Leafs Postgame: Sens Kanata Catch A Break

Going into tonight, the Leafs’ draft hopes were pretty much set. They have too many points to reverse-catch Buffalo, Arizona, or Edmonton. The Devils have pulled out of reach. Columbus, uhh, got somewhat healthy and remembered how to play hockey recently. The only team left to worry about is Carolina, and the fortunes in that scenario could change really fast.

For example, if the Leafs lost in regulation tonight, all they would have needed to lock themselves into 27th is a Hurricanes overtime loss tomorrow. Against Buffalo. But, that’s not exactly what happened. The Leafs brought this one to a shootout, and unlike last night, actually won.

The Rundown

This game started off with the typical early first period goal, but oddly enough, it was for the Leafs. Joffrey Lupul opened the scoring for the blue and white, hammering home his own rebound after redirecting a feed from Eric Brewer. This was just one shot of twenty two for the Leafs, which set a season high.

The second period, on the other hand, wasn’t as kind to them. In fact, for the first ten minutes, the Leafs couldn’t pick up shot number twenty three. The Senators, however, picked up an equalizer, making quick use of a powerplay to set up a pinching Erik Karlsson for a nifty snipe on Jonathan Bernier. When the Leafs did eventually hit the net, it was actually a failed pass by Peter Holland that deflected its way towards Andrew Hammond. Amazingly, this didn’t stop the Leafs from answering back; two minutes later, Holland returned with James van Riemsdyk, and set up the winger for his 27th of the season.

Toronto’s lead carried into the third, but only lasted for another minute. Mark Stone was briefly covered by Tyler Bozak, but as soon as the young centre skated away, Kyle Turris set him up for a wicked one timer to beat Jonathan Bernier. The Sens continued to put on the pressure, but ultimately, this game headed to overtime.

In the extra frame, the two sides went back and forth. Heck, for a moment, it looked like Eric Brewer was going to play unlikely hero once again. But nobody was able to score, and it, like last night, headed to a shootout. In the shootout, we Mika Zibanejad roof a wrister and Lupul do his go-to flip and snipe, followed by a goaltending battle. Save after save after save was made, until Holland ultimately beat a sprawling Andrew Hammond to win the game for the Leafs.

Blue Warrior

I’m going to go with Joffrey Lupul. His first goal in 2015 gives him as many in the calendar year as John Scott with six games in hand, and puts him just one point back of Tanner Glass’ production in the same time period.

Okay, that’s a little mean, but Lupul’s obviously having a rough go at it and it’d be nice to see him get a bit of a boost from that in the final two games of the year. Even if its just for his own psyche moving forward.

Also, he used his patented shootout move, which, for my money, is the best move in hockey.

Summing It Up

I really hope the Senators make the playoffs. I never really bought into the “Battle of Ontario” rivalry as a kid; one fanbase was clearly bigger and their team was the one that won every playoff series. There was maybe one significant incident between the two sides in the regular season. Meanwhile, they could knock out the Bruins, who have a longer history against the Leafs and are much easier to hate.

This has nothing to do with the Leafs, really, but I still feel its a shame that a meaningless two points for the blue and white might set a feel-good story back. Anyway, we’ll see you again on Wednesday, when the Leafs take on David Clarkson’s the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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  • TGT23

    The times are indeed a changing to quote Bob Dylan.
    Us old timers respect and accept that the younger fan is truly different than us. Take jerseys as an example the young fan will buy as many jerseys as the owners will throw at them. Some will throw them back. But seriously I do find it a bit strange that todays younger fan could be a Yankee fan and then come the playoffs make believe he is a Red Sox fan.

    Or cheer on the leafs and then look in his closet for his Habs or Sens jersey.

    To some extent I get it in the sense that Jeff, Steve and others at this site have never experienced a winning tradition for the leafs. Oh sure way back when you were very young the leafs came close to getting to the finals. So I comprehend the easiness of pulling for the Senators or Habs. But to quote another music great, one Eric Clapton who recently turned 70 and can remember the leafs winning cups. SURE IS A STRANGE BREW.

    • CMpuck

      Bob Dylan lyrics that come to mind…

      Well, ask me why I’m drunk alla time
      It levels my head and eases my mind
      I just walk along and stroll and sing
      I see better days and I do better things
      (I catch dinosaurs
      I make love to Elizabeth Taylor . . .
      Catch hell from Richard Burton!

