he doesn’t expect Reimer to miss much time at all. Encouraging signs, but we’ll have to wait and see. The ball, at least for now, is once again in Scrivens’ court. Anyways, lets get to the positive, the Leafs 2:05 into the period took the lead courtesy of Colton Orr. Didn’t think I’d be saying that! After a strong offensive zone shift by the Leafs fourth line they were rewarded with assists going to Franson and McLaren. A mere 27 seconds later it was Matt Frattin winning a puck battle, sending the puck to Franson, who put it on net, only to be tipped in by Matt Frattin for his at-the-time team-leading 7th goal on the year. A few minutes later the Leafs saw Reimer go down, but the buds responded well as they scored another goal, this time it was Clarke Macarthur one timing a beauty saucer feed from Nazem Kadri to put them up 4-1, and drive Ilya Bryzgalov out of the net in favour of Brian Boucher. Kadri picked up his second point with that assist, and continues to play well at centre ice. At the 13:31 mark, the Leafs’ Korbinian Holzer took a 5 minute major for boarding. What followed was an amazing effort by the Leafs to kill off the major. Sticks were active, bodies got in front of shots and Ben Scrivens made several top notch saves. The second period was also easily the loudest the fans at the ACC have been all year. Credit where credit is due! The Leafs deserved to be applauded for their efforts and the fans helped carry them through. It was nice to see the Leafs playing the same type of game in front of Scrivens as they did in front of Reimer. Shots after 2, Flyers 33, Leafs 18.
The third period started off with a bang as James van Riemsdyk sped past Luke Schenn and potted his 8th of the year to give the buds a 5-1 lead. Seeing #21 race past the former Leaf with a real power move to hang onto the puck after a sweet feed from the sniper-turned-playmaker Phil Kessel and tuck it in to regain the team scoring lead was a nice sight, indeed. I expected a big physical, get out of hand type of third period, but besides Phaneuf and Rinaldo getting misconducts at the end, it was a relatively quiet and peaceful final frame. Tye McGinn scored with around 30 seconds remaining to make the score 5-2, but the day belonged to the Leafs who shut up a lot of critics with a strong performance on home ice.
I chose quite the game to pick Holzer as my spotlight player! Through 1 and a half periods he was playing his usual, defensively sound game, allowing Phaneuf to go up in the rush while he cleaned up behind him. However, at 13:31 of the 2nd Holzer showed us a bit of his nastier side by drilling Tye Mcginn into the boards from behind which gave him a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. Luckily the Leafs killed off the major, because it would have been an ideal spot for a turning point for the Flyers.
Schenn vs JvR:
JvR had 1 goal and was a +1, while Schenn had 1 assist and was a -1. Neither player made a huge difference in the game, although JvR did make Schenn look rather foolish on his goal, blowing past a sprawling Schenn.
The Leafs did it! They won at home and the crowd was very supportive. In the second period the Leafs gave their fans plenty to cheer about and good on the Leafs faithful for rewarding the team with several standing ovations and giving them some love after winning their fourth straight game!
The Leafs did not drop the gloves tonight, but did not allow the Flyers to push them around either. Very rewarding to see Colton Orr score as his line has been providing lots of energy lately.
The Leafs next stop is against Carolina in Raleigh. The buds will look to avenge the 4-1 loss last Tuesday against these same Canes.