Friday, November 18, 2011

Wake me when November is over

November has not been a kind month for Leafs Nation over the past few years or perhaps the Leafs haven't been to kind to November. The 4-1 loss to the Predators was their 5th loss in 6 games to pretty much negate the great start they had. The Leafs have only scored 8 goals in those 6 games and none were scored by forwards on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th lines.

Good - Special teams have been looking better. Last night the penalty killers were perfect and the powerplay was 1 for 2. But the lone goal was more an individual effort by John-Michael Liles as the rest of the powerplay unit was on a line change. Liles skated through a couple of stationary Nashville defenders and fired a wrist show past Pekka Rinne.

Bad - Lots of defenders of Ben Scrivens out there because he has stretches of strong play but he makes enough mistakes to cost his team games. Last night he let in 1 out of 3 shots he faced in the 1st period and 1 out 4 shots (not counting the empty net goal) he faced in the 3rd. The team has reduced scoring chances but it's not realistic to reduce them to zero.

Good - The Leafs directed 39 shots at Rinne who continues to play brilliantly. Some were very good scoring chances. The score was not indicative of the play as the Leafs dominated in stretches but couldn't break Rinne.

Bad - The Leafs lost Mike Komisarek and Matthew Lombardi to injuriesbut on't accept injuries as an excuse for losing. Every team they face throughout the season has injuries, it's part of hockey. Good teams have depth and players lower in the depth chart should be using these opportunities to westle jobs away from top 10 players. That isn't happening here. Instead, Ron Wilson is giving those extra minutes to Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul who have been playing over 25 minutes a game. Both were also -4 for the night.

Good - Jake Gardiner continues to surprise me. Last night he played forward and did not look out of place. Unfortunately he isn't going to create much offense playing with Philippe Dupuis and Jay Rosehill.

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