Leafs Postgame: Nazem!

kadri - James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Another win, another two points in the standings. It’s no big deal anymore, as the Leafs have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games after a 2-1 shootout win over the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. Not to sound like one of those mathletes, but Toronto now sits only three points out of a wildcard spot. 

Have the Leafs mastered Babcock’s system? Has the organization found itself a true, number one goaltender? Is this a playoff team?

I mean, no… no… and no. None of that. But you’re still probably enjoying this little run if you’re not a card-carrying member of Tank Nation.

The Rundown

Nothing happened in the first two periods. Literally, nothing. Carolina shot a few pucks on net and Toronto shot fewer pucks on net. That’s pretty much all that happened. Things did pick up in the third period, though, and an otherwise boring game became quite entertaining. 

The Hurricanes struck first around the midway point of the third period, when Brad Malone (who?) took a Justin Faulk pass down low behind the Leafs’ goal line and threw the puck at Reimer hoping for the best. He got it, as Reimer cheated his way off the post just enough for a puck to slip through. Considering how few pucks were getting through to the net, and how good Cam Ward had looked when those few pucks did get through, this Carolina goal looked like a death blow.

But not so fast… Nazem Kadri is back, baby.

Did you see that? Did you freakin’ see that???

Nazem Kadri tore the monkey off his own back. That is awesome.

The game would remain tied through the final minutes of the third period and all the way through overtime, which was ruined by penalties and mostly four-on-four play. (Three-on-three is incredible, if you haven’t heard.)

In the shootout, both netminders would make some pretty impressive stops, but here’s really all you need to know – Reimer absolutely stoned Elias Lindholm, and Joffrey Lupul put the game-winner past Ward.

Blue Warrior

Nazem Kadri, obviously. I mean, James Reimer was very good outside of that single goal against, but when a guy shoots that many pucks and goes for that long without a goal, you have to celebrate it when he finally buries one. Plus, that celebration was money.


See You Tomorrow

The Leafs are in for a quick turnaround as they visit the Boston Bruins tomorrow night at TD Gardens for Hockey Night in Canada. Tune into CBC at 7:00 pm. Duh.

  • magesticRAGE

    james reimer… weak glove hand??? LOL. finally… naz breaks out at the perfect moment! bad goal by reims but he always battles back and gives his team a chance by stoning the opposition the rest of the game. all hope was lost but uncle leo took a page out of his buddy naz’s playbook and drew a penalty and then passed the puck to naz to score that goal. what a crazy save by reimer. i thought it went in. he absolutely ROBBED lindholm. lost in the hype from kadri finally scoring and reimer’s amazing save was the amazing goal by holland and lupul using a different shootout move in his entire leafs career. bozak, predictable as usual with the same move (shocker). leafs played horribly but managed to win with great goaltending and luck… sounds familiar… hope he shuts out the ugly bruins and rask has a horrible game as a little redemption story 🙂

  • TGT23

    Reimer threatening to make me a believer. Sort of wish we had this Reimer two seasons ago. Imagine if Bernier and Reimer had both been beast mode all year. The team was in the top three of the division when JB went down!..

    Well, I suppose it all worker out for the best.

    I wonder what Leafs management is thinking. Do they take a chance and trade Reimer at his highest point. Bernier at his lowest. Wait and see.

    Regardless, I hope the overall plan stays the same. Rebuild mode. Develop kids, move assets out for prospects and picks. Don’t let the shiny things distract you. This winning is great but finishing 9th is not the objective here.

    Keep your eye on the prize. Like Calgary last year. Didn’t let the playoff run change their strategy. Nor should we let a strong November or a weak division change ours…

    Still… imagine this team, with its lack of high end talent, in Y1 of a rebuild, in Y1 of a new coach and system, imagine they find a way into the top 3 in the division…

    Man can dream.

    • Gary Empey

      Re- “This winning is great but finishing 9th is not the objective here.”

      Babcock’s only objective is to win every game for the next eight years.

      Re-“move assets out”.

