Thursday, 22 December 2011

Team Win - Maple Leafs Hold Off The Sabres

Nazem Kadri scores the third goal for the Maple Leafs with a shot from the slot that beat Miller over the glove in the third period. The Leafs would then buckle down to convert that lead into a win, something they've struggled to do in the month of December.

The first half of the game was riddled with questionable penalty after questionable penalty on both teams (what else is new in the world of the NHL). Things settled down during the second half of the second period which saw the Leafs score two quick goals to put them ahead of the Sabres 2-1 going into the third period. The Sabres tied it up early in the third before Kadri notched the game winner.

The Leafs PK looked much improved today. They weren't chasing the puck around as much as they have been in the past. Toronto killed 5 of 6 of the Sabres penalties, including a 5-on-3 kill shortly before the Sabres scored the first goal of the game. Tim Connolly was a big part of the PK. He made some key shot blocks, especially one late in the third, and he was 10 for 12 in the face-off circle.

James Reimer showed that he really is the real deal in Toronto. He made 40 saves again tonight to lift the team to a much earned victory. His rebound control was exceptional tonight and he was a big part in the improvement of the Leafs PK

OTHER NOTES:Phil Kessel scored tonight from a nice pass from Lupul in the second period. He had 10 shots on Ryan Miller tonight and was all over the ice. He also beat out an icing call with under 30 seconds left in the game to prevent the face-off from returning into the Leafs zone at a crucial point of the game.

Darryl Boyce was very strong on the forecheck today. The Leafs first goal, which was scored by Steckel, came off a play where Boyce's forecheck forced the turn over before the puck eventually made it's behind Ryan Miller.

Jake Gardiner was a healthy scratch as Keith Aulie made his way into the line-up. I wouldn't expect any changes in the roster going into tomorrow's game against the Islanders.

Both Liles and Grabovski took hard hits in this game. Liles in particular was hit with his head down trying to settle a puck in the slot for a shot. He played through the rest of the game and didn't seem to be injured at all, so that's great news for the Leafs as Liles has arguably been their best defenseman thus far this season.

The Leafs are looking to head into the Christmas break with another win tomorrow night. Leafs vs. Islanders. Puck drop shortly after 7pm.