Saturday, 9 February 2013

Leafs Line - Montreal Massacre

The Puck Drop:

There's not much else to say really, one team showed up big and the other seemed to have gotten stuck in traffic on their way to the ice because from the scoreboard situation, this was a complete blowout.

The Scoreboard:

So the scoring runs down like this... Toronto scored, then they scored again... and again... then they put another one between the pipes... and another... and finally one more for good measure. In the meantime Reimer had to field 37 shots fired on him and fights broke out left-right-and-centre as the game just fell apart for Montreal.

Toronto Goals:

  • L. Komarov from N. Kulemin.
  • T. Bozak from JVR and J. Liles
  • JVR from P. Kessel
  • PPG - P. Kessel from D. Phaneuf and C. Franson
  • K. Holzer from C. Orr and J. McClement (Yeah, the big boys put some points on the board along with their PIMs)
  • PPG - D. Phaneuf from P. Kessel
Kessel got on the board with three points, Reemer (that's James Van, not a 'Reimer' typo) came up big tonight and I must give a little congratulations to Dion Phaneuf who actually managed to hit the net as opposed to the boards behind it and his own team mates. 

Although it was a high-scoring game for Toronto, the penalty minutes became just as big a story if not something to overshadow the beating that Montreal took in goals.

The Sin Bin:

To put this in perspective early folks, a total of 116 penalty minutes were handed out over the duration of the game and 94 of them came in the 3rd period... Yeah it got a little hairy on the ice as things drew to a close.

Honestly, every time I see a game that's so one-sided, where one team is taking such a ridiculous beating, I'm usually watching someone pound on the Leafs so this was a nice change. But in those cases, tempers almost always flare and the fists start flying and this Toronto-Montreal grudge match was no different. The only change from the Leafs last year compared to their performance in such a physical style of game THIS year is, well... Almost everything. Montreal tried to beat them with skaters and that didn't work. When that failed they tried to rough up Toronto but realized far too late that the likes of Jay McClement, Mark Fraser, Colton Orr, and Frazer McLaren amongst others were waiting to greet them and Montreal simply didn't have enough bodies to put on the ice in order to wear down Toronto's heavy-handed capabilities which is something that they've been seeking for YEARS. Well, it would appear that the Leafs have found a perfectly functional balance between speed, 'magic mittens' and spunk. It came out in a big way against Montreal and for the first time in a long time Toronto has been able to say "WE are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Don't mess with us!"

I suppose it would be unfair of me to tell you about the mayhem without at least featuring the best fight of the night... Well, here's MY pick though you likely have your own. Seeing Colton Orr one-punch Rene Bourque? Yeah that made my night I must say. It's not that I have anything against Bourque, OR that that I think it was a real fight (as there would've needed to be two sides to the altercation) but I just love seeing Colton Orr back in the lineup and moreover that he's been laying people out fearlessly. So, here it is... Orr one-punches Rene Bourque with a bonus bout between Frazer McLaren and Josh Gorges.

Don't blink or you'll miss it

Honestly, the scariest part of this video is the sick, sadistic laughing smile that McLaren has painted on his face for the entire fight... Sort of reminds me of Matthew Barnabe's mug when he got into a scrap with anyone. Seriously, check out Barnabe, then look and McLaren and tell me you don't see the similarity.

Exhibit A:

Check 30s into it... THAT smile lol

In any case, the point just needs to be understood that McLaren looked like he was having the time of his life, and it scared me a little to see a man taking such enjoyment out of pummelling poor Josh Gorges.

The Return of Optimus Reim:

Not since his electric start with the Leafs have I seen James Reimer look so comfortable between the iron.  Reimer was on his game tonight and little did I know when I jokingly said "OH! Reimer made a save on the first shot! It's gonna be a good game!" how right I was soon to be.

As I stated before he saved 37 shots, 8 of them on power plays, and he seemed unflinching when the bodies started flying around him... Not Ron Hextall level unflinching but good enough for my tastes. Reimer seemed to stand a foot taller than his 6'2'' frame as he faced down Brian Gionta and the Montreal Canadiens who only last year left him with his concussion that has since hounded his time with the Leafs. If he was nervous about staring down the elbows of Gionta he sure didn't show it, nor did his team mates give him any reason to fret as they did quite the job keeping Montreal's bodies away from their goaltender. It was refreshing to see Toronto finally stepping up and protecting good ol' 'Optimus Reim'.

Way to go Jimmy!

The Final Buzzer:

With all the misconducts, minutes, goals and goaltending out of the way, the game went into the books as yet ANOTHER Toronto road win, earning them the nickname "The Road Warriors" to a few with only Chicago boasting a better away-game standing. Toronto has now  (soundly) beaten the Montreal Canadiens twice this year and here's hoping that's not the last Montreal Massacre we see this year.

Actually, the next time they're scripted to meet is on my birthday. Anyone wanna get me tickets? Just kidding.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

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