Monday, 19 December 2011

Eagle Eyes - Blown Call By The Linesman and The Leafs Lose Again But Manage A Point

The Maple Leafs played a decent game, struggling at some points but really controlling the play as the game progressed and as coach Ron Wilson rekindled his lines after trying to change it up for the first two periods.
Tonights game story was the goaltending. James Reimer played spectacular tonight, making key saves all throughout the game. In total he made 40 saves on 42 shots. Jonathan Quick also had a very strong game at the other end of the rink which would keep the game tied 2-2 and rolling into the shootout.

But the real turning point of the game was during a Kings PP in the second period. Drew Doughty settles a saucer pass at the blue line but the puck comes out of the zone. The linesman emphatically calls Drew Doughty onside when he clearly wasn't. There was nobody in front of the linesman for him to miss the call, just him and a clear view of the puck and he botched the call. Drew Doughty who seemingly knew that the puck came out of the zone, gathers his composure to make a pass down low and in a blink the Kings scored their second game of the night. The Leafs would rattle back in the third looking for the equalizer. Matt Frattin would be the recipient of a nice passing play and would tap in the tying goal. The game would go into a shootout.

In the shootout...
Phil Kessel shot first hitting the post after a quick deke which looked to have Quick beat.
Stoll and Frattin missed the net with their shootout attempts.
Anze Kopitar came in on Reimer and tried a quick shot that Reimer stopped with the blocker.
Joffrey Lupul came in with a nice deke but Quick beat him with the pokecheck.
Dustin Brown would end the game with the goal of the shootout which rang off the iron and in behind James Reimer.

OTHER GAME NOTES:Joey Crabb struggled again tonight trying to find chemistry with his linemates. He started the game with Bozak and Frattin and they just couldnt click. By the third period he was paired with Tim Connolly and Clarke MacArthur and still seemed to be out of sorts. Joey Crabb is the kind of player that seems to slow down when he is assured a roster spot, as he is for the meantime while the Leafs wait for returning injured players. When his roster spot is up in the air, you see a much stronger, faster and smarter playing Joey Crabb. He needs to pick his game up and come out with more flare.

John-Michael Liles had a pretty strong game tonight and scored the Maple Leafs first goal from a pass off the board from Bozak in the first period. Liles, who's probably been the Leafs most consistent defenseman in my opinion, had a blip and nearly gave a breakaway to the Kings on a bad Leafs line change but quickly recovered to deflect the puck wide of the net.

Maple Leafs defense got to see a big black number 15 in their face all game long as Brad Richardson apparently plays hockey while kissing the glass all game long. Schenn sent him into the boards twice in one shift and later in the game Liles was called for a penalty as he pushed him from behind into the boards. Richardson seemed to go down easy, but that's for the refs to decide. Maybe he needs to turn on CBC on Saturday night so Don Cherry can tell him to turn around and face the ice. If he keeps playing like this he might have his career cut short because Liles isn't a big player, imagine Zdeno Chara finishing that check in his place.

The Leafs 4th line tonight was Jay Rosehill, Philippe Dupuis and Colton Orr. Rosehill and Orr played under 4 minutes each and Dupuis played 4:34 seconds. I guess I stuck my foot in my mouth when I said either play Rosehill and Orr or get rid of them, dont keep them taking roster spots... I really meant "They're useless, you dont need them both, you barely need one of them. Get rid of 'em".

At the end of the day the Leafs need to take matters into their own hands. There was a horrible call that cost them a goal but thats gonna happen. You gotta go out and get another goal and another goal and dig deep until you win the game. I liked the Leafs bounce back and it was good for them to get a point but they need more than just scrap points, which came at mostly due to the stellar play of James Reimer.