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Showing posts from October, 2014

IN IT TO WINNIK (POST GAME AND PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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Once again, I will have to combine tonight's blog and tomorrow's blog into one as I am busy in the morning. Nonetheless, the Leafs played a great game against an injury riddled Blue Jackets team (who put up a heck of a fight, mind you), winning by a score of 4-1. It was the first time since November of 2011 that the Leafs beat Columbus, so it should make the players feel good the next time these two teams meet.

Tomorrow's opponent, on the other hand, will be a huge test for the Buds. The Blackhawks have been in Toronto waiting for the arrival of the Leafs and they are still on top of the hockey world. They just beat Ottawa 5-4, so do not take them lightly.
What happened? What to expect? The Leafs just played their best defensive game in a long time, by allowing only 10 shots against them in a huge 4-0 win over the Sabres. With the lines remaining intact, things looked to go well for the Leafs, until Lupul got hurt (again). Yesterday, he hurt his right hand in practice and…

BROKEN JACKETS (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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It's Halloween, and their is a Leaf game on tonight (so strange). In what is a rare staple in Leaf Land, the Buds will take on the Blue Jackets who are currently missing 7 key members. Outside of that, Columbus should not be taken lightly as the Jackets have outscored the Leafs 13-3 in the previous match ups. The last time the Leafs beat Columbus was in 2011, when the above picture was taken.
Background Info Since a record breaking evening against the Sabres, the Leafs have been taking time off to prepare for this weekends match ups. After allowing only 10 shots against, the Leafs are prepared to take on the storm as Columbus, and tomorrow's opponent, the Blackhawks, will be a more tough opponent and are more dangerous than ever. 
Speaking of Columbus, the injury bug has hit them hard early on this season. Heading into tonight's game, the Blue Jackets are missing 7 key members of their lineup due to injury, including Vezina winning goaltender Bobrovsky. That should be a g…

SAVING PRIVATE CARLYLE (POST-GAME OPINIONS)

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The Leafs have starved off ridiculous rumors and marched their way to the record books by dominating the Sabres to a 4-0 win. When there were talks of a line change that separated JVR and Bozak from Kessel, many thought that it would not work. So far, it has.
What happened? The Leafs entered this game following a dismal performance against the Bruins and surrounding countless rumors of the immediate future of the Leafs. The lines were shuffled, compete level was questioned, and Carlyle was thought to be fired. Obviously, there was loads of pressure on the Buds to break through and win, even if their opponent was Buffalo.
In the first, the Leafs dominated in terms of SOG, clearly proving that they were the better team. Two power-plays really helped the cause as they outshot the Sabres 17-4 by periods end. Although that was suprising, the first period was unmemorable to say the least. This was true for most of the second period, where the Leafs once again outshot and outplayed Buffalo …

AFTER THE FALLOUT (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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The Leafs have not played for a number of days now. But the reason for that was understandable, as of the tragic shooting in Ottawa. Fortunately, the Leafs are back and ready to return to action, and their opponent is a familiar foe: the Bruins. They are not as tough as in the past, but still a challenging match-up for the Buds.
Background Info The Bruins have had a slow start to their season, which is strange considering that this is almost the same team that won the cup 3 years ago. However, they are going to be without captain Chara who is out with a knee injury for the next month and a half.
As for the Leafs, they have not played since Tuesday as Wednesday's game against the Sens was postponed following the tragic shooting on Parliament Hill (The game has since be rescheduled to November 9). In their last game, they had a really strong effort against a surging Islanders team, with a 5 goal outburst. Although the Leafs have a record of 3-3-2, they are playing better hockey tha…

LOVIN' NYC RIGHT NOW (POST-GAME OPINIONS)

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What is it with the Leafs when they play against New York teams this season? In the two games they have played in the Big Apple, the Leafs have scored 11 goals (wow). 5 of them were scored tonight against a strong Islander team and the buds got a big win where the offense exploded again.
What happened? In what was one of the final visit to Long Island in Leaf history, the start to the game did not go as hoped. Within the first two minutes of the game, the gave up a goal to new Isle Nick Leddy on a questionable play, where there were indications that the play should have been offside. It has been a problem early in the season, and no team should benefit from it (including the Leafs). Getting back on track, the Leafs did eventually tie things up midway through off another JVR-Kessel play with JVR being the beneficiary of the play. Unfortunately for the Buds, they ran into penalty trouble with call after call going against them. It resulted in a poor goal against from (guess who) Tavere…

CLEAN UP THE ISLES (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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The Leafs are back and are set to begin their second consecutive back-to-back game series. Tonight, they will face the Islanders, who are on a hot start and catching the hockey world's attention. Sound familiar? Well, let's hope the Leafs are up to the task because this is not the same team from last season.
Background Info The Isles, as mentioned before, are currently off to a hot start, with new players making an impact in their lineup. They lost their first game of the season this past weekend at the hands of their rivals, the Penguins. Expect them to be ready to play.