      Or Leaf Nation version spiked Kool-aid fix…

      I’ll give 30 million to Kadri,
      A blank check to Bernier/Reimer
      It’s all Bozak’s fault
      Mitch Marner and Nylander are cornerstones
      Vanilla midget wingers win championships.

    • TGT23

      I think you might be misinterpreting what is happening a little…

      I think if we’re all being honest with ourselves it needs to be said that the Leafs don’t have a rivalry with Montreal or Ottawa.

      Not anymore.

      Or, at least, not right now. For there to be a rivalry there has to be two good teams involved. Or two bad teams.

      But, a rivalry where one team is good and the other team is the Leafs is not a rivalry. And calling it one fools no one.

      Now, no one is pretending or make believing to be Sens or Hab FANS. This is where you are most confused I believe. What people MIGHT be doing is respecting a good team for being good (Montreal), respecting good stories for being good (Hammond), and not investing themselves emotionally into hating a team the Leafs can’t compete with.

      No one is pretending that these teams have a rivalry except maybe you. And hey, I get it. I remember when it used to BE a rivalry. I bet Steve and Jeffler do too. But times change. Rivalries grow and fade.

      Like it or not. The Leafs/Habs and Leafs/Sens rivalries are dead. At least for the foreseeable future.

      Heck, NONE of the players on any of the teams were ON the teams or even in the NHL (save for maybe Brewer) when the Leafs were last perennial playoff contenders and so were Ottawa and Montreal.

      You know… Back when the rivalry was a rivalry.

      Most of these kids on Toronto were still wearing Ninja Turtle pajama’s and sleeping with nightlights the last time the Leafs were any good.

      You can’t tell me Kadri, Reilly, Nylander, Subban, Price, etc. hate eachother. There’s no hate there. There is no one left but us to remember when these teams HATED eachother.

      Until the rebuild is complete there will be no reason to remember. Until the first Leafs/Habs playoff series, no one but the fans will remember.

      So, yeah, I give a pass to people who want to pull for the Sens and Habs. But not the Bruins. Those wounds are fresh.

  • CMpuck

    I couldn’t help but notice that the national sports radio network owned by Bell, namely TSN radio had its Toronto affiliate TSN 1050 which broadcasts in the third largest market in North America make the decision of going with the live RAW wrassling show rather than the usual several hour post leaf game show. Is TSN 1050 trying to tell us something??? Just asking.

  • TGT23

    about time Bernier earned his pay cheque……1 good game in HOW LONG??? doesn’t make for anything, way to little to late…

    but I do give dues when do…Great game Bernie!

    • TGT23

      To answer your question; his last good start came three games prior to this one against Minny. Resulted in a loss but he stopped 30/32. The game before that vs. Ottawa he stopped 21/22.

      So not all that long ago. But they’ve been few and far between in recent times.

      And you’re right, one good game does not make up for his struggles… The same can be said for Reimer, though. One good game or a stretch isn’t going to change that both of these goalies have been at or below league average.

      But it does build a little value in trades this off-season, which can only be a good thing.

      • TGT23

        Ok! TGT23

        I am calling it quits regarding the net-minders….

        We can both go on about who is better yadda yadda…

        These 2 guys are young and hopefully will be able to be whatever it is they want, which is being the top dog…..

        they both have good and bad games, they both can really have an awful game but they are what they are and you have your points as I have mine, neither is right or wrong, and in all fairness does anyone really care? I mean we don’t win or loose the games and we have seen it where sometimes the fans are tossed under the bus as well as the team…

        I like Reims and maybe I am bia’s but I don’t think so….I hope nothing but the best for both net minders, but I will always be a Reimer fan, but again I do give dues when they are deserved…

        I wish both Reims and Bernie the best of luck, but as it stands neither net minder has good numbers/stats with the awful year they have had with this team…..so it may be good for the tank nation but it really hurts both net minders to be on this down hill spiril because to loose game after game, does nothing for them and their stats..as you seem to follow…

        Hopefully in the end Both Reims and Bernie will get what they want where ever that may be…..

        I feel they both would flourish with a better “D” team and a fresh start else where..

        but time will tell soon enough..

        THE END