Leafs Postgame: Call it a Naztrick

Photo Credit: Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SPORTS

Florida may not be the most traditional of hockey markets, but you wouldn’t know it from the way things have looked this year. For seemingly the first time ever, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning look like they could do some damage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and with exciting rosters, no less. Last night the Leafs wrapped up their season series with the Bolts in tank-friendly fashion. Tonight, it was time to face Roberto Luongo, Jaromir Jagr, and pals for the last time this season, but the real superstar was Nazem Kadri, who picked up a hat-trick in a 5-2 victory.


The Leafs opened the scoring in this one with seven minutes remaining in the first period, as Michael Grabner and Connor Brown found themselves on a shorthanded odd-man rush. Grabner, not far removed from a botched breakaway, passed the puck to Brown, but the rookie felt confident in his veteran teammate and sent it back to him to beat Roberto Luongo, who was once a teammate of Grabner’s in Vancouver. 

This was the first period’s only goal, meaning that the Leafs carried the lead for quite some time. It didn’t last forever, though, as the Panthers scored a very similar goal early in the second. This time, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov moved up the ice, and Huberdeau opted to shoot rather than pass. It was a move that surprised both Morgan Rielly and Jonathan Bernier, and reset the environment for the game.

A few minutes later, Nazem Kadri drew a penalty out of Jaromir Jagr, which appeared to trigger a second gear of motivation in the skilled centre. While on a powerplay that he created, Kadri potted his 15th of the season. Eight minutes later, he did it again, showing great patience by stepping forward and roofing a backhand past Luongo for his second powerplay goal of the game. 

Early in the third period, Kadri once again drew a penalty, this time sending former Leafs prospect Greg McKegg to the box. Kadri didn’t convert on this one, but PA Parenteau put all his weight into a snapshot to put the Leafs up by three. McKegg bounced back by scoring his first career goal a few minutes later, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Leafs, as Kadri eventually potted an empty netter to wrap up his hat-trick and wrap up the game.

Blue Warrior

Can you pick anyone other than Naz? That’s the third hat trick of his career, and given that he’s doing this in the midst of a snake-bitten year rather than the “everything is going perfectly” PDO-fest of 2013, it might be even more impressive. Drew a couple of penalties too, both of which led to goals.

See You Next Time

With this game now a not-too-distant memory, the Leafs will move on to Buffalo to close out the month against the Sabres. That will happen on Thursday night, and as you know, could have some anti-standings implications attached to it! Puck drop is at 7:00 PM. See you then!

    • jimithy

      Check your facts as Kadri has played more minutes with Komoarov first and then JVR 2nd and stone hands third (JVR/Grabner are about even but well behind all star komarov).

      That said, what a phenomenal game by Kadri

  • Gary Empey

    jeffler please tell me that we will not regret this late season rally by the leafs.

    I love the way the callups are playing and after this horrid season I was hoping to get rewarded with something commensurate. I hope management knows what they are doing here.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Beautiful game, amazing win against a really really good team. Connor Brown had a bunch of assists too, Hyman is killing it on the boards, Nylander hit the post…

    But we can’t go on like this. It’s time to send the kids back and bring back Arcobellos and Clunes – the commentators mentioned that the Leafs have the best record of all Canadian teams since the deadline – we’re going to end up drafting 7th or some s**t at this pace.

    Now is not the time to be winning games. Seriously – we get the point – the kids are awesome. But enough is enough. Save it for next year.

  • Gary Empey

    connor brown is almost a ppg in his short nhl career. 6 points in 7 nhl games with his second multi point game and first 3 point career game. definitely runner up for blue warrior. these kids keep on impressing!

  • Gary Empey

    This is the fastest Leaf team I have ever seen. Babcock has them playing outstanding two way hockey. Most of them are still developing.
    We got more speed on the Marlies and more in the CHL. Likely more speed in this years draft. If we can pick up an elite goalie, it’s going to be lights out.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Tend to agree with several of the posters. Enough is enough as obviously the Oilers are in the driver seat and the Canuckleheads will lose again tonight and appear determined to not win another game this year.

    When you have a chance at the top three elite players you don’t go on a winning streak so your odds are that you likely draft 6th, 7th, or 8th.

    There was no doubt that as much as leaf fans might think the boys in blue suits on the M.L.S.E. board are now being directed by Shanahan, leaping Lou and Babcock, bottom line is that Larry, Uncle Ted and Bell didn’t like the millions they were losing and forced leaf management to bring up the kids after the all-star game.

