STARS (9-2-0) at MAPLE LEAFS (1-7-2)
7:30pm – ACC (SNO)
The Leafs are coming off one of their worst overall performances of the year. They lost 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Halloween night and gifted Marc-Andre Fleury an easy doughnut. This has, by far, been one of the toughest season starts for fans to endure. Let’s change shoes for a second. Try writing about this hot mess; you can have your shoes back now. Thank the evil spawn holding my soul hostage in the pits of hell for having the opportunity to write game days threads. No honestly, my brain draws blanks on what to actually write about.
One bright spot heading into tonight’s game is that the Dallas Stars might suck the Maple Leafs into a chance-exchanging fast paced hockey game. Dallas has emerged early as a two-way team, they play fast, very fast. I have caught two full Dallas Stars games this season and both were very fun to watch. The Stars do not go quietly into the night and are always still in it when losing by multiple goals. They just keep coming at you. They are relentless and seem to love playing from behind. Playing from behind may be a problem for them tonight since the Leafs have only potted the opening goal once this season. Dallas plays some fun hockey, the same cannot be said for the Blue and White. Can the Maple Leafs Dance With The Stars? We sure will find out.
It hasn’t been all doom and gloom around these parts. Even though the losses have piled up, the team has been playing fairly well. They have transitioned into a better possession team, but have yet to figure out how to score while holding onto the puck. A problem I had forecast back in February of this year was that most of the roster then had forgotten or just didn’t know how to play a possession game rather than their previous style of capitalizing on quick counter attacks.
Of course the team that saw 50+ shots on goal during games in previous years, somehow survived and came out with an unbelievable SV% to finish the night. These same goalies couldn’t stop a floating beach ball this season. Jonathan Bernier, our perennial number one, is like a noodle strainer trying to hold water this season. Of course Reimer has been no better, even though he has tallied the only win this season. Unfortunately for Reimer, he has never been the same since suffering a concussion from that ass hat Gionta.
With all the woes this season, Morgan Rielly is again, a delight to watch grow. Babcock has trusted him in all situations and he has performed exceptionally well.
Bless his warrior soul, but Polak has become insufferable to watch and has lost about 10 steps from last season.
Our PP has been suffering since the start of the season and doesn’t seem to be getting anymore lethal. The scoring chances are there but players cannot seem to find the back of the net. Of course, even though defensively brain dead, losing the scoring prowess of Phil Kessel has clearly hurt the PP. With that being said, our PK has been abysmal, largely due to our goal tenders not being able to come up with a couple saves.
Like previously written about by Leafs Hub newcomer Darren Madden, a couple timely saves and a little bit of puck luck and this season could be completely different. I mean the team isn’t exactly terrible. With two shootout losses, two empty net goals in one goal games and losing 2 other one goal games this season, this team could have easily been (5-3-2) with 12 points sitting in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division instead of last. Hey, that’s hockey. Even though some unrealistic fans yearn for an 82-0 season, you can’t win them all.
In conclusion. I really need to see a win. These players need to feel a win. LeafsNation needs to see a god damn win as well. Losing with dignity can only last for so long. Plus, I need the batteries to wear down in my Budweiser light. It has been pretty quiet lately.
Down with Stars I say. Go Leafs Go.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Gdiff (5v5) — -2
Gdiff (All) — -13
CF% (5v5) – 53.7
PP% – 7.4
PK% – 73
Gdiff (5v5) — +3
Gdiff (All) — +10
CF% (5v5) – 53.2
PP% – 26.3
PK% – 81.3
Toronto Maple Leafs
JVR – Kadri – Komarov
Mathias – Holland – Parenteau
Winnik – Bozak – Lupul
Grabner – Froese – Boyes
Gardiner – Phaneuf
Hunwick – Rielly
Marincin – Polak
Benn – Seguin – Sharp
Faksa – Spezza – Hemsky
Janmark – Eakin – Nichushkin
Roussel – Fiddler – Sceviour
Goligoski – Klingberg
Oduya – Demers
Nemeth – Benn
Today in Leafs History….
Today in Leafs history brought to you by …… @DoctorRobert
- 1894 – St. Pats defenseman Ted Stackhouse was born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
- 1922 – Defender Doug Baldwin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- 1947 – Leafs pull off one of the biggest trades in franchise history as they send Bud Poile, Bob Goldham, Gaye Stewart, Gus Bodnar, and Ernie Dickens to Chicago in exchange for Cy Thomas and Max Bentley. At the time of the trade, this deal was considered to be one of the most significant transactions in NHL history. Bentley would go on to help the Leafs win three cups over the next six seasons.
- 1948 – Former Leafs defenseman and assistant coach Rick Ley was born in Orillia, Ontario. From 1968-1972, Ley had 8 goals and 54 assists in 229 games with the Leafs. He would return to the club in 1998 as an assistant coach, a position he held until 2006.
- 1973 – Defenseman David Cooper was born in Ottawa, Ontario. Cooper played just 30 games for the Leafs and picked up 10 points in the process.
- 1973 – Defenseman Jason Smith was born in Calgary, Alberta. Along with Steve Sullivan and Alyn McCauley, Smith was acquired in the trade that sent captain Doug Gilmour to the New Jersey Devils in 1997.
- 1974 – Leafs re-acquire defenseman Rod Seiling as they send Tim Ecclestone and Willie Brossart to the Washington Capitals.
- 1989 – Former Leafs defenseman and “future captain” Luke Schenn was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
- 2011 – Joffrey Lupul scores his first hat-trick as a Leaf in a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. All of Lupul’s goals were scored at even strength during the second period!
Rielly on Babcock taking blame for PIT loss: “As players we have to take responsibility for what happens on the ice” pic.twitter.com/dLMQLAdBZ5
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 2, 2015