There is one thing I’ve noticed about the Toronto Maple Leafs this year is that they are not going to be pushed around. Even the host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry recognized that fact on the weekend when he analyzed the first period of the Montreal game.
The Leafs marched into Montreal and took control of the game right away. “We did a lot of things in the first ten minutes (of the game) that kind of set the tone for our group for the rest of the night,” said Leaf’s head coach, Randy Carlyle in the post game press conference.
Phil Kessel looks as if he’s back. He racked up three points (one goal, two assists) in the 6-0 shut out win over the Canadiens. Leaf’s net minder, James Reimer stopped 37 shots during the game. I thought it was the best game I’ve seen the Leafs play so far in this shortened season.
The Leafs got off to a slow start in the game against Philadelphia by giving up the first goal early in the opening period, but with true grit, Toronto tied it up before the end of the first (period). After that, it was all Leafs as they beat the Flyers 5-2.
I am telling you now folks, this team is totally different from the ones in recent years. One the best moves Toronto did in the off season is trading Luke Schenn to the Flyers. In his final two years as a Leaf, he was useless on defense and he was useless in the 5-2 loss against Toronto. Sure, he got an assist on the game’s first goal, but that’s it.
There was, however, a scary moment for the Leafs in this game. Within four minutes into the second period, Leaf’s starting net minder, James Reimer injured himself and had to be helped off the ice. The good news is he sustained a mild medical collateral ligament knee strained and is expected to be out for a minimum of one week.
Meanwhile, back up goalie, Ben Scrivens came in the game and was practically flawless. He stopped 32 shots during the game.
Nazem Kadri and Cody Franson got two assists in the game. This is another thing I like about this Leaf squad. When the top two lines are having trouble producing goals, the third and fourth line delivers. This team has more depth.
On Thursday, the Leafs are in Carolina to face the Hurricanes. The last time these two teams met, the Hurricanes beat the Leafs 4-1.