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TO faces the best team in the NHL, tonite and possibly the first opponent in the playoffs. Gonna be interesting to see if a hot TO is up to the challenge.


Interesting quote from Babs on Dermott:


He’s a good player. He’s just got to figure out what the score is and what the time on the clock is, and make plays accordingly.


I find this interesting/troublesome as I've thought TO often goes into a defensive mode when they have a lead late in a game. This often results in TO being under siege for long periods which makes the lead appear precarious. I think if the team can build up a lead because of how they're playing then they should continue to play the same way no matter the score or time of the game.


So far having Marner on Kadri's line is a success and I think I know why. Leo isn't a playmaker while Kadri and Marleau are playmakers light  so having a really good playmaker on the line enables it to control the puck more, keep the puck out of TO's zone which is the best form of d.


Another interesting quote from Babs:


Well, obviously, lots of the time the top six cancel each other out. The deeper you are, the more opportunity. It’s nice to have all lines that can score, but you need lines that can play without the puck for sure if you’re going to have success at playoff time.


He's talking mostly defensive line(s) which I've always thought are possession black holes, line(s) that need to be defensively proficient because they don't have the necessary skills to get and keep the puck. I think Kadri's line is better equipped to defend and with the talent TO has I think it's possible for TO to construct more lines with the same purpose.

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Pretty big match up within the Atlantic Division at this stage of the season.


Things looked like TB was going to run away with the division, but Boston, and of course, Toronto have other plans.

In a way, I am sorta glad the Bolts hit the skids a bit and now have to worry about teams like the Leafs gaining ground.


Makes for a sharper team with no room for complacency from having "too easy" of a run during the regular season.

Playoffs are where it counts after all, and this match up between the Leafs and Bolts could possibly be a 1st round match up should TB lose 1st place to the Bruins.


And with both teams now seemingly working with their offense in gear, should be exciting.


I know this is a Leafs thread, but.... Go Bolts!  :)

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Wow...what a sequence at around the 11:00 mark!


Toronto with all sorts of pressure and attack on Andrei Vasilevskiy....but the Bolts goaltender held strong!

Several big time saves and some quick thinking by the Bolts defenders who had their hands full with the Toronto forwards made sure the game remained scoreless!


Thing is, BOTH teams are capable of doing this sort of thing to the other at any given time!

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Toronto leads 1-0 after the 1st after a very nice goal by William Nylander off the draw midway through the period.

Steven Stamkos, who lost that draw, looked visibly upset, because he knew that if he wins that face off, that goal likely doesn't happen.

Looking for him to try to atone for that later in the game.


Some outstanding goaltending by both Vasilevskiy and Andersen.... Vasy holding up well, sans that goal by Nylander, against Toronto's attack while Frederik Andersen didn't have as much pressure against, but certainly needed to be sharp on TB's short handed bids.

Yes, the Bolts ARE a dangerous team shorthanded. 

Their PK % is a pedestrian 78% or so, but they are one of the top three teams in the league (Florida, Buffalo) in scoring while short handed.


Looking at some numbers by period, the Leafs rank high with 1st period goals (61, good for 2nd in the league)....Bolts as a group, lag a bit behind there (52, good for 5th), and Toronto's lead reflects that.

The second period, however, traditionally belongs to the Lightning.

They are tied with the Dallas Stars for most 2nd period goals at 75.

Leafs rank 18th with 52 2nd period goals.


Of course, overall defensive play and especially goaltending will have the final say on who wins the 2nd, but Leafs need to keep their wits about them in the upcoming frame....especially if they start taking penalties against the lethal TB PP.


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Is was a great game, both goalies stood on their heads and made great saves against teams that are offensively on right now. The speed of play was blistering and goals only came when the goalies' vision was compromised.


I'm surprised that TSN broadcasters are awarding Vas.. the best goalie award because TO is where TO is mostly because of Anderson.  Andersen is TO's MVP and it isn't even close, he won't win the reward because I guess Vas.. GAA and SV% is better and TB is presently the best team in the league but Andersen is TO's glue and I can't imagine where TO would be without him.


TO is better suited to win a game like this because of Babs' line changes, Marner on Kadri's line shocked me, it wasn't something I expected Babs was capable of. The Kadri line didn't score tonite but it held up which isn't something it could do with Leo, at least visually.


I noticed that TO was out shot 34 to 23, it's an ongoing thing that TO is out shot even during winning steaks and a prime reason why Anderson is the best goalie in the NHL this year.


I was surprised that TB didn't have Stamkos, Kutcherov and Name... on the same line, it was a dynamic line that on paper should be unstoppable much like Boston's Bergeron line.

Edited by hobie

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