Flyers Double Up Leafs 4-2
Considering most people (myself included) expected the Leafs to be embarrassed tonight at the hands of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Leafs surprised by managing to be in the game for most of the night. Both Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell paced the Flyers tonight with two goals apiece (Jagr's goals were his first since 2008). Jonas Gustavsson got the start for the Leafs on his 27th birthday and definitely turned some heads by stopping 26 of 30 shots. Gustavsson made some big saves, and was swarmed at times tonight. While it has already been said that The Monster made a statement, he still surrendered four goals which are too many if the Leafs are to win when he is in net. Phil Kessel with his league leading ninth goal, and Dave Steckel (his third consecutive game with a goal) were the marksmen for the Leafs tonight.
The Leafs fell asleep a couple of times tonight and paid dearly for it. Jagr was sprung on a breakaway late in the first period, beating Gustavsson with a stickside snapper. The Leafs had played a perfect road period and were on the verge of taking a 1-0 lead to the room, when Jagr blew past the flat-footed defense pair of Komisarek and Schenn. In the third period, following Steckel's goal to make it a 3-2 game, Jagr once again snuck behind the Leafs D and killed the game on his third breakaway opportunity. Midway through the second Jagr broke in on Gustavsson, but the Leafs back up stretched to get a pad on his shot.
The Leafs played without Tim Connolly and Tyler Bozak (Ron Wilson said both will play Thursday against the Rangers), forcing the Leafs to use Matthew Lombardi, Dave Steckel and Nazem Kadri between Joffrey Lupul and Kessel tonight. An inabilty to create offense was a problem for most of the night, and when the Leafs did have chances Sergei Bobrovski was equal to the task. Clarke MacArthur continues to struggle, and he looks to be laboring on the ice.
There was an ugly incident midway through the first period when Mikhail Grabovski hit Chris Pronger in the eye during his follow through from a shot. Pronger was in