Raking Leafs

Mixing metaphors and casting cliches about hockey and the Maple Leafs for the ether's pleasure since MCMLXVII.


Kubina & co. defuse Lightning's voltage

TOR vs TMP 03/13/07

Leaf Lines

Leaf Pairs


"The team of last Thursday, not Saturday" started the game in Toronto. Luckily they didn't finish it.

The Leafs weren't clearing the zone or getting pucks deep which stalls the entire Maurice system. It was looking like another valley after a tremendous peak on Saturday night when Richards' powerplay point shot deflected off White past Raycroft who was moving in the opposite direction.

Truth be told, Raycroft should've been penalized in the opening minute or so for clearing the puck over the glass without a deflection. Good thing that play isn't reviewable.

However the team simplified the game, got the puck out and deep and started the forecheck to great effect. Kilger read an O'Brien pass from behind the goal line up to center and stepped in to break up the play. Chad laid it gently off the boards for Tucker, who fed a streaking Wellwood. Kyle out-waited Sarich and slid a pass to Kilger who finished the play. Mats talks about liking Kyle on his wing, but I think Darcy likes being Wellwood's wingman, as this combination was close on numerous occasions throughout the game.

Sundin almost had two goals on solo rushes in the first period alone. The first was finesse job, trying to get Boyle to bite to either side. The second a more classic speed burst to get in alone.

On the Leafs first powerplay a few minutes into the second, you could tell PP1 really wanted one. Unfortunately Richards made a brilliant pass to Boyle, trapping four Leafs behind the play. Danny 'Boy, Oh' Boyle finished the play with a great wrister to the far post just above Raycroft's right pad.

But Sundin was on a mission tonight. The doubting media had printed "goal production" pieces in recent days lamenting Mats' lack of conversion the last couple of weeks. Apparently Mats likes this form of motivation. With one of his best goals ever, he posted up Sarich deep in the left corner, then sliced between the second defender to get out in front of the goal line. Following a reactive Pinnykarovsky, as the SUN network colorman keep mispronoucning, Mats madly stick-handled his way to the bottom of the left circle and fired past Denis' left pad.

On the winner, Antro and Sundin showed some collective anticipation. From the left corner, Antro fed a waiting Sundin behind the goal then continued to the net. Mats returned the puck and Antro did the rest, using his reach to create an angle from in close that once again proved clutch.

The Lightning mounted a valiant come back attempt, and almost equalized. Vinny 'almost a Leaf' Lecavalier found iron from a sharp angle firing a puck deflected off a skate. Martin 'tree trunk thighs' St. Loowee almost torpedoed through the Leafs' defense in the final minute with the extra attacker but Kubina made a tremendous goal-saving play for the second game in a row, swatting the puck off the little speedster's stick before bringing him to the ice. Worth every penny in my opinion.

Next up is a mini two game road trip, first to loser of eight straight Washington then onto Montreal to play the all over the place Habs, who beat the Islanders after knocking out white-hot Rick DePietro last night.

It is too early and too wide-open to get excited, but this is a different team at home of late, and that bodes very well for the Leafs' chances. Having Wellwood and Tucker back doesn't hurt either, and if Kubina can continue to buoy the D with Kaberle out, we might just see some play-off action this year.

UPDATE - Spector has a 2007 UFA list if you are already looking past the play-offs. Baby face Briere is tempting, as is Gomez, but the Leafs are chockerblock stocked with centers. Smyth would fit in nicely as well.

UPDATE - TCF Regular Season Pool - I'm clinging to a top third spot and losing grip. It looks to be a two horse race to the end between sarahaha and johnrt.



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