Monday, November 19, 2007

Game 21: Toronto Beat Who?! (Ottawa In Case You Missed It)

Saturday night I found myself at the Christmas potluck for my in-laws extended family (about 75 people)...Somewhere between the half frozen PC shrimp ring and the home made meatballs the Leafs game was on and they we're looking for another embarrassing loss to the Senators only something really weird happened...They won.

I was watching the game on a huge TV that had the reception of an old coat hanger antenna and for 2.5 hours of the night I was in a happy place.

This is reason #4320 why the leafs piss me off...They beat Ottawa. No, they shut out Ottawa... The first time Ottawa has been shut out since last December. The last 19 match ups leading up to Saturdays game Ottawa was 15-2-2 against the Leafs...Does this mean Toronto is just as good as Ottawa? No way...Does Ottawa have an excuse for losing? nope...Did Toronto deserve to win? You bet...Toronto can play 60 minutes of near flawless hockey against the best team in the league and win 3-0 then Tuesday they'll play Boston and probably lose 5-3. I just don't get how inconsistent the Leafs are this year. No one can really explain why...It just happens...and it blows big time.

A few reason why I think Toronto won:

1) First and foremost...Wozniewski was only on the ice for 7 minutes (2nd lowest TOI for Toronto on Saturday next to Pohl)
2) Toronto converted on 2 power play opportunities in one game (first time all season I think)

3) I don't go back on stats often (I go by memory) but I think this may be only the second time they didn't allow a power play goal in a game...(the first being a Raycroft shutout earlier)

4) Maybe Ottawa came in thinking (assuming) it was going to be an easy win...

5) We had a goalie in net that could make a big save when the Leafs needed it.

I find that a goalie getting a shutout is a lot like a pitcher getting a no-hitter (even though a no-hitter is much harder to do) There are a few things that need to happen...The defence must be solid. The Goalie/Pitcher has to be on top of his game and the defence (goalie for hockey/fielders for baseball) have to make 3 huge plays during the game. Toskala did that making a few giant saves and holding the fort while the leafs were actually skating with Ottawa instead of watching them like they did in the previous 3 games this year.

So before this 4 game week started I was predicting a 2-2 (optimistically) and 1-3 (realistically) record after the game in Boston tomorrow night...Right now they're 1-1-1 so things are looking decent for the time being...I'm really hoping that the win on Saturday can add somesort of morale boost in the Leafs dressing room because as this season grows, it's not gonna get any easier for them.

See everyone Wednesday morning...peace

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