      Why do so many people want to break up the team as soon as we start winning.
      Don’t be in a rush to move all our veteran assets out. We will need some experienced veterans to mentor our developing prospects as they arrive. (Some of them are getting close Some are here now). GM’s know what’s available, they have our number. Let them come to us with their hats in their hand. That way we will be negotiating from a position of strength.

      Side note regarding trades. Traditionally GM’s give it until American Thanksgiving to assess their teams performance. That happens this weekend. This is why there has been so many media generated rumors lately. This year there are a few teams that are playing way below expectation. Those GM’s must decide if they can ride it out in the hopes their team turns it around. Our Leafs have been playing above expectations. What we didn’t expect was our so-called backup goalie to come off the bench and show us his Dominik Hašek impression.

      • TGT23

        My point is that winning is great but you can’t get caught up in it. Can’t hold onto tradeable assets thinking you’re going to make some big time playoff run. If you get an offer you can live with to move P.A, Lupul, or anyone else, ya do it.

        You can’t let other teams being bad change how you build the team. Cause all it takes is three of them to go on a run or you to go on a slide and you’re 10 pts out.

        As for trading people. This is what I mean. You’re getting too caught up in the winning. If you miss out on picks for players on 1 year deals because the team is in a bad division and can be competitivein Y1 in a bad division it slows down the rebuild.

        If a deal comes around that works, you make it. You don’t hold onto Boyes, P.A, Lupul, Bozy, Reimer, Bernier or anyone else if a good deal comes around that will help with the ultimate goal.

        9th place is not the goal. 4th in the division is not the goal. A 1st round exit is not the goal.

        Don’t get distracted by the shiny things. Stick to the plan.

        • Jeremy Ian

          I agree. Stick to the plan. This team is very well coached, has a fabulous stock of prospects, plenty of picks coming, and some young players starting to flourish. But this is nowhere close to contending. Nowhere close.

          Hanging on to a handful of UFA’s to be able to squeak into the playoffs and get buried by the Rangers is not smart. In fact, it’s depressing.

          The goal is not to win every game, it’s to build a winning team.

          Loved watching Reimer play great last night, Uncle Leo was a presence throughout, and for Kadri to score. But for half the game, the Leafs looked like Carlyle’s old team, skating in circles and dumping the puck out. That second period was the worst hockey the Leafs have played all season, and 5-on-5 they looked more anemic than the Canes. Not good.

          So, stick to the plan. Please.

  • magesticRAGE

    Not too often the two M.L.S.E. teams win on the same night. But the Leafs got the evening off to a good start with another road win.

    Reimer in contention for player of the month as he faced his usual plus 30 shots. He has been absolutely superb in the shootouts. He is playing so well that even the most stubborn leaf fan has to admit that he is the number one goalie and Babcock has to go with him.

    Bruins are not so big and bad anymore although winning both of a back to back on the road isn’t an easy achievement. One prediction that will come true is that this team will battle till the final second.

    • TGT23

      Reimer is the #1 goalie… this month…

      That’s sort of the problem with these two. Neither seems willing or able to take the job and run with it.

      Looked like Bernier would Y1 but he gets hurt. Reimer has a chance to take it back, collapses. Last season, Bernier isn’t as good and can’t pull away from Reimer. Reimer can steal the job but doesn’t.

      Reimer has a third chance to be the #1… Is this Reimer finally taking back the #1? I don’t know. If this is the real Reimer where the heck has he been the last two years?

      He’s spent two years not showing me anything to think he’s a #1 in this league, but he has another chance to prove me wrong.

      I don’t know. Feels like any hot stretch by either of these guys is just a mirage at this point. But we’ll see.

      For all we know, December could be the month of Bibeau or Bernier. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

      • magesticRAGE

        The ReimDream now has a coach who is objective, and in his corner.

        “I’m not on an island to myself”

        Confidence is 75% to a goalie, and Optimus has it under Babcock.