As for the Leafs, they had a tough weekend with consecutive losses to Detroit, one in regulation and the other late in overtime. They also lost feel good story Brandon Kozun to a lower body injury for the next 6 weeks. Although 1 out of a possible 4 points was gained in the mini series, the Leafs did put forth a strong effort on Saturday and made it close. What Carlyle classified as desperation hockey, may b…

BAD LUCK (POST-GAME OPINIONS)

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Just when you thought the Leafs would be rewarded with a strong effort by the third line and Bernier in general, Zetterberg had to ruin a good thing. That was by far the most exciting game the Leafs played all season, and came up just short of an extra point. *tear runs slowly down face*
What happened? The Leafs knew that they needed a better effort in winning two key points as they were manhandled by the Red Wings the night before. From the moment the puck dropped, you knew that this game was going to be exciting and tense. Take into consideration the rival, the Winter Classic, and just how similar these two teams are, and you have an exciting game for Hockey Night in Canada.
All game long, the play was going back and forth: Red Wings have a great chance and the Leafs return the favour; Red Wings dominate one shift, the Leafs take over the next. It just went on and on. The reason why it was so close? Bernier and Gustavsson. Enough said. Both played spectacular all game long, making …

UGH, TRY AGAIN (POST GAME AND PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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Here we go again. For the second time, the Leafs are embarrassed at home and a jersey is thrown onto the ice. This time, the opponent was the Red Wings and Reimer was the goalie. Not much has to be said about this game. But, since the Leafs have a second chance tomorrow, I think I will combine the two articles (tonights recap and tomorrow's preview) together. Lucky you! What happened and Background Info Just take the Leafs team that lost to Pittsburgh and every event that occurred throughout, and you have a glimpse of how bad this game was. Although to be fair, most of the goals against were fluky (as in luck for Detroit) and was just a bunch of bad bounces against the Buds. Zetterberg opened the scoring midway through the first with a shot that somehow got past Reimer from the red line. Then it got a bit chirpy with some rough stuff between the two teams. 
The second period is when the game went to Detroit. The first goal of the frame was a result of a flying puck that disappear…

REMEMBER ME? (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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It's been a long wait for the Leafs to return to action, but starting tonight, the Leafs will begin a home and home series with arch-rivals Detroit. The Red Wings did have the better record against the Leafs, but the Buds did win a memorable Winter Classic match last New Years. With a renewed sense of excitement surrounding the two teams, these match-ups should be fun to watch.
Background Info Prior to this home and home series, the Red Wings have, like the previous opponent, have had some early struggles of scoring goals. Part of the problem is that their injury bug problems from last year continue to affect the lineup, Datsyuk being the main example. 
The Leafs, meanwhile, have be responding well after a bad showing less than a weeks ago. With a big win on Sunday and the dominating performance on Tuesday, Kessel and his linemates are starting to pick up steam. Also, Percy was denied a point to extend his small streak, but he has been solid for the Leafs since his promotion.
Ber…

HOME SWEET HOME (POST GAME OPINIONS)

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Wow. So when I said the Leafs need to get the crowd on their side, they did it in a big way. The Leafs pull through to their second win of the season, and they can say they outshot their opponent quite admirably (40-24). JVR, Lupul, and Kessel with the OT winner provided the offense. Is it just me or is their another goalie controversy going on.
What happened? Prior to this game, the Leafs struggled in front of their fans. They saw a close game lost in the last minute and a disappointing effort by the Leafs the next game. This time, they turned the table and played the type of hockey that killed them last season: outshoot and out play the other team. Against the Avalanche, this marked a good opportunity for the Leafs, and they took advantage.
JVR opened the scoring with a great turnover by Franson that lead to the familiar Kessel-JVR play. Kessel made the pass, JVR shot the puck and it went past Varlamov. Ryan O'Reilly tied it up shortly after with his first of the year. Afterwor…

KEEP IT GOING (PRE-GAME OPINIONS)

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These match-ups against Western Conference teams are always exciting to watch. And the opponent that the Leafs will be facing next are on a mission: score more goals. The Avs did score a bit earlier today, but the Leafs should fear their hunger to find the twine. Are the Buds ready?
Background Info Prior to today's win over Boston, Colorado had not scored a goal in its first two games. Then, as mentioned before, they scored two including one (as seen above) scored in the dying seconds. We know that they want more goals as two isn't enough.
The Leafs are fresh off a big 6-3 win over the Rangers on Sunday, but were previously handled by the Penguins two nights earlier. The goal for the Leafs tonight is to get the crowd on their side, as they have yet to win on home ice in three games.
Also, with Gardiner being scratched from the lineup in yesterday's matchup, the set up for this game may be tough as Percy is making a strong case for himself to stay on the team as proven  by…