Colton played 15 minutes? Y’Orr joking me – Leafs/Habs recap


I commented after the game that nothing is at stake with the Toronto Maple Leafs, just the prime years of Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Mikhail Grabovski. Those three are legitimate stars in the National Hockey League, if only they could be surrounded with a supporting cast to help them win.

In some ways, they do. Clarke MacArthur is a versatile player. Nik Kulemin has stopped shooting, but he’s still strong on defence and moving the puck around in the offensive zone. Jay McClement is a top defensive centreman and he’s stabilized the Maple Leafs penalty kill.

Colton Orr played a career-high 14:55 at even strength in this game. That was more than Kessel and van Riemsdyk. The Leafs were out-shot 32-21 at even strength. In shot attempts at net, or “Corsi” events, the Habs had 74 events to Toronto’s 56.

-I write about scoring chances on this blog a lot, and it’s our way of visualizing whether matches are success, as well as gauging where the team stands mixing in quality shots and puck possession. Possession, however, told the story tonight. The system that keeps opponents to the outside taking long shots came back to bite the Leafs tonight hard. All four Montreal goals were not taken on shots deemed “scoring chances”. The first three were tipped in front and Max Pacioretty scored on a good shot from a real weird angle on a shot that shouldn’t have gone in.

-Overall, the scoring chances were even. They were 10-10 on the night, and Toronto had a 10-8 advantage at even strength. That didn’t tell the story, though. It’s not that Montreal was “being kept the outside” as people have been trying to tell me all year. Those tips, those blocks, those bounces in front just aren’t resulting on the opponent getting their stick on the puck in a good area. I saw a number of botched odd man rushes or swings and misses at pucks. Max Pacioretty completely whiffed on one on the 5-minute powerplay where the puck just flopped over his stick. He then scored when Ben Scrivens kicked a rebound of Pacioretty’s shin pad. That’s just how the hockey Gods work sometime.

-Some Corsi numbers for the Leafs. The left number is shot attempts ‘for’ while on the ice, the right number is shot attempts ‘against’ while on the ice.

-Highlights for the Leafs in scoring chance differential? Nazem Kadri and Mikhail Grabovski each had great games. Kadri set up two scoring chances and had an attempt on a third. Grabovski had a team-high six shots on goal, including three from in close (one was a penalty shot where he looked bad, but he still had to set up that play on his own).

-More highlights? Cody Franson and Mark Fraser matched up mostly with Kadri against the line of Tomas Plekanec, Brandon Prust and Brian Gionta. Somehow, that resulted in the Leafs winning that battle phenomenally, probably because Prust didn’t seem too interested in playing hockey, leaving Plekanec and Gionta shorthanded for much of the game. Franson was +5/-0 on scoring chances. Fraser was +4/-1. Somehow he came away as a +2 and is still the NHL leader in that category, and hopefully he keeps this up to join such defensive luminaries as Jeff Schultz and Marek Malik.

-The first line looked bad, but what do you expect? The Leafs had 15 offensive zone face-off opportunities and Tyler Bozak was only out to take four of them. The fourth line got to have three, and the first line had to play defence all night against the Habs’ top line. The Leafs first line also got limited minutes, no chances on the powerplay, and, again, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk had less ice-time at even strength than Colton Orr.

-It wouldn’t bug me if Orr actually did something that involved protecting Kadri. Orr recorded two hits and zero shots. Kadri was hit three times, by P.K. Subban, Brandon Prust and Alexei Emelin. For each instance, Orr was on the ice, but the opponent was not deterred from hitting Nazem Kadri. It’s a miracle that line wasn’t a puck-possession black hole tonight but I did not see Colton Orr do a single thing worth having him out for nearly 15 minutes. He had one shot attempt (blocked) and MacArthur and Kadri picked up the bulk of the offence. Leo Komarov got involved with those three in the three games Orr was absent and Kadri looked like an all-star.

-Again, Nazem Kadri was hit by P.K. Subban, Brandon Prust and Alexei Emelin with Orr on the ice, and he did nothing. Here’s a breakdown of meaningless Leaf fights courtesy of Adam Gretz at CBS.

-Lowlight? Dion Phaneuf and Korbinian Holzer lost another matchup. Sure, it’s tough to play against top lines every night, but David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty should not be a huge threat. They’re dangerous, but so are all first lines, and it’s the top pairing’s job to keep the team even in puck-possession, scoring chances and goals when they’re on the ice and making sure the play is going the other way. Holzer just can’t play. The gaps are big, he loses his man too much, and it has an adverse effect on Phaneuf who usually controlled possession last season. Holzer’s the variable, and he’s not a top pairing NHL defenceman. It’s okay, few are.

-The speed of the play factored into Mike Brown getting five and ten on the hit on Josh Gorges at the end of the first. Still a bad call, but it’s not the first that the Leafs have put up with and these things even out over the course of the season. At least they didn’t get a bad call during a game where everything else was going right and it cost the team a game.

-Leafs individual scoring chance differentials. Left column indicates the number of chances at 5-on-5 each player was on the ice for. Middle column indicates the number of chances against his net. Right column indicates the differential. I’m tallying them up after Games 12, 24 and 36 in the 48-game season.

  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
Tyler Bozak 1 3 -2
James van Riemsdyk 1 3 -2
Phil Kessel 1 3 -2
Nazem Kadri 4 2 2
Colton Orr 4 2 2
Leo Komarov 4 2 2
Mikhail Grabovski 4 3 1
Nik Kulemin 4 3 1
Leo Komarov 3 3 0
Jay McClement 3 0 3
Mike Brown 0 0 0
Frazer McLaren 1 0 1
Dion Phaneuf 2 4 -2
Korbinian Holzer 0 4 -4
Carl Gunnarsson 5 3 2
Mike Kostka 4 4 0
Cody Franson 5 0 5
Mark Fraser 4 1 3
  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
David Desharnais 4 1 3
Brendan Gallagher 4 1 3
Max Pacioretty 4 1 3
Tomas Plekanec 1 4 -3
Brandon Prust 0 4 -4
Brian Gionta 1 4 -3
Alex Galchenyuk 4 2 2
Michael Ryder 2 3 -1
Lars Eller 2 3 -1
Ryan White 1 2 -1
Colby Armstrong 1 2 -1
Travis Moen 0 3 -3
Alexei Emelin 1 5 -4
Andrei Markov 1 5 -4
Josh Gorges 1 3 -2
P.K. Subban 5 2 3
Tomas Kaberle 6 2 4
Francis Bouillon 2 3 -1

-And team totals. Parenthetical numbers are even strength totals.

  1st 2nd 3rd Total
Toronto (EV) 3 (3) 3 (3) 4 (4) 10 (10)
Montreal (EV) 2 (2) 6 (4) 2 (2) 10 (8)

LeafsNation Three Stars

  1. Max Pacioretty
  2. Alex Galchenyuk
  3. Mikhail Grabovski
  • 1. Regarding Holzer, I suppose you support playing Liles and moving up Gunnar rather then having Kostka/Phaneuf as a pairing?

    2. Looking at scoring chances or Corsi or even +- it seems that Orr was not the worst leaf tonight. Increasing his minutes didn’t hurt the leafs compared to say that the first line that was terrible. That said, I would have given the first line minutes to Grabbo and Kadri line but I don’t see what facts you use to pin this loss on playing Orr. Sure Orr is not great at hockey but he was not the worst leaf tonight.

    Holzer/Phaneuf and the first line were just terrible and more responsible for the loss then Orr playing more minutes.

  • You’re right in that it doesn’t *directly* hurt the Leafs, but playing him resulted in the Leafs needing to shelter Kadri’s line. If Kessel gets the same opportunities against a Plekanec line that also wasn’t playing well on the night, and some offensive chances, it helps a heckuva lot.

  • The Leafs are seriously lacking in skill. The tough, rockem sockem hockey has had them doing fairly well through the first part of the season but now that other teams are starting to hit their stride, you’re going to see the Leafs on the losing end ALOT more often.

    I don’t blame Carlyle for giving his thugs big minutes in the first period when the Leafs were trying to set the tone and intimidate…. but after being terribly outplayed and outshot, there is no need for Colton Orr and company to continue to eat up big time minutes.

    Also, Grabovski is not a start in the NHL. He’s a top six forward on a team that is severely lacking in star power. Need proof? Check out his attempt on his penalty shot.

    • The Leafs will start losing a lot more because they aren’t a good team and they have been riding the percentages. Playing ‘tough, rockem sockem hockey’ has nothing to do with it.

      Blame Carlyle for dressing thugs at the expense of actual hockey players. They don’t do anything to ‘set the tone and intimidate’.

      This part of your comment was stupid. Grabovski is a very good player. Full stop. Using his penalty shot as an example to argue otherwise is something a simpleton would do.

  • Back in Black

    Rockem sockem isn’t really what the Leafs are good at. When they win games it’s with speed and quick transitions (and high save percentages). The goons are just a distraction.