Yesterday night the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to bounce back in their series against the Boston Bruins and tie it at one after a disheartening game one loss. Leafs brass spent two days focusing on the mistakes from game one, looking over video and vowing not to make the same mistakes again. As a result, the Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-2.
However, the Leafs didn’t play a perfect game. The defense still coughed up a few turnovers leading to prime scoring chances for the Bruins. Thankfully for the skaters, James Reimer was between the pipes to bail them out and maintain their lead. If the Leafs have any chance of winning this series, they need to ensure that defensive turnovers, similar to the ones committed in the first two games, do not happen. It has been their Achilles heel all season, and they will realize the true consequences if it costs them the series.
The series now shifts to Toronto where the Maple Leafs now have home ice advantage for the remainder of the matchup.
Amongst the lineup changes of Coach Randy Carlyle in game two, one of them involved scratching alternate captain Clarke MacArthur. He has not played well over the last few weeks of the season and game one of the playoffs. He admit that lack of confidence is an issue, and that he would need to sort that out moving forward. MacArthur sat, Matt Frattin played.
It was a good move to scratch MacArthur from yesterday’s game with hopes that he will realize his mediocre play is not acceptable in the playoffs, and come back strong the next time he is inserted back in the lineup. The hockey term, “a wake up call,” applies to MacArthur, since he is not providing the Leafs with the secondary scoring they require from him. He adds good scoring depth to the team playing on the third line or fourth line, so it is important he figures things out quickly before the playoffs are over-and-done with.
Jake Gardiner was also part of Coach Carlyle’s lineup changes, being inserted to the lineup on the third pairing alongside Ryan O’byrne. He played a solid game, using his capabilities to move the puck up and down the ice and drive scoring opportunities. However, he committed two very blatant turnovers that, for his sake, were bailed out by Reimer. The turnovers alone could be enough of an argument to have him in the press box for game three. After all, he played in the spot of John-Michael Liles yesterday, and Liles is a player in which Carlyle would presumably have in the lineup over the young Gardiner.
Gardiner is a good young player with great potential, but he must find away to eliminate the defensive concern once he’s on the ice.
Other Random Thoughts
All five of the Maple Leafs playoff goals this year have come from players already with playoff experience. Joffrey Lupul with the Mighty Ducks and Flyers, James van Riemsdyk also with the Flyers, and of course Phil Kessel with the Bruins.
Now that Phil Kessel is off the snide, he may feel more comfortable shooting the puck. Elects to pass to lesser players on scoring opportunities.
James Reimer’s play in game two was wondrous. If he continues playing like this throughout the playoffs, none will doubt his capabilities as the Maple Leafs number one goaltender.
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