    Remember how 95% of the media was buying the old spin that the youngsters were being kept on the farm for the whole season so they could gain experience winning together and would avoid the prat falls of playing on a losing team.

    Well, well the media and most of us fans took it hook, line and sinker.

    Heh I’m impressed as hell with a lot of these kids but damm it being a leaf for now more than 60 years, I’ve seen enough moronic decisions by management to squeeze blood out of a stone to find a nickel and treat it like a man hole cover.

    This draft is too important to make some extra cash for two months but potentially miss out on one of the next future stars of the league.

    Why do you think the leafs have stunk for close to 50 years?? Simply because their owners have had no concept of thinking long term but simply being a penny wise and a pound foolish. In speaking of pennies they kept that Canuck reject scout Penny around for decades.

    Other than that it was an entertaining game.

  • Harte of a Lion

    I think too many of you are missing the point here. Babcock is teaching them to win and that’s more important than picking first. Don’t get me wrong, I hope we get a top three this year but wherever we finish, the kids go down for a long gruel playoff run that leads to a championship and carry this over to next year, this team will be playoff bound… And picking up the other Nylander will be better than anyone expects. I have watched this kid and the only reason he isn’t top three is he doesn’t weigh 200 lbs.

    get used to hearing Rielly to Nylander to Nylander… He SCORES!!! For the next decade

    • Harte of a Lion

      Harte I think if it was a year where there was no possible generational players, I would have less of a problem with M.L.S.E. forcing leaf management to bring up the youngsters.

      We have a wonderful crew of winners as our management team. But when the b.s. line is given out at the beginning of the season that the kids would be kept on the farm to let them get accustomed to winning at the minor league level and the opposite is done due to the big time hemmourhaging on the balance sheet. Well to me it is the same old same Uncle Ted, Larry and Bell simply trying to make extra millions over the last two months and at the expense of possibly losing a Matthews or a Laine or the other talented big Finn. This is old time stupid leaf ownership planning at its worst. There is a reason the Dallas Cowboys and New York Knicks have sucked for years. Look at their ownership.

      • TGT23

        The youngsters ARE winning, they’re not being exposed to a losing environment.

        The argument that management is bringing the kids up for money is a bogus one, there’s no playoff revenue to be had and no one is paying extra to watch hyman and shoshnicov.

        Drafting 8th won’t be that bad we still might nab a chychurn or a dubois.

      • CMpuck

        It’s funny how these days there is a ‘generational’ player every year. Shockingly there were two in the last draft and probably one in Nolan Patrick when next years hype machine get’s going.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Love the enthusiasm for this new, refurbished team. But at this stage, these wins are totally honorific. They know how to win and are showing it. I don;’t want to see any more of them this season. Not on the Leafs.

      We do not need these wins. At all. Any more. Basta. Especially with Vancouver, Edmonton, Columbus, and Winnipeg playing atrocious hockey.

      Getting a top three pick really, really matters. It’s not tragic if we don’t get it. But every increment helps, not least because that pick goes to a rival if we don’t get it.

      We did not endure the tear down in order to enjoy a few late season kicks.

      Stick with the plan.

      So, send the kids back to the Marlies now. Bring up Clune, Arcobello, and the crew who got us this far.

    • Jeremy Ian

      What’s the fascination with having two guys named Nylander? Why does that give you so much pleasure? Is there a buy one get one free deal on jerseys or something?

      Maybe if we paid Milan Michalek to change his name to Nylander it could be like the Hanson Brothers.

  • Harte of a Lion

    Losing out on a top 4 pick stings, but with the lottery we could still land in the top 3. And top 7 or 8 isn’t that bad, it’s where we nabbed Nylander and Kadri.

    Plus isn’t it exciting to know that the youngsters we have now are good enough already to turn this team into around?!

    • jimithy

      As serious intelligent leaf fans have been pointing out from day one this total rebuild is going to take years. Despite the fine play of some of the kids we have only one defenceman in Rielly, no goal tender of the future. No number one center, Kadri at best is a third line center on most good teams.

      The bottom line mst. is I’m hearing the same delusional thinking from Canucklehead fans out here in God’s country. They think losing 15 in a row and landing either Matthews or one of the talented Fins will immediately turn their club around. It will take years but give them credit for taking the gamble of going after a possible generational player. The leaf ownership just go on the traditional late season run to get the so loyal fans excited for the 50th straight year. Where has that got the leafs?? I’ll tell you nowheresville.

      • CMpuck

        We’re deep on the wing and shallow at every other position, that is the same issue we had in the Burke/Nonis era. One thing Burke and JFJ proved though is that you’re better off drafting blueliners rather than build a blue via free agency and trades.

