Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maple Leafs @ Thrashers

Lehtonen's had better nights i'm sure...

A very short recap of tonight's events in Thrasher land.

ATL: 0

The game had a slow start, pretty evenly matched. The game took a turn on a painful giveaway from Kari Lehtonen. In an effort to clear the puck from behind his net he inadvertently passed it right to Boyd Devereaux who had no problem wrapping the puck around the net. It was on the Thrashers powerplay no less.

It was all maple leafs from there. The big line really showed up tonight and Mats Sundin scored another goal in the second from Poni and Antro.

The third period was all about Ponikarovsky, scoring twice off wrist shots fed to him by Antropov.

Toskala had an outstanding game and registered his second shutout as a maple leaf.

Things the buds need to work on:

* The PP, the boys definitely need work in this department (0/3 on the night)

Things the buds did great:

* Solid defensive play; blocking shots, not giving them any room.

* Solid goaltening from Vesa Toskala (um…shutout? XD)

* Actually shooting on the net! (35 shots on Lehtonen)

My Leaf of the Game: Vesa Toskala

He did a great job of shutting down Ilya Kovalchuk, and who doesn't love seeing the lead scorer of the NHL be held scoreless? He had excellent positioning and kept right on top of things tonight. His rebounds were few and far between and he definitely showed why he is the number one goaltender right now.

The 3 Stars:

1) Vesa Toskala (um…shutout? Hells yeah)

2) Mats Sundin (1 goal and 1 assist, great play be el capitain as always)

3) Alexei Ponikarovsky (2 goals and an assist, Poni was working real hard in the last period and it definitely payed off).

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Maple Leafs @ Rangers

First, let me say that I am not a professional or an expert and I do not get paid for this. These are just my opinions and nothing more, take them as you will.

FINAL| TOR: 6 | NYR: 2

Well all I have to say is, it's about damn time that the leafs started playing like I know they could. The image above just about sums it up; Mats Sundin and Alexei Poinkarovsky congratulating Ian White on his goal, which would later be changed to a tip-in by Nik Antropov (image courtesy of getty images). Tonight was a great example of how the maple leafs can play well on both ends of the rink. The only low point in the game for them coming on the penalty kill when they gave up 2 goals in the first. It scared me for a minute because I saw signs of the typical "leaf collapse" but I've got to hand it to them, they really came back in the second and pulled it together.

The Steen-Stajan-Deveraux line is checking great and making wonderful passes as always. I really can't say enough about the chemistry on this line. I'm glad that Maurice has stopped juggling the lines and sticking to what he has because the team is looking good (knock on wood). My friends say I'm way too superstitious about hockey, but hey who hasn't said something stupid during a game like "Oh there's no way we can lose now!" and having their team get scored on 3 times in a row afterwards? I just like to be careful. Plain and simple.

Wade Belak was much quieter tonight after the excitement of his game against Nashville, only surfacing to have a fight with right winger, Colton Orr. Which I think was slightly in Wade's favour. I'll have to wait until posts tonight's fights and see if they agree with me.

Mats Sundin had a nice wrist shot to continue his point streak to 5 games. Matty Stajan's hard work is also definitely paying off and he was rewarded with a goal an an assist. The Ranger goals on the power play came from rookie, Daniel Girardi and from defenceman Fedor Tyutin.

Two of Nik Antropov's goals game on the powerplay as well, the other a tip-in off of Ian White's blast from the blue line.

I absolutely cannot stress enough how amazing the last leaf goal was, a tip-in from Alex Steen. It was textbook! Absolutely perfect. Steen, Stajan and Devereaux came into the Ranger's zone and made 3 perfect passes, tic-tac-toe GOAL! Hardest working line in this hockey club, hands down and I'm just glad that everyone can see it now.

Vesa Toskala had another great game for us; making the saves when he needed to and really just keeping us in the game. Fantastic work.

Overall I saw some definite improvements in their game and we're finally working together as a team, which is of course the most important part...considering this is a team sport. We just have to work on not having that "leaf collapse" and we'll be in good shape to make the playoffs (ahem...knock on wood).

Things the buds need to work on:

* The PK (both goals against were scored on the PK)

* Their play in front of the net (trying to take the puck when they should be trying to take the man)

* Shooting at the net more (we only registered 16 shots, to the Rangers 25)

* NOT passing in front of our own net (luckily it wasn't intercepted tonight, but the leafs have made this mistake time and time again)

Things the buds did great:

* The PP (great passing)

* Shutting down Jaromir Jagr (due in large part (no pun intended) to Hal Gill)

* The lines are working great together (sepcial emphasis on the Steen-Stajan-Devereaux line)

* Forechecking on the boards

* Solid goaltening from Vesa Toskala

My Leaf of the Game: Nik Antropov

Nikky played an excellent game tonight. He worked hard in both the offensive and defensive zones and most importantly he was always around the net. Congratulations to Nikky who started off with a great PP goal and had two tip-ins to complete his second career hat trick! :)

The 3 Stars:

1) Nik Antropov (obviously)

2) Hal Gill (2 assists and a great defensive game)

3) Matt Stajan (1 goal, 1 assist, great hard-working game as usual)

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An Introduction of Sorts...

To start, let me say that this is my first blog.

My family and friends have, for a long time now, said I should start something like this. A place to put my thoughts about my home team and talk about hockey in general. I'm not saying this is going to be strictly a leafs blog, but the majority of the posts here will be about the boys in blue and white. I thought the name might give it away...but you never know, so I thought I'd settle any doubts.

I have in fact only been a fan of hockey for a short 7 years. No that's not a long time to be a fan, but I'd say that I've become a pretty die hard fan, hardly missing a game if I can help it. I'll tell you the story. My dad is european and so my family more or less revolved around football (otherwise known as soccer here), hockey hardly being mentioned. I guess you could say I never got the opportunity to like it. For whatever reason when I was in grade 7 I just started liking hockey, it was like a light switch. I actually don't even remember how it happened. My best friend at the time played and she was a goalie so I went to her games, maybe that had something to do with it.

I shocked my dad when I started watching hockey just about every chance I got and since then, like I said before, I hardly ever miss a game. Sure life happens, sometimes I have to work or go out and I can't watch, but usually you can't tear me away. Win or lose, I am a leafs fan to the end. Call me a masochist I guess.

Well the leafs are on and after the game I promise to post something slightly more hockey related. ^.^ Read more!