Leafs rally falls short on Hockey Night – Jets win 5-4 in shootout

Photo via Claus Anderson/NHL Interactive

Sometimes you can nitpick certain aspects of the game. Sometimes you can just throw out the spreadsheets and enjoy a perfectly good game of hockey. Not a lot to comment on here—this was a hockey game with minimal structure from both teams, some hilarious coaching decisions on both ends, lots of goals, and an interminable shootout.

Winnipeg beats Toronto 5-4, but Toronto, for the second straight Saturday night, came back from a 4-1 deficit to force overtime and the shootout. They got their chances in the OT, but Nik Kulemin missed an empty net and Nazem Kadri failed to convert a gorgeous play set up by Phil Kessel and John-Michael Liles. They couldn’t get anything done in the shootout and James Reimer could only hold off the Jets for so long before Zach Bogosian scored the winner.

-The scoring chances were 19-13 for Winnipeg and 17-11 at even strength (16-9 at 5-on-5, which is what’s represented in the charts below). Other than the first two thirds of the second period, Toronto played Winnipeg evenly, but that sequence at the start of the second where the Jets scored all four of their goals was some of the worst hockey I’ve seen out of the Leafs this season. That said, they converted on their opportunities at the end of the period, thanks to one sloppy goal allowed by Ondrej Pavelec and a great play from Nazem Kadri.

-Joffrey Lupul had his first game back from the forearm injury and his shot didn’t seem to be affected. He scored on a weak backhander on his first touch of the game, and had another goal at the end of the second period. Five shots, three attempts blocked and a miss, with three of his shots coming in the scoring zone in 16:43 of ice-time. The Leafs out-shot the Jets 9-6 when he was on the ice, although that helps when playing Nazem Kadri this year.

-Again, some large gaps in minute quality. Mikhail Grabovski played 8 minutes against Winnipeg’s top line, Bozak played 3 and Kadri played 2. Dion Phaneuf played 12 minutes against that line, Cody Franson played 10 minutes against Kyle Wellwood. Sometimes that’s all it takes to be among the league leaders in +/-.

-Nik Kulemin, who had a good game defensively against those guys on Thursday after the first line was roughed up, had a stinker Saturday. 9 scoring chances against when on the ice. Regardless of how tough the minutes are, you should be holding the other team’s top line to no more than 6 scoring chances at most, but again, the combination of Andrew Ladd-Blake Wheeler-Bryan Little had its way in Toronto’s end. They’re quite good.

-Kulemin drew the short straw when Randy Carlyle flipped his bench around, spending a lot of time with Jay McClement and Leo Komarov towards the end of the game as Colton Orr got to play with Matt Frattin and Nazem Kadri.

-Of Jay McClement’s 13 face-offs, 8 were in the defensive zone and 4 were in the neutral zone. The one in the offensive end? It was the win that led to Nik Kulemin’s goal.

-Mikhail Grabovski has been getting more offensive zone minutes, but his line didn’t factor in offensively in this one: Grabo had 2 shots, Clarke MacArthur had just 1.

-It’s really time for Korbinian Holzer to head to the AHL. After killing Dion Phaneuf’s Corsi number during his time spent on Toronto’s top pair, Holzer made John-Michael Liles look human Saturday after Carlyle flipped his pairings for this one. Liles was real good against Pittsburgh alongside Carl Gunnarsson. Holzer left James Wright wide open on one of Winnipeg’s goals, but the play I didn’t like was in the first period when he tried to start a fight with Evander Kane, allowing Olli Jokinen an unabated path to the net. That was right before Bogosian came in to fight Holzer, nixing the penalty.

-Why did Phil Kessel serve Ben Scrivens’ penalty and not Jay McClement or Leo Komarov? The Leafs weren’t even going to the penalty kill. It would have made sense in that scenario, but since the game was going to be played at 5-on-5, it was a fairly curious move. After a minute, the Leafs actually got a power play, but Kessel was in the box serving a minor penalty and couldn’t join his teammates.

-Hilarious coaching move by Claude Noel to call a timeout to let the Leafs rest their tired unit. Sure, Carlyle probably would have called his timeout regardless, but it cost Noel the chance to use it after an icing call in overtime.

-Individual scoring chances:

  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
Tyler Bozak 1 4 -3
James van Riemsdyk 1 3 -2
Phil Kessel 1 4 -3
Nazem Kadri 6 3 3
Joffrey Lupul 6 2 4
Matt Frattin 4 2 2
Mikhail Grabovski 1 6 -5
Clarke MacArthur 1 6 -5
Nik Kulemin 2 9 -7
Jay McClement 1 4 -3
Colton Orr 2 2 0
Leo Komarov 1 3 -2
Dion Phaneuf 2 7 -5
Carl Gunnarsson 3 7 -4
John-Michael Liles 3 7 -4
Korbinian Holzer 1 7 -6
Cody Franson 5 2 3
Mark Fraser 4 2 2
  Chances For Chances Vs. Chances +/-
Bryan Little 7 5 2
Andrew Ladd 7 5 2
Blake Wheeler 7 4 3
Olli Jokinen 7 2 5
Evander Kane 7 2 5
Antti Miettinen 7 3 4
Kyle Wellwood 1 2 -1
James Wright 1 2 -1
Nik Antropov 1 2 -1
Eric Tangradi 1 0 1
Chris Thorburn 1 0 1
Patrice Cormier 1 0 1
Ron Hainsey 6 4 2
Zach Bogosian 5 3 2
Grant Clitsome 6 3 3
Dustin Byfuglien 5 2 3
Mark Stuart 4 3 1
Derek Meech 6 3 3

