Leafs Postgame: Peak Borsi

Photo Credit: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

Maybe Bobby Cappucino was on to something when he changed hockey analytics forever last night. Sure, you can have an exciting, close game, but few things get you out of your seat better than pucks going into nets. Tonight? A snoozefest. The two teams combined for just two goals, only one of which counted. I bet you can guess which one that was.

The Standouts

If there are any MVPs in this game, they’re undoubtedly the goaltenders of both teams. Each was nearly perfect, with Reimer stopping 27 of 28 while Devan Dubnyk had a 28 save shutout on paper (I promise we’ll get to this). Neither really dragged you in with excitement with athleticism, they were just technically sound.

You have to give Reimer full credit for the night he had, seeing as he’s fresh off of an injury. Coming back from any ailment is never easy, and to come back in less than a week from a leg injury and nail down all the technicals is very, very good.

As well, I’ll give Roman Polak some credit. I was heavily on his case yesterday for a plethora of mistakes, but he bounced back today and was the good type of invisible; and also one of the team’s top play-drivers tonight.

Why The Leafs Lost

This game was incredibly close, and you can’t really fault the effort of, well, anybody on the whole. The possession game was pretty equal, the shot game was equal, the Leafs made a big push in the second period, and Reimer was fantastic. You can easily write this off as a loss of a goaltending battle, but if there’s a moment that failed them…

It’s getting in penalty trouble. Sure, the Leafs only took three infractions this game, but all three of them came within the span of fifteen minutes. Better discipline in the late first and early second could have gone a long way, and in the case of Boyes’ penalty, it cost them.

That Coaches Challenge, Though

The Leafs nearly tied this one up late in the game, on a play that would’ve given Peter Holland his fifth goal of the season. Unfortunately for him and his teammates, the Wild called a timeout in an effort to watch the tape and went to the refs for a coaches challenge.

The footage shows that Holland is clearly offside as Byron Froese tries to enter the offensive zone. Even if it’s slight, and in this case, didn’t give Holland the edge he needed for his goal (an extra tenth of a second likely doesn’t help him much),  you still need to make the correct call every time. You can’t give benefits of the doubt on any play, especially one that could have changed the entire course of the game and lead to standings implications.

A tedious wait for a goal reversal is lame for a few minutes. Missing out on the playoffs (or the Auston Matthews chosen lottery ball) by a point or two is lame for much longer.

Blue on Blue

The Leafs move on to St. Louis on Saturday to take on the St. Louis Blues. Please don’t treat the game as a constant reminder of the Alex Steen, and instead focus on watching Vladamir Tarasenko. He’s so fun. Much more fun than this game was.

  • Gary Empey

    This year’s edition of the leafs will chill you a little, thrill you a little, cure your insomia some nights and hopefully succeed in the drive for the bottom five. Btw Jeff Booby’s stat formula is called Borsky in honour of comrade Nikolai Borchesvsky who scored 34 goals in the 1992/93 seaso which was 9 more goals than Phil the one way player Kessel scored last year.

  • FlareKnight

    People will complain about it, but the coaches challenge is a positive to me. Getting the right call if possible is a good thing. It may suck when it goes against you, but that’s how it goes. The issue was that we couldn’t score one clean goal. When you don’t score, you are going to lose at some point in this game.

    Props to Reimer, he came back from injury in a big way.

    Another loss, moving onto the next one.

    • FlareKnight

      I really don’t get this “it disrupts the flow of the game” rubbish. So we go back to old system of allowing illegal goals? There’s too much on the line to not pull it back and call stuff correctly.

  • Gary Empey

    Leafs had some scoring chances. For most of the year the forwards who you expect to score, all seem to have lost their touch.

    How much this has to do with the defensive responsibility (ready to backcheck/forecheck), Babcock expects of every player, is hard to weigh up.

    @FlareKnight——The coaches challenge is a positive only when after watching the video replay they make the right call. Yesterday’s call in Winnipeg was a travesty by all the officials who viewed that replay.

  • magesticRAGE

    blue warrior: james reimer. came back from injury and picked up where he left off with an excellent game. technically sound, aggressive and finding the puck. good for him! perfect tanking game. low scoring, excellent play by the team, good goaltending and a respectable loss. onto the next. all I ask is that the blues don’t obliterate us as is tradition.