December 6, 2013

steve laidlaw

2013-12-06

Who says the East is least? Out of the five cross-conference games last night four were won by the Eastern squad and it wasn't like these were Eastern powers beating up on Western cupcakes. For one thing, there are no Eastern powers. For another, the only cupcakes in the West reside in Alberta and neither of those teams were involved.

 

The reality is that in each contest the Western team went into the game with a higher point total, except the Leafs-Stars matchup where the Stars went in with one fewer point. These were, at the very least, even matchups and for one night the East reigned supreme.

 

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Speaking of those Leafs, where would they be without their stellar goaltending?

Jonathan Bernier stopped 48 of 50 shots in last night's overtime victory over the Dallas Stars. The Leafs managed just 24 shots. Sometimes it takes a stellar goaltending performance to break a team out of a slump but it has to be disconcerting that your only wins in the past two weeks have come when your goaltender stopped at least 48 of 50 shots (Reimer stopped 49 of 50 against Washington, recently.)

 

As I'm sure you know, this business of getting outshot by extreme amounts has been an on-going theme for the Leafs this year. It's all summed up pretty well in this post from SB Nation's Adam Gretz.

 

While we are on the subject, the Pension Plan Puppets plan on celebrating Deathcember, this year.

 

Great comeback game for Nazem Kadri after missing the previous contest with a death in the family scoring the Leafs' first two goals last night.

 

 

With Tyler Bozak out yet again, Kadri was bumped back onto the top line with Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk. The coaching staff has been hesitant to stick with that line preferring to spread the offense across multiple lines but this group has been the most productive for Kadri so far this season so for Kadri owners you have to hope he sticks.

 

Trevor Smith was bumped up to the second line and scored the overtime winner. He might be worth a short-term pickup if he keeps seeing solid minutes.

 

Jerry D'Amigo got called up and skated in his first NHL game last night. He skated 4:02, which seems ridiculous to me but I'm sure D'Amigo was happy just to skate in warm ups and get his first shift under his belt.

 

In Elliotte Friedman's latest 30 Thoughts he mentioned that some scouts thought that Jake Gardiner could have success as a forward. I don't doubt that he could but my only question would be; can he play center?

 

Gardiner has been skating some huge minutes for the Leafs lately