I had a good feeling before the Toronto Maple Leafs faced Ottawa this weekend that they were going to bounce back from their 3-1 loss to Carolina.
On the night that the Leafs organization honored the 1963 Stanley Cup Champions, Toronto shut out the Senators 3-0. A perfect end for a special night.
Leaf’s goaltender, Ben Scrivens was amazing between the pipes, making a total of 34 saves and recorded his first NHL shut out. He was the reason the Leafs were able to hold on to their one goal lead in the second period. Toronto played somewhat sloppy during the period, giving up a substantial amount of shots. Leaf’s head coach, Randy Carlyle noted that his team tried to be too cute with their plays in the second (period).
The Leafs played much better in the third period and scored two more goals. The third goal was an empty netter by John-Michael Liles who shot it from the Leaf’s zone.
With this victory, the Leafs have won five of their last six games. Pretty impressive.
Besides good goal tending, the reason for the Leaf’s recent success is because of Carlyle. When they lost to Carolina this week, Carlyle did not hesitate to point out his team’s flaws in that game to the media. “It was one of our, probably, least inspiring performances we’ve had in a while,” said Carlyle. Carlyle also stated that no one played to the level that they are capable of. Harsh words, but he’s absolutely right. They gave up too many turnovers in the neutral zone during the Carolina game.
After the Ottawa game, Scrivens now has a goals against average of 2.23 and a .927 save percentage.
There are some concerns I have about this team. Both Nikolia Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski are in scoring slumps right now. Grabovski hasn’t scored a goal in at least nine games. Phil Kessel is also in a mini slump. He hasn’t recorded a point in two games.
Nazem Kadri has taken over the team lead again in points with 12.
The Leafs face Florida tomorrow night.