        At 8th you’re liking getting another complimentary piece, this has been a saavy management crew but the piece over the next few years that allows that next step are Matthews, Nolan Patrick and Timothy Liljegren. We still need a 1D preferably RHD and a true 1C. We can talk rebuild once we have those type of pieces.

        Drafting another Kadri at 8th? Just filler and doesn’t move the franchise in either direction. Just waiting for the summer pieces of ‘The Leafs aren’t that bad, look at their post trade deadline record with the call ups’ and ‘is the rebuild almost done’ the same stuff all bad teams do, fall in love with one of their two winning streaks and ignore the whole of the season. Is it a wonder why people give a collective pass on Kadri doing nothing in October and November? You only have to play a few good games in Toronto.

        • Harte of a Lion

          Well said Puck as you are absolutely right. For every Nylander you might luck into you are more likely to get a Jared Cowan, Kadri or a Luke Schenn after the fourth pick.

          When you have a Lebron James, a McDavid, that generational player available you have to go all in rather than maintaining the traditional M.L.S.E. blue print that has been passed down from crazy old Ballard to Stravos to the teachers pension fund to the current three stooges of Uncle Ted, Larry and Bell.

        • TGT23

          Reilly – Gardiner – Valiev – Corrado – Marincin – Percy – Harrington – Loov – Carrick – Dermott – Neilson

          Possibly Zeitsev

          That’s not exactly shallow at the D position. They could use another piece, sure, but you make it sound like they have nobody back there. They could use another top guy, sure. But who couldn’t? It’s not as though they have no talent or potential back there, already. A ton of bottom 4 guys with upside.

          Oh, and there you go again on Kadri. It’s like you can’t help yourself. Anytime he gets praised you have to jump in and throw hate.

          You don’t think Nylander is a #1? Or, potential #1, to be more accurate.

          • Gary Empey

            T.G. there are indeed some prospects but they are prospects who like most D men will need 3 or 4 years to become competent N.H.L. top four defenceman. That is why I keep emphasizing that there appears to be this shift in thinking from some posters that next year will be all peaches and cream with the youngsters just ready to bloom into solid players. It takes time just ask Chicago and Pittsburgh.

            As others have pointed out if I am playing in a casino I want as many odds in my favour as I can get. Each lower draft finish means the house, in this case the other teams have that much more chance of beating you.

            This late season rally has happened once too often as the leafs have missed on the opportunity of getting some very talented higher picks.

            I suggest that we have an excellent management team that undoutably had the pressure put on by the owners to create some excitement for the last 20 games in order to start pushing the brand for the next season. This has been done by leaf owners over the decades. Where has it got them???

            As long as you have the equivalent of the Jerry Jones and New York Knicks owner running your club, it makes it that much tougher for future hall of fame management people such as leaping Lou and Babcock to succeed.

          • TGT23

            Many of the guys listed are NHL ready or nearing it. Reilly, Gardiner, Corrado, and Marincin have shown to be capable NHL D-Men, Carrick is pretty close, Valiev could probably use a bit more seasoning but he isn’t 3-4 years off. I think the D-Core, while unfinished, is closer to being good than what is being represented in the post I replied to.

            I think you’re being a bit pessimistic. I don’t think it was ownership who asked for the kids, I think it was Luo and Babs.

            Babs probably wants to get these kids some NHL experience while also seeing what they are capable of, what they need to work on, and get a feel for how they play. Luo wants their contracts to burn at different paces so they don’t have too many kids coming up for contracts in the same year.

            And, I don’t think they’ll fall out of the Bottom 4, Matthews isn’t a Generational Talent (a term being vastly overused by fans). I don’t think the team will suffer by not getting him. Especially if they get one of the Top 2 D-Men, instead.

      • TGT23

        Except Kadri compares favorably to many 2nd Line C’s, not to mention the Chicago Blackhawks, the cup favorites, have run with Anisimov as their 2nd Line C. And Kadri well out produces him.

        Question: do you think Ryan Johansen is a 1st or 2nd Line C?

        • CMpuck

          Lol, typical pro Kadri hack job, let’s introduce context to the discussion…

          Kane(elite) – Toews(elite) – Panarin(superstar?)
          Ladd(superstar) – Anisimov(bandaid) – Hossa (elite)

          There is a weak link in an otherwise strong chain, so is asinine to suggest Anisimov is an elite 2C then say Kadri is better than him so Kadri rulez

          Having Kadri as a 2C still leaves much to be desired even on the worst team in the league where their is a legitimate debate on whether to cut bait on him or not.

