Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Game 10: The Better Team Always Wins...

So Toronto's last home game before their much needed mini road trip saw the Basement dwelling Thrashers take on the sinking (stinking) Leafs. The Leafs had Toskala in net and even the last place team in the league put their back up goalie in to face the Leafs (Hedberg). Sundin scored 13 seconds into the first and Toronto was playing a very "fuck you" kind of game. They were skating hard, winning battles in the corners, using their size against Atlanta's speed and it seemed to be working...for the first 4 minutes anyways. Tobias Endstrom threw a soft one on net that slipped by Toskala and with less than a minute left in the period, Ilya Kovalchuck just skated around every one like pylons in a drill and with an off balance wrist shot that found the back of the net it was 2-1 ATL after one.

In the second frame the Leafs came out strong again and were rewarded with another goal. This time we saw Hal Gill step into a howitzer that beat Hedberg high to tie things at 2-2. Blake and Perrin exchanged goals and with the score 3-3 going into the 3rd it looked like any one's game (and by anyone I mean Atlanta's)

Going into last night's game, Toronto had been outscored 16-8 in third periods. I believe this has to do with a few things...Toronto's lack of speed. With other teams skating around them in the defensive zone (Kovalchuck was a prime example of this last night) the leafs get tired because their defensive coverage is so poor that they resort to holding, interfering, slashing, hooking, tripping and pretty much anything else a big dumb slow guy would do with a stick to slow down a skilled speedy European. This proved to be the case when Todd White and Eric Perrin had 2 2 on 1's in one they passed the defence twice they arranged a very nice 2-0 and easily put the puck passed a helpless Toskala. With about 2 minutes left Toronto found that great play they lost at the 4 minute mark of the first and came on very strong completly dominating the Thrashers. With a huge scramble in front of Hedberg and just over 9 seconds left, Ponikarovsky shoveled a lose puck past Hedberg to send it to overtime. The ACC was going Bananas.

I am still not a big fan of shootouts...I do think they are exciting but I don't like how two teams play one another for 65 minutes only to have players 1-on-1 with the goalies. It's like having a tied football game and seeing which punter can kick the furthest...I just don't like it. Or maybe i just don't like them because Toronto sucks at them...either way they bug me. This was the first shoot out for either team this year and I'll give you the quick rundown of how the shooters did.

Leafs 1st: Antropov Scores 5-hole
Thrashers 1st: Kozlov Scores
Leafs 2nd: Sundin poke checked (not like it matters though because he would have just shot it at Hedberg's chest)
Thrashers 2nd: Hossa Stopped
Leafs 3rd: Blake stopped on a shit move
Thrashers 3rd: Kovalchuck comes cross ice and puts it back over Toskala's shoulder for the win.

So Atlanta get their first road win of the season (glad we could help) and improve to 2-1 since Bob got fired. Toronto's off to Pittsburgh Thursday then New York to take on the Rangers on Saturday. Pittsburgh will prove to be tough again (especially if they don't play down to the leafs caliber like they did last time) and the struggling Rangers will have a good chance vs the Leafs because...well the leafs just blow.

And one last thing before I go today. Week two pylon as voted by you goes to...

Bryan McCabe With his beautiful overtime winner in Buffalo (on his own net) and sloppy defensive play on recent games (and all the ones before them) he has been Leafs Nation's scapegoat for the past week. Now I can understand him wanting to downplay the own goal to the press since they want to behead him but he really needs to think about what he says before he opens his mouth. The one quote that bugged me the most was the "It's not like it was game 7 of the was game 7 of 82"...yes it was Bryan, but remember what happened last year when you missed the playoffs by a single point?...they all count and I'm really hoping this doesn't come back to haunt us.

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