Toronto Maple Leafs Post-Game: Leafs Get Carlyle’d

Gimme a “Car!” *clap*

Gimme a “Lyle!” *clap*

“Car-lyle! Car-lyle! Car-lyle!” *clap clap*

Welcome to the PDO show, Montreal. 

Last season, the Montreal Canadiens were a notoriously poor possession team that made it through their season on superhuman goaltending. It was almost like they were the Toronto Maple Leafs circa 2013-2014, only Carey Price never got hurt. 

Well, that Carlyle-esque Habs team is back… hoo boy, are they ever back. 

Which, you know. Means that the Leafs lost 3-1. 

The Good

I know we aren’t Canadiens fans, but quick moment of appreciation for the fact that Alex Galchenyuk – who would actually score Montreal’s second of three goals – actually got to play centre. Good for you, Therrien, for figuring out that your third overall draft selection was probably drafted to stand in the faceoff dot. 

For the Leafs, though, this wasn’t a half bad game. There’s actually quite a bit of good to talk about. 

Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri, and Jake Gardiner have returned in full force; the trio combined for two appearances as interim goalie, seven shots on net, and plenty of great energy. James van Riemsdyk also scored Toronto’s lone goal on a great screen during one of Toronto’s overwhelming number of chances in front of Carey Price, which was nice. 

The fourth line also had some great forechecking and energy out of Leo Komarov and Mark Arcobello, both of whom managed to get some time on special teams, and the entire roster had a ton of energy. This Leafs lineup looked nothing like the Leafs lineup that was playing over the second half of the 2014-2015 season; pardon my french, but this team looked like they actually gave a s***. 

Mike Babcock did some pretty great things with shortening player shifts to keep the players cycling through, and between that and a ton of offensive pressure, the Leafs looked far more energetic than the Canadiens by about halfway through the game. 

Oh, and they also outshot Montreal 37-30. Who remembers when the Leafs used to get outshot nearly every night? NOT ME!

Since this was a game brought to you by the spirit of Randy Carlyle, though, that meant Montreal won. So. 

The Bad

Well, the Leafs obviously lost. That was bad. 

The team also got to do this nifty thing where they became the first NHL club of the season to exercise the brand-spanking-new coach’s challenge. 

Why is this bad? Well, because that was the second goal of the night – against the Leafs alone. Had the coach’s challenge either not have been ruled in Toronto’s favor (unlikely, but hey – it happens, Tim Peel is still an NHL referee) that would have left the team 4-1 as the game stands now; had the energy level shifted at the time, things could have gotten pretty ugly. 

Which brings me to…

The Ugly

I’m a big fan of Jonathan Bernier. I think he’s got some great technique – but I certainly didn’t see much of it tonight. 

I’m not even talking about the whole getting-beat-on-the-first shot of the night thing, either. Let’s just chalk that up to “it’s Max Pacioretty, whatever, life isn’t fair when he’s around.”

There’s one shot in the first period that I literally wrote down while taking notes for the recap; it ultimately went off the post, but Bernier was beat high glove side in order to have the puck even reach the net itself. How he was beat? The team’s starter dropped his glove when dropping into butterfly, then brought it back up once he was in position – that’s a huge no-no that goaltenders learn from a pretty early age, and that’s a pretty inexcusable mistake for Bernier to make this early in the season. He knows better (and we’ve all seen it), so he needs to play better. He made a few simple mistakes like that throughout the night, which may have been nerves – but if that becomes a pattern, let the goalie controversy REALLY begin. 

The Leafs also saw only five players out of eighteen fail to record a shot on goal over three periods – and putting Martin Marincin aside for being a blue liner, that left four forwards who managed to be held shot-less in Toronto’s strongest possession game fans have seen in years. 

Oh yeah – and one of those four was Tyler Bozak. He didn’t look bad in the game, but come on, Tyler – when your team records 37 shots on goal, at least one of them should come from you. 

Overall, wasn’t a bad opening to the season. Plus, hey! Still time to finish out the year 81-1-0. 

#BeLeafInYourself, Toronto. 

    • Gary Empey

      Let’s be fair here. Toronto the fourth worst team in the NHL was playing against a Stanley Cup contender. The expected score should of been 3-0 or 4-1 after the first period. That didn’t happen. Instead after two periods it was 1-1. Toronto outplayed, out-coached Montreal in every aspect of the game except goaltending. You only had to see the look on the Montreal coaches’ face to know they were damned lucky to still be in the game.

  • CMpuck

    Tell me you now have video adds playing on your actual articles… then tell me that they actually follow you if you scroll down the page passed them… like an effing rash

  • Gary Empey

    Hi Simmons.

