Leafs Post Game: Red is Hotter than Blue


We entered Friday’s game with plenty of storylines. James Reimer was getting his third consecutive start, Jake Gardiner was re-entering the lineup after two games in the press box and the Leafs were looking for their third win in a row after starting the year with two straight losses. 

Unfortunately, it all came tumbling down tonight in a game that saw the Leafs lose 4-1 on home ice, culminating in a Phaneuf jersey thrown on the ice near the end of the game.


The game started out not terrible. For the first ten minutes (exactly ten minutes) the Leafs looked like they were going to compete. They looked like they were going to have a chance. But then at exactly the ten minute mark, Johan Franzen put one past Reimer after Polak fell trying to turn around the back of his net. Poor play by a poor skater and it was 1-0 for the Red Wings. 

From then on, the game was controlled by the Red Wings. Toronto took way too many penalties and so often were just standing around watching the puck. In fact, it’s hard to blame Reimer for any of the goals Detroit scored. When your defence decides to puck-watch the entire game, it’s going to be a long night in the defensive zone. 

Going into the third period, the Leafs were down 3-0 and seemed dead. They did get a quick goal to start the third where the third line scored 21 seconds in. Mike Santorelli got his first goal as a Leaf with assists from the other misfits, Komarov and Clarkson. But that was a lone bright spot, as they were outshot 15-7 in the period and 35-24 overall. 

The Red Wings first line dominated the game, as Zetterberg had four assists,and Franzen and Nyquist both had two points a piece.

The bright side?? Toronto had more blocked shots tonight! 19-8! Yay. 

Blue Warrior 

Do I have to pick one? The whole team was abysmal tonight. Reimer isn’t to blame but he still gave up four goals. The third line scored a goal but they were also on for two. I guess tonight, the Blue Warrior will have to be the team’s penalty kill. The Red Wings had five powerplays but weren’t successful on any of them. There were a lot of moments where the Leafs even had some scoring opportunities, and Brandon Kozun drew a penalty while almost getting a breakaway. 

It’s hard to be positive about anything when the Leafs get thoroughly outplayed like they did tonight but the penalty kill wasn’t terrible so that’ll have to do. 


  • Jake Gardiner led the team in ice time with 22:12 after being scratched the last two games. #CarlyleLogic
  • Kadri’s line was the line tasked with shutting down Zetterberg tonight. Probably not the best idea. 
  • Franson in particular looked terrible tonight. The fourth goal was totally on him. Watching the puck instead of the man is never the right idea.
  • Gardiner and Rielly I think had a strong game. Both were also at or above 50% CF, with Rielly at 55% and Gardiner at 50%, tops amond d-men


Leafs had to Detroit tomorrow for the second of a head-to-head against the Red Wings. The game can be seen on CBC and look for Jon Bernier to get the start. 

  • Steven Tzemis

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Unless the starting goalie is outstanding this team is not good enough to win. Reimer was average tonight. He wasn’t to blame, but he also didn’t make any great saves.

    The other worrying factor to me is the lack of mental fortitude shown by this team. I know this can’t be quantified but it sure seems like when this team faces adversity they crumble. After Detroit scored the first goal the team just went dead. Its like they are so fragile they are just waiting for something bad to happen and then when it does it just kills them. I hope like hell they can figure this out but man this could be a really long season if they don’t. The worst thing is I’m not even sure how you go about fixing this problem either. You can’t trade talent for “grit” unless you want to suck forever but something clearly needs to change.

  • Steven Tzemis

    This game was enlightening. Kadri is not a capable #1C. He might still develop into one but it is clear that Kadri high CF% is simply because Carlyle usually shelters him unlike tonight.

    Also, sad to say but the leaf team plays better when Gardiner is not in the line up. The blowouts against the leafs come when Gardiner is in the lineup (penguins/wings). Gardiner doesn’t play poor at all as his Corsi shows, but the team for some reason is just plain better and has more chemistry when Gardiner is not playing. BTW I guess I’m not surprised you didn’t mention Phaneuf decent Corsi tonight. Maybe it was you that tossed the Phaneuf jersey on the ice?

    Also if you are going to quote analytics then at least mention tonight that Komarov, Bozak and CLarkson played topped the fowards tonight as per Corsi. I realize these type of players don’t fit the leafsnation narrative of ideal hockey players but credit should be given where due.

  • Steven Tzemis

    Where was the leafs compete and work effort tonight (well any night)? If the team gets lucky and pots a few goals while the goalie stands on the head they can win. Otherwise this team looks like they should play in the AHL.

    Analytics and possession won’t matter one iota if the team is unwilling to work and do what it takes to win puck battles. Let the calls for firing Carlyle start, but Babcock wouldn’t make a difference with these players if they are uncommitted and lazy.

  • Steven Tzemis

    This corsi is so cool man. Did you know that the Edmonton Oilers were 50% better in their Corsi compared to last year. Yep you just can’t judge a player with out knowing all your corsi and other analytical knowledge. You got to study this stuff till it is up your yin yang.

    Great news for Toronto sports fans as only 11 days till the only playoff bound major league team in Toronto opens its season. Namely the Toronto Raptors, the perfect antidote to the Jays and Leafs.

    • jimithy

      Ah, Edmonton, even when they are ahead in something, they still lose 😀

      This ought to be said, though – whether its corsi, p/60, zone entries, shots on goal, whatever – if you take just one stat in a vacuum and use it to describe a picture that could be (and often is) very different, it’s a logical fallacy called the Texas Sharpshooter. You can’t cherry pick your stats and call it analysis – this is why teams can lead in an area and be terrible or vice-versa.

      This drives me nuts about the talking-heads’ new look on statistics – they misuse them all the time and pan it off as expertise. Hockey is such a dynamic sport that talking purely about shots is just as silly as ignoring it.

      How’s Edmonton’s p/60? Pretty bad. Goalie Save%? Oh God, it’s league-basement. How are the individual stats of the defencemen? Medusa-like – they are so ugly looking at them turns you to stone.

      Think of stats like colours – you need a bunch of them all put together to paint the real picture. So Reilly and Gardiner were top-dmen tonight in corsi? Didn’t help much :/

    • CMpuck

      Love this argument, if Kessel doesn’t win us every game he’s useless, Nate McKinnon didn’t light the Leafs up on Tuesday should Colorado trade him?

      Kessel runs hot and cold just like everyone else who isn’t named Crosby.

  • jimithy

    Why are we not giving the kids on the Marlies a try?Kids like Broll,MacWilliams,Leivo,Loov.These kids will play with some HEART at least.These boys couldn’t do any worse than some of these LAZY over payed veterns presently on the Leafs Roaster.We need some of these hard checking drop the gloves players on our team.Very boring disapointing hockey right now and I don.t see the management team of the Leafs addressing the problem.What happened to the young tough Mimico kid named Shanahan? Has he forgotten where he was raised?Playing hard hitting,fast moving glove dropping hockey?Lets hope the Toronto Maple Leafs brain trust gets this figured out soon!or its going to be another long boring season.