Oh baby what a game. Last night’s tilt was an emotional roller coaster. I told JP that I thought the Leafs would jump out to a big lead and then let their foot off the gas. I had no idea that they would abandon the car completely.
I’m enamoured with the shift charts compiled over at www.timeonice.com. It really shows you how each time is matching lines and can help explain why the game went the way it did. Here is what stood out to me:
- Both Colton Orr and Mike Brown saw their night come to an end at the 13 minute mark of the third period.
- Gardiner didn’t see the ice after the second Senator’s 2nd goal at the 11 minute mark of the third.
- The lack of a goal on the extended 5-3 really turned the tide of the period. Grabbo-Kulie-Frattin saw a bunch of ice-time while Spezza, Alfredsson, Da Costa, and Karlsson rested. When the Sens went on the PP they were able to take advantage of some weaker opposition and Phaneuf in the box.
- Filatov only saw three shifts in the third period.
- Once again Gunnar-Phaneuf played in all situations. It looks like we finally have a legit top defence pairing.
- Spezza and Alfredsson played apart until about 6 minutes into the third when MacLean put them together for pretty well the rest of their shifts.
- Ron Wilson used David Steckel as more than just a face-off specialist this game. Comparing this game to last he didn’t just win the draw and then change, he saw a lot of ice-time in the final 10 minutes of the game.
- Kulemin and Grabbo are essentially attached at the hip. One is rarely on the ice without the other, seriously, their shift charts are identical. These two are the most valuable forwards we have. And we pay them under $3M a season. Oh baby.
- For all the talk of the Ron Wilson Blender Kessel and Bozak played almost every shift together, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. This raises some interesting questions with the return of Connolly.
So there you have it. We’re two games in and it looks as though Wilson’s strategy is to use Gunnar-Phaneuf as much as possible, and play the Kessel line against the other team’s top pair until late in the third.
Go take a look for yourself. What stood out to you?