Its Hockey Night Tonight

“Holy Mackinaw” using the very well known catchphrase from the voice of the Leafs, Joe Bowen, on a game like no other. Either the Toronto Maple Leafs were saving this kind of play up or just maybe they caught the Boston Bruin club thinking they had it in the bag? At this time it really doesn’t matter as the ‘ Blueshirts  have force game 6 back in the ‘Big Smoke’ this Sunday evening.

We all knew the Leafs needed to come out and play desperate hockey, have the attitude of  ’Take no prisoners’ and silent the critics from the last game in OT loss. Well that they did, as the Leafs came out flying in the first period, peppering Rask with shot after shot and making the Bruin tender make  some unbelievable saves. Out shooting the Bruins in the first 19 to 8 but coming away with still a 0-0 score.

It was in the second period when the Leafs Bozak was able to skate away from the Bruins defender for a short handed breakaway and roof it for the lead. Then come the third period another giveaway by the Bruins where  McArthur was able to pounce on a puck, break in and power himself across the goal and slide it in the far side behind Rask to give the Leafs  a 2-0 lead. The ‘Buds’ were out shot in the second by 10-17 and then going into the third up 2-0 the tables reversed as the Bruins came out as the desperate team trying to get back into the game and eventually tie it up. Reimer saves  But Leafs ‘Tender of the Twines’  James Reimer would have nothing of it as he restored all Leaf Nations faith back into him as he stopped shot after shot thrown his way from Bruins (19-4 in shots for BB). The only one shot that found the back of the net came off the stick of  Zdeno ‘Redwood’  Chara.

Lets take a closer look at some other points in the game too.

The Good

- Leafs preparation  for the game was outstanding, they knew they had to play desperate hockey and use their speed

- Though he hasn’t been scoring Grabovski has being playing with more fire and he is skating again like we know he can, watch him break out in game 6

- Even without Mark Fraser the Leafs out hit the Bruins 46 to 39

- A little turn around here as the Bruins lead in the giveaway department for this game 6-9 in favour of the Leafs

The Bad

- Someone tell young gun Nazem Kadri it’s ok to start scoring again! He has 1 assist in the 5 games and only 10:44 minutes in ice time, is Coach Carlyle losing confidence in him?

- Powerplay seems to be shut down, well maybe that’s because the Bruins are good at PK but either or the Leafs need to capitalize.

- Keep practicing those faceoffs Leafs, still losing that battle as well 34-27 for the Bruins.

The Ugly

- Going into game 5 the Leafs were 1-8 going into that game and the last time the Leafs pulled out the series win was in 1942 against the Detroit Red Wings.

Additional Coaches Notes

Each game I have watch Jake Gardiner become a better player. His confidence is growing, he still makes some basic mistakes but they are getting less and less. He played just under 25 minutes last night and moved the puck nicely.

The one note from Bruins coach Claude Julien was that he felt his team did not have the ‘Killer instinct’ going into the game. He said it started to show in the third while they were down 2-0 and they became the desperate team. He hopes it doesn’t take the score to make a team desperate or they will be trouble once again in game 6.

Well let’s hope the Leafs will have enough desperation once again in game 6 so we can go back into Boston for game 7 as this series is turning out some of the best NHL hockey we have seen in a long while!

Until next time.

See you after the game,

Coach Nye