    Bernier only got a .931 Sv% tonight. You don’t like Bernier’s technique like you don’t like Reimer’s weak glove hand and how he flops around?

    I nominate this as mittenstringer of the year award.

  • CMpuck

    Can someone tell me what the heck Tyler Bozak is still doing on this team? He is a corsi black hole and represents everything that was wrong with Carlyle and the old guard.

    Why would Dubas trade a better puck possession player like Kessel and keep Bozak. Just stupidity any way you look at it.

  • TGT23

    The disallowed goal doesn’t make it 4-1 final because the 3rd real goal was an EN which likely doesn’t happen if the Leafs were already down 3-1 (nevermind causality of the disallowed 2nd goal standing and whether the 2nd goal that was actually allowed still happens).

    So, 3-1 is likely the final nonetheless.

    Anyway, team looked good. Good possession, good energy, liked Kardri, Gardiner, and Reilly tonight. I find it funny Bernier allows 2 goals on 29 shots and is labelled “ugly”… lol. He does that all season we’re winning a lot of games (2.00 GAA, .931 SV%).

    Still, first goal was weak. I actually didn’t see the 2nd goal so I can’t comment.

    So, good Game 1. I like the way this team plays comparatively to the Carlyle era. I have hope for the future… But, this will be a long season full of losses so… silver lining on what will be a turd of a season.

    • Brooksterman

      harrington and winnik failed to clear the puck but that was after another awful juicy rebound in front of the net by bernier. it was another bad goal but the team could have cleared the puck too. overall, everyone was at fault. not a good 1st period by him despite the stats. that 1 period was the end.

  • Gary Empey

    I liked everything I seen about the potential of new look Leafs. Everything but the final score. They were in it until the empty netter. It looks like they have adjusted to how Babcock likes to see the game played. They big question remains can they score goals. Just like their last four preseason games,they had trouble scoring. Same thing tonight against the best goalie in the league. They were unable to capitalize on some pretty sloppy play by Montreal. Other than bring up our developing prospects there is no good answer for it. We all seem agreed the prospects need more experience at the pro level. As some of you know, I personally think Nylander and Brown are ready.

  • Brooksterman

    I thought Babcock and the leaf captain summed up the leafs perfect the other day when they used the old hackneyed cliches of the leafs giving 110%, working hard, improving blah blah blah. Then it all made sense the leafs are indeed an expansion team that played the fourth or fifth best team in the east to a stand still until Bernier gave up his traditional goal in the last 10 minutes of a game.

    C.M. is right, this year is all about getting the highest draft pick as possible.

    I’m sure Babcock will be lecturing the forwards that it ain’t a good idea to aim for the goalies pads when you have a point blank shot.

    As long as leaf fans treat this club as an expansion club that will mainly chill you a lot but occasionally thrill you once in a while you will be fine. The goal is to get that high, high draft pick to eventually fit in with the other kids as the Berniers, Gardiners Phaneufs, Lupuls are simply released from the hook to sink into the river.

    • Jeremy Ian

      This condescension about mindless Leaf fans is just so boring. But thank you for the little lecture about our diminished expectations and for reminding us of the relief we will get from the occasional thrill.

      If we watch these games in the hopes of yielding a “high, high draft pick” to be added to the doomed “other kids” I guess that makes us masochists or morons. Which one are you?

      But just to complicate your storyline a bit, some of us got some gratification from more subtle things, like a coach talking to his players a lot, like seeing guys toughing it out in the corners, some genuine cycling in the offensive zone, regrouping instead of dumping, and a forward dropping back when their d-men attack, and the stuff that Cat actually wrote about if you’d bothered to read the post before spewing.

      Thanks for getting us all off on a good, high-minded, start.

  • Brooksterman

    I’m sure the important thing about this game is the leafs dominated in all the big corsi and fenwick stats. I know some mean spirited troll will point out the leafs didn’t win a face off in the last ten minutes. I say to that picky, picky, as long as the leafs dominate all these new wonderful stats every thing is fine. Winning, Sminning just give me the Corsi and Fenwick.

    • CMpuck

      Ever notice how stats people boast when their theory matches the reality of the team but when it doesn’t they get real quiet? Like how they were begging for Horachek (because Horachek had a good corsi in Florida even though the team sucked), then Horachek was historically awful or how this great theory still produces a handful of teams it doesn’t explain, their are teams with good corsi that suck and teams with bad corsi that don’t.

      It’s just a thing to make uber geek fans feel superior. High end talent wins games. Don’t need advanced stats to know the Leafs suck.

      • You know, you can look at those “advanced” stats and see pretty clearly that the Leafs were the dominant team last night in terms of puck possession. Over long stretches of time, strong possession teams generally win more than they lose.

        You can chalk up the fact that they didn’t win to lack of high-end talent that can score a lot of goals. Toronto won’t have that kind of talent this season.

        So, you see there’s a middle ground, right? We can be happy that Toronto’s playing a better, less embarrassing system and still recognize that the roster isn’t good enough to win consistently?

        Or, you know, you could just go on and draw a line in the sand and spit at the other side. That sounds like a nice thing to do.

        • CMpuck

          Again, I don’t need advanced stats to see the Leafs played a more structured and overall better game, you know before the advanced stats community began their self righteous crusade to cleanse message boards of discussion, there was actual hockey being played and people actually got to talk about it, some even disagreed luckily now we have the objective uniform view of the ASC dictate opinion.

          • Jeremy Ian

            It’s so ironic that Leafs management has learned a thing or two about the virtues of numeracy. No sooner do the results materialize than we get the cognoscenti out to accuse those who create the content on this site of self-righteousness and cleansing.

            No one is instructing you to use advanced stats (which the numerate will remind us is really not very advanced…). Counting is just an enlightening tool. Sort of like knowing how to read.

            I disagree with Justin sometimes, but to charge the writers on this site of shutting down the discussion is contorted.

          • FlareKnight

            Could you actually sound any more arrogant? Insulting people and accusing them of not being able to count doesn’t actually create any valid discussion.

            Sometimes advanced stats supporters really are like those people on the street pushing their religion on you. Would be so much less trouble if the original person who came up with the stats wasn’t so pretentious that they felt the need to call them advanced stats. Just include them as additional stats and you immediately lose so much annoyance.

            Moving onto the rest of the game/debates… I’m still kind of amazed the Bernier vs Reimer thing still gets people so heated. Neither of these guys are going to win us a Stanley Cup so what does it matter? Bernier has his sloppy moments, Reimer has his moments when he literally seems to have lost where the puck is out there and is left floundering around. I don’t care who is in net or who is the #1 goalie, just get someone in that net that is good enough to get the job done when we need them.

            Good effort in the game and really that’s all we can hope for this year. Good efforts, but probably going to lose most of the time. There just isn’t enough skill there to do more than that.

          • Jeremy Ian

            It’s worth pointing out that the term “advanced stats” was not developed by the community pushing the stats themselves, but rather by the hockey MSM types who didn’t want to understand them.

            I’m interested to see how the Leafs do against better possession team.

          • Jeremy Ian

            uh…. me arrogant? I was simply replying to CMPuck’s spitting at writers or comments who like to include some metrics in their story. I don’t see the writers on this site “pushing their religion.” You can take it or leave it.

            If using some analytical tools is so pretentious why come onto this site and slam the people who are creating the content?

            PS: I agree that getting rid of the “advanced” would help since they aren’t advanced anyway. I think it’s just a left over from the days when people felt they had to tear down those who liked to do more than count goals and shots. Ironically, it was an adjective to stigmatize, not elevate. See Alex above.

            Agreed, a good effort game; it may lose most of the time because of the skill deficit, but it’s a relief after last year when the effort and purpose were gone.

          • CMpuck

            The only thing I spit on is where the ‘discussion’ ends on this site. Way to show me up by calling me illiterate because I don’t privilege fenwick, corsi and PTO.

          • CMpuck

            I don’t think he means to call you illiterate; more on the side of ignorance. Ignorance of the function of stats in hockey. As it stands, they are still underutilized which is hilarious, quite frankly.

    • TGT23

      “I know some mean spirited troll”

      You know… hanging a lantern on it doesn’t mean you won’t be called out for doing exactly what you’ve just mocked.

      I like how you think puck possession isn’t an important part of the game. You should really get into coaching.

  • Brooksterman

    I’ll take a 930 sp any night of the week. Soft goal? Sure, but he also had some game-saving stops as well. Bernier was just fine, I think.

    You want ugly, look at Bozak’s performance. 0 points, 0 shot attempts, 0 hits, 0 takeaways, 0 giveaways. He played 19 minutes. That’s almost a third of the game spent doing…nothing?

    The only thing uglier is this comment section. Yikes. Some salty dogs just above me here.

  • Brooksterman

    bozak and lupul looked absolutely horrendous tonight. how do you record 0 shots with the most minutes? was he dead? i thought phil kessel held him back though?? babcock had the audacity to put him up against the habs top line and top defensive pairing and thought it was a good idea lol. they were hemmed in their own zone the whole time, lazy on defence and were invisible/confused the whole time. just awful. the habs were so bad that they made the leafs look elite even with bernier looking like gustavsson in net tonight. that’s a sad fact.

  • Brooksterman

    Overall, the Leafs looked satisfactory. They will never win a Cup in the forseeable future but at least they will get fans back and this is mostly what seems to count imo.

    It will be interesting to note how the Sabres rebuild will go in contrast with much fewer resources.

  • CMpuck

    TGT23 wrote:

    How DARE Babcock start the guy who has two straight seasons with better numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    do you ever give it a rest??? are you ever going to stop smoking that funny stuff????…

    If I recall you stated that Pre-season didn’t matter that it matters like TONIGHT!!! but just like last season your boy didn’t show up again to play…but that’s right he doesn’t need to play. He’s just twice the price for what his charming personality?

    Bernier never earned the net from day one, he had it handed to him!!
    Bernier has sucked since he got here, LIVE WITH IT!!!!!..

    I expect more when the money and contract are as it is, I expect more from someone who is so much more polished and hockey knowledgeable, more schooling, etc etc etc…

    He didn’t EARN the net when he was brought in and he doesn’t deserve it now…that’s 2 season openers he’s loss with two pre-season that sucked…but hey he’s worth it WAKE-UP….

    what a waste of money and time bringing him in here….what are you going to give him? his full 2 year contract? lets see that will make it 4 season’s. you think he might be ready than? he might actually have earned the net by than?

    • TGT23

      The answer to your question is no.

      You come into every thread, belittle Bernier, belittle his fans, belittle people who believe he is better, belittle the stats that prove he is better, and then race to every thread after a game to talk about how bad Bernier is…

      So, with all of that coming from your side… Why shouldn’t someone defend Bernier? Are you upset that I’m right or that someone keeps reminding you? Compare Reimer’s stats to Bernier’s the last two years, and then with a straight face tell me Reimer is better.

      You have your schtick and I guess I’m the inverse of that.

      I’ll stop when you stop.

      • Jeremy Ian

        Game 7 again????/ I wasn’t aware that Reims played that game by himself….WOW I doubt any Goalie can fend off a barrage of pucks when the game is played solely in front of him… not going to defend the past…anyone who is anyone who blames Reims for the loss is smoking funny stuff…

        And with a striaght face considering the hype that came with Bernier I can say 100 % Reims is better….for who he is and what he has done being with the Leafs from day one, and not having all the so called poishing and schooling apparantly Bernier has had…YES I stand with Reims all the way…

        again I am not saying anything about Bernier that is be-littleing him, you should expect more from your boy too…. its not like his numbers blow Reims out of the water…

  • Jeremy Ian

    holy sh*t!!! bozak SUCKS SO BADLY. 0 shot attempts, 0 blocked shots, 0 points, 0 hits, 0 giveaways, 0 takeaways and still got the most ice time as a forward?! was he even alive?! did he even play or was he in the pressbox?? god help us all if we can’t get rid of his awful contract!!! :'( simmons said kessel was holding him back… remember that?!

  • Jeremy Ian

    A) One of Bozak’s zeros is a good one – he wasn’t on for any of the goals against;
    B) We outplayed Montreal last night and that was nice to see – advanced stats confirm that; the difference was that Montreal has players who are able to score (Pacioretty), able to pass (Subban) and, most importantly, stop the puck from going in (Price) and we don’t.
    C) I do not understand why Bernier gets to play against Habs when he’s shown beyond reasonable doubt that he can’t beat them. I wonder if this whole tradition of playing goalies/players in their hometown or against their home team shouldn’t be reversed – a mean part of me sometimes feels that Bernie is intentionally letting goals in against the Habs to help his home team. I know I would if I were playing goalie for Habs against the Leafs.

  • jasken

    I thought the team played quite well and have turned over a new Leaf and brought some pride back with this game. Reims isn’t the starter because Babcock’s system does not match his style of play and I think he will be traded at first opportunity.

    Stats are just another tool used to measure the results of the game the really are not a be all to end all to the truth they all have their flaws in them.

    I have not been shy about showing my support for Bozak by any means and I still will because he plays hockey properly. Yet stats say he is a bad player amd people throw hate towards him for doing his job the way it’s supposed to be done.

    Bozak makes the most of his opportunities, relies on his teammates for his success, always gets the puck to the talented players and get the benefits of their skills. This sounds to me like that is exactly what a hockey player is supposed to do work within the unit to achieve success.

    Now think long and hard about it for the reasons claimed Bozak does it more than any other center on the Leafs you justify him being the top center. Who do you want giving your best scorers and players the puck the center who has no problem doing it and does it willing without question. Or the guy who likes to showcase his talents and does it only when he feels like it.