          • TGT23

            No, my point was that the narrative that Kadri is a 3rd Line C on good teams is destroyed when he measures favorably to most 2nd Line C’s. And that Chicago has a worse 2nd Line C than Kadri but are clearly Cup contenders.

            It’s a weak narrative to say he’s definitely not a 2nd Line C on a good team when he’s better than a lot of good teams 2nd Line C. Or at least comparable.

            Not that you would admit that. Guy scores 3, you run in to talk about how bad he is. Bet if Bozak scored a hatty you’d be far more kind.

            An argument can be made for him as an elite 3rd vs. A productive 2nd, but to suggest he can’t be or isn’t anything more than a 3rd is absurd.

            There is no debate. Only people like you who dislike Kadri trying to run him out of town. Most intelligent Leaf fans disagree with you.

            Do YOU think Ryan Johansen is a 2nd Line C or better on a good team? Didn’t see you answer that.

          • CMpuck

            He scored three goals so he’s beyond criticism? I’m more of a big picture guy and the timing of those three goals actually hurt the big picture.

            You talk about Bozak at lot, I could take of leave the guy, at what point do you stop forcing the Kadri vs Bozak narrative, I get they have different skill sets but value wise their the same player. I opt for Bozak because he’ll be cheaper with less term. I suppose that makes me a Bozak fanboy in your eyes because the geniuses of the blogosphere have made him a whipping boy.

            Kadri is a 2/3 center, nothing to brag about or be ashamed of, the classic example of just a guy.

            Intelligent Leaf fans? You mean the people that parrot whatever TLN says? I suppose if another opinion is argued for that makes someone dumb?

            I don’t care about Ryan Johansen, why do I have to comment on him?

            What I’d like to see is the Leafs tank which is doable, I’ve been saying that since the start of last season while ‘the intelligent Leaf fans’ were talking playoffs. I like to see the Leafs move heaven and Earth to pursue Matthews, Stamkos and next year Liljegren. They’ve collect a lot of ammo to move up. I’m ok with pulling the trigger on just about anyone because this franchise still doesn’t have those anchors to build a contender around.

            Let’s keep talking Kadri vs Bozak though and draft 8th overall because sometimes you can get a good player in that spot. Paint small pictures for small minds.

  • vermie22

    Many are declaring how they want the kids sent back to the Marlies. Does anyone know who is currently up as an emergency call up?

    I think those guys have to go back first, and only when a currently injured player returns to the lineup. So my guess is guys like Brown and Valiev will go back if anyone comes off the injured list. After that I think they only have 1 regular call up left. So they can’t send Nylander, Hyman, Shoshnikov back and replace them with guys like Acrobello/Clune, they can only maybe do 1 of those moves.

    • Harte of a Lion

      Lou said they were ready to move P-A, and told P-A the same. In the end the right deal didn’t come through. I think they were going for a second rounder?

      Can’t blame the other GMs though, P-A’s great but probably not going to make a big impact in the playoffs. He’s squeaking out a 20 goal season with lots of minutes but as a 3rd liner on a playoff team, he’s probably not going to do enough to warrant a 2nd.

  • SEER

    Congrats to Naz..! Nice to see, even if at this point in the season…



    It was a bit of a treasure hunt, to search out all these clips of him, but well worth it…! I did intend for the song “Kashmir” to be the background track, but that didn’t work out.., unfortunately…

    Some spectacular saves in here…and most Leafs fans will like his stats, below… Note the NINE shut-outs, in just 32 games, in 2013-14… and FIVE more, in the 2015-16 Bulldogs season… : )

    Kasimir Kaskisuo/ Goalie/ Born Oct 2 1993/ Vantaa, Finland/
    22 yrs. ago/ Height 6.03/ Weight 201


    2013-14 Minnesota Wilderness – NAHL
    32 Games… 21 Wins… 6 Losses… 5 Ties… *9 S/O’s…..
    .944 SV % …… 1.48 GAA…..
    2014-15 University Of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs – NCHC
    36 Games… 18 Wins… 14 Losses… 3 Ties… 1 S/O…..
    .917 SV % …… 2.30 GAA…..
    2015 PLAYOFFS
    5 Games… .943 SV %….. 1.75 GAA…..
    2015-16 University Of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) Bulldogs – NCHC
    39 Games… 19 Wins… 15 Losses… 5 Ties… *5 S/O’s…..
    .923 SV % …… 1.92 GAA…..

    Kas Is Here: Kasimir Kaskisuo 2012-2016 Goalie Highlights – TML

    —> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4M_PNdaMYo