  • magesticRAGE

    IS it really any surprise how well Reimer is performing under a Great Coach who treats his players well when they play well & encourages them & tries to build them up when they’re not playing well. Kind of funny how that happens huh?

  • CMpuck

    Wow the little engine that could scored a goal! Weeeeeeeeeee

    Rainbows, butterflies, sugar plum gum drops, fairies in forests, encounters with black bears running away, birch bark kindling, Monopoly Free Parking landed on snake eyes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, crisp autumn leaves falling to the ground, snow days, Christmas lists, tax refunds, friend requests from crushes, on Dasher & on Blizten, on analtyics…

    Shut down Church St. Leafs Nation wished upon a star and Nazzy answered with pride, hurray hurray today Sisypheus rejoices, his toil rewarded…two goals in the same quarter season, give this petit prince a 7 year extension already


    • TGT23

      So….. he doesn’t score, you hate on him. He does score…. you hate on him (and let’s not pretend you are in any way happy when he scores).

      I thought your point was Bozy/Kadri are equally good and equally bad.

      Seems all you do is hate on Kadri and anyone who supports him. Especially by watching the games and talking about facts and analytics. But in general, too.

      Oh, but saying you hate him is a straw man…

      • CMpuck

        I know brah, Kadri scored so everyone was right about him all along, the bad luck phase is over, roll out the red carpet & mint this 1C, Kadri + Reimer = rebuilt.

        • TGT23

          It’s okay to not like Kadri, just don’t pretend you’re being fair and balanced about it.

          If you’re going to claim to be fair and objective and say everyone else is biased then you have no leg to stand on when you come in here clearly acting biased.

          Fair is fair.

    • TGT23

      “I’ve never said Kadri sucks, I’ve said I resent the praise he’s handed while Bozak is made a whipping boy, I’ve said over and over that Kadri = Bozak, their both 2/3 centers, nothing special nothing terrible.”

      You can’t say this and then proceed to go into any thread where someone might say good things about Kadri, like after he scores, and act like praising him for anything is ridiculous. Especially when you’re the first to praise Bozak when he does well.

      Either you can be fair and balanced about both, or you can’t. But if you can’t you don’t also get to complain when someone calls you on the hypocrisy and act as though it is a strawman.

      Saying you think Bozak = Kadri and then clearly acting as though one is significantly better does not work.

  • magesticRAGE

    Bozak gets a goal and 2 assists in a game and Reimer is the first star; Kadri scores one lucky (according to him) goal and he’s the first star. The guy is right – it’s not fair how much everyone here’s been hating on Bozak when the guy’s been nothing but money for us for all these years. Meanwhile, Kadri can do no wrong regardless of his abysmal production. Bozak is still our best centre and has been since he was signed. His only sin is that he isn’t Towes or Kopitar. Why aren’t you applying the same standards to Kadri?

    • Jeremy Ian

      because he finally scored after being snake bitten for more than a month with 82 shots on goal while sticking to his great play and being the leafs best forward despite the lack of production? he deserves it. bozak will predictably come crashing back to earth as he always does. his possession numbers are atrocious while kadri’s remained elite even without the production. naz will quickly surpass him in points as he always does while playing a much better two-way game to young bozak.

      • jasken

        Surpasses him in points??? What when oh you mean when he played 78 games got 50 points Bozak played 58 games and put up 49 points. Or the lockout season while Kadri was down in the minors playing and was in mid season form by the time it ended and Bozak had been sitting around on the couch relaxing and waiting unsure if the season was going to be a wash.

        If you actually count the games in which Bozak put up points to Kadri, Bozak produces in way more games it might be 1 goal or 1 assist but its consistent Kadri is not.

        I am happy Kadri has scored and hopefully continues but I know what Kadri is he will produce a mess load of points in a short time and than go long periods without producing as he always has.

  • magesticRAGE

    Further, the only thing Kadri’s been better than Bozak at (and I’m not sure this is even true anymore) is ratio of shots for and against 5-on-5 against weak competition. Really guys? You really believe that is all that matters?