-Team totals:

  1st 2nd 3rd OT Total
Toronto (EV) 8 (6) 3 (3) 2 (2) 0 13 (11)
Winnipeg (EV) 6 (4) 9 (9) 2 (2) 0 19 (17)


Corsi / Fenwick
On-ice faceoffs
Head 2 Head Icetime

LeafsNation Three Stars

  1. Blake Wheeler
  2. Joffrey Lupul
  3. Andrew Ladd
  • There is big problems with the leafs defense and Phaneuf and it is more then Holzer. In the past I blamed Phaneuf’s AHL partners too but tonight Phaneuf was paired with Gunnar and Phaneuf looked terrible. He is making some pretty awful AHL level defensive choices and mistakes out there.

    Is Phaneuf hurt? Maybe Phaneuf needs some rest in the press box to watch a game and refresh his batteries. But it is clear that everyone he plays is just terrible – gunnar, holzer, kostka. And Gunnar sure looks like the better dman by cleaning up all of Phaneuf’s too often defensive lapses.

  • I’m tired of all this bad reporting by the bloggers and their advanced stats blaming bozak or Orr for why the leafs are losing.

    Just watch the game. The problem with the leafs is not 1C/Bozak or goaltending or the enforcers.
    The problem with the leafs is DEFENCE. The leafs don’t have effective shutdown defenders. Phaneuf is completely outmatched as a first pairing defender. The most consistent defenseman on the leafs is Gunnarson but he struggles. After tonight it is clear the problem with first pairing is not Phaneuf’s AHL partners. The problem with that first pairing is Phaneuf. He is just not good at playing hard defensive shutdown hockey. The sooner the leafs deal with this the faster they will avoid terrible games like last night.

    Else maybe Phaneuf needs a game off to watch the game from a different perspective and rest up but there is something off with his game. This can’t continue.

    • I’ve watched the games for years and what I haven’t seen was a real top 2 defender beside Phaneuf. Some food for thought there for all the times he gets beat. Where is the other defender? Already beat. Another top 2 defender and the odds and scoring chances would be cut drastically

      • So Beauchimen not a top 2 defender?

        Why is Beuachi + Souray this year a better pairing then Beauchi + Phaneuf have ever been? If you exclude Beauchimen as a valid top 2 defender in the NHL then exclude Phaneuf as well because he is no where near as good defensively as Beauchimen. In reality, Phaneuf can’t even outplay Souray on the ducks this year. That is how the level of his game.

        His +-, Corsi, scoring chances all through his career show this. And so does watching hockey. What fogs this is that he plays the most difficult minutes on the leafs but what becomes apparent looking at the data and video is that Phaneuf outmatched on any top pairing in the NHL. He reminds of Brian Campbell of Panther only not as gifted offensively, a much worse skater but more physical and only slightly better defensively.

  • Also Schenn on the flyers this year is playing better then Phaneuf has ever played. Sure people will say it is because of Timmo but who has Phaneuf ever carried? No one…not gunnar, not komisarek, not beuchimen and not any AHLers. No One.

    Phaneuf needs a partner to make him look good. Now by that logic Timmo is a better defender then Phaneuf. And the reality is that Phaneuf is just not good. He makes the leafs defense worse.

  • I’m questioning Carlyle coaching more and more these games. I mean when why put out Phagoof in a shootout over Grabovski.

    The smartest thing Carlyle did tonight was put Orr on Kadri and Lupul’s line and once he did that the leafs battled back in the third. But you can tell in this game that the leafs were badly missing Mclaren. Randy needs to get him back in the line up with Orr.

    • Here is my vision of a winning line combo. Each line has speed, scoring and toughness. This would be a really hard team to play against. Tell me why this line combo would not work ??

      Line 1: Lupul / Kadri / Orr
      Line 2: JVR / Bozak / Kessel
      Line 3: MacArthur / Grabo / Komarov
      Line 4: McClement / Connelly / Frattin

      Size, speed and scoring on every line.

  • @tnleaf is right about the shootout, 5.5 million on the bench. Not the best coaching decision. I mean Kule before Grabs? Really?

    I think there needs to be a reshuffle of the C’s too, Grabovski needs to be unshackled from the yoke defence for a shift or two. It takes a certain personality to do that type of work day in and day out. Some guys love it, think Madden or Muller, Mac-T…but Grabs strikes me more of a poor mans Datsyuk. He needs to be babied just a little bit too and given a bit of slack.

    If the leafs want a fulltime checker, go trade for a pest that can win face-offs and skate like the wind, Mike Peca, Bolland…those guys love annoying the top players and scoring opportunistically.

  • In the post game, Carlyle stated that on the shootout, he chose based on skill. So Kuli, PHANEUF,Franson, and Bozak all have more skill than Grabs at a shootout? Unreal.

    It is looking ever more obvious that Carlyle has an issue with Grabs as he did with Lupul in Anahiem. It is going to be a sad day for the Leafs, but I could easily see him traded…