Leafs Leaf It Up Against Anaheim in 3-1 Win

Harry How

Despite being outshot by 21, Toronto used their top line to get a 3-0 lead and hang on for the victory, sweeping the season series on the Ducks.

Final Score: Ducks 1, Maple Leafs 3

First Period Recap: The first seven or eight minutes were completely dominated by Ducks possession.  That included a power play and the first minute or so of a penalty kill.  It was nice to see, but nothing productive really came from it.  The most notable part of the first few minutes was a PP unit with Ricard Rakell and Jacob Silfverberg on the points, if only for a moment.  Teemu Selanne and Matt Beleskey were also out, but I didn't catch the fifth member of the unit. I have to imagine it was a defenseman.

After the penalty kill by the Ducks, Toronto got their first real spell of momentum thanks to the line of James van Reiemsdyk, Phil Kessel and Tyler Bozak.  They evened the shot total up and looked far more dangerous than the Ducks had.  With about eight minutes remaining Cam Fowler swept a puck out of the crease that would have been a sure goal.

Ben Lovejoy and David Clarkson fought at the 14:09 mark.  It was pretty clear that Clarkson had a little more practice as he landed a couple of heavy blows, but Lovejoy hung in there and somehow drew blood before they were separated by the officials.  Each got two for cross checking and five for fighting so they were done for the period.

Slightly more than a minute later Patrick Maroon snowed Jonathan Bernier which caused way more of an uproar than it needed to.  Maroon fell down in the scrum and apparently took exception to something Tim Gleason had to say, they wanted to go at it, but the refs gave each two for unsportsmanlike conduct and they made a date for later.

During the ensuing 4-on-4 the Ducks got their best chance of the period with Corey Perry coming around the back of the net and pulling the puck to his forehand, as he does, but zipped it over the bar.

With about a minute and a half left in the 4-on-4 Saku Koivu went off for tripping Jay McClement and Toronto immediately scored on the 4-on-3 power play.  The faceoff was won back to Dion Phaneuf who faked a shot, walked around a sprawling Daniel Winnik and threw it toward Tyler Bozak in the slot for a redirect past Frederik Andersen.

Right after Maroon and Gleason were released from the box they got the fight they had been waiting a full two minutes for.  It was energetic, but I don't think anything really landed.

With under a minute left in the period Ryan Getzlaf had the puck knocked off of his stick by a combination of JVR and Bozak, directly to Kessel.  Phil the Thrill split the defense of Hampus Lindholm and Francois Beauchemin as he exited the zone for the breakaway and flipped it on goal.  Andersen got a piece of it with his elbow, but the knob of his stick knocked it into the net for a 2-0 Leafs lead to finish the first.

Second Period Recap: Only 3:44 into the second period the Leafs made it 3-0 when Kessel got a stretch pass and was joined by Paul Ranger to create a 2-on-1 rush against Fowler.  Cam played the pass all the way, letting Kessel right into the top of the crease and still got beaten by the pass to Ranger at the far post.  Kessel basically played a bank shot off of Ranger's tape, all Ranger had to do was get there and put his stick on the ice,

Shortly thereafter, Bryan Allen put a beautiful open ice check on McClement and Clarkson came to his rescue to drop the gloves for the second time in the game. This one was more of a wrestling match and Clarkson ended up on top.

The Ducks got their second power play opportunity of the night when Phaneuf slashed Perry, much like the rest of the game the Ducks had possession for most of the time, but didn't get anything but unscreened perimeter shots directly into Bernier's midsection.

Right around the midpoint of the game Bruce Boudreau started shuffling the lines.  Maroon was moved up into the Dustin Penner role and it payed dividends quickly.  The Ducks had their first shift of the game where they generated shots from dangerous areas and second chance opportunities.  It was a flurry of forechecking pressure that eventually led to Maroon getting the puck in the high slot and instead of throwing a harmless shot into the chest of Bernier he found Perry open on the far post for a slam dunk goal.

In the last couple of minutes of the period the tide seemed to be turning toward the Ducks with Maroon and Beleskey getting some decent shots from the slot.  I know it's pretty unbelievable, but Randy Carlyle's team sat back with a three goal lead.

Third Period Recap: At this point i was reminding myself that the Leafs have given up much stupider leads than this in the past, so it would be fine, not only that the Ducks had a chance to pull within one on the power play only a minute and a half into the period.  Unfortunately the best chance during Gleason's cross checking penalty was a shorthanded breakaway by Bozak.

At one point in the third the Ducks could have had a 4-on-2 break, but it was broken up by just about everyone on the Leafs bench hopping onto the ice at  the same time.  Alas, the resulting power play was just another boring waste of two minutes, but with considerably less zone time than the previous "opportunities."

The rest of the period was mostly the same old low percentage shots from distance that Bernier stopped without difficulty.  The two exceptions were Getzlaf almost getting a breakaway, but having his stick lifted by a wonderful backcheck from JVR and a small flurry with Andersen pulled where Beleskey was stopped on a wraparound with Bernier out of the net by Bozak.

And so an intensely boring game of hockey ended 3-1 to the Leafs, despite the Ducks outshooting them 44-23.  Juuuuuuust about exactly how Kid ish said it would end up in his preview.

*********************

The Good: The first five minutes were pretty dominant, and they had that one shift that lead up to the goal.  I guess the Ducks did outshoot the Leafs by a wide margin, but that's not much of an achievement.

The Bad: Quantity over quality.  The Ducks had a ton of shots, but very few of any real consequence.  It was a lot of shots from outside, with no screen directly into the leaf on Bernier's chest.

The Ugly: The power play is getting back to the disgustingly awful conversion rates of October.  They went 0-for-3 again tonight, bringing their total to 1 of 19 in the five games since the Olympics, a percentage of 5.2 efficiency according to my calculator.

***********************

3rd Icehole: Jonathan Bernier - Not that he had to be good, but he was there always in perfect position to absorb a shot directly in the chest.  43 times.

2nd Icehole: JVR - He was the one that really got Toronto going in the first period.  After the first five minutes of the game or so, the Ducks hadn't practically not let anyone else from the Leafs in the zone but van Riemsdyk was driving the net, getting to the dangerous areas that the Ducks weren't, and wouldn't all night.

1st Icehole: Phil Kessel - Was in on all three Leafs goals giving him six points against the Ducks this season in two games.  Anaheim simply has no answer for his speed and shot.  Bozak was also in on all three goals, but it was Kessel and JVR that were driving the play for that line, as every Leafs fan ever will tell you.

Next Game: Wednesday, March 12; 7:00 p.m. at Calgary

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