Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'll take a sloppy win over a tidy loss

That was one ugly win on Long Island. They managed only 4 shots in the first and fell behind 2-0 in the second. In the third they mounted a comeback - but only managed 5 shots. But somehow they squeaked out a 4-3 overtime win. This game was marred with all types of strange plays, very chippy hockey and some strange bounces. So the win leaves the Leafs in a 3-way tie for 7th place with Florida and New Jersey going into the All-Star break. I doubt that has been the case in about 8 years.

Good - Jake Gardner played a fabulous game scoring his first NHL to tie the score 2-2. His strong play earned him 26 minutes of ice time which was best on the Leafs after Dion Phaneuf.

Bad - There were all kinds of bad bounces and strange goals. Grabovski's goal came on a shot that hit Milan Jurcina's stick and fluttered over the shoulder of Islanders goalie Al Montoya. Then with less that 20 seconds remaining in regulation time Grabovski was involved in another strange play. His clearing shot along the boards from behind his net hit a partition in the glass and popped in front of the net to a surprised Islanders forward P.A. Parenteau who buried it behind Gustavsson.

Good - On a night when the Leafs' dynamic duo of Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul produced no points, another duo made up of Mikhail Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur chipped in enough to win the game. Grabovski had a goal and three assists while MacArthur had two goals and an assist.

Bad - I was not too impressed by the officiating. The uncalled violations included all manner of hooking, holding, interference, and high sticking. Grabovski hit Andrew MacDonald in the throat with his stick. Joffrey Lupul clipped John Tavares in the face. Phil Kessel was being hacked and mugged all night long but he also got away with an obvious elbow. It looked like 2004 not 2012.

Good - Well you can imagine how frustrated the Islanders must be having played the Leafs in back to back games without getting one powerplay opportunity. That is the third time the Leafs have played a complete game this month without killing a penalty. They have now gone 11 games without giving up a powerplay.

Bad - The Leafs decided to make it interesting by giving up a short-handed goal instead of a powerplay goal.

Good - The game had an exciting finish in overtime when MacArthur scored on a great set up from Grabovski. It appeared that Montoya had made a huge save on the shot but on replay you could see that the goalie's glove was inside the net when he caught the puck which had already crossed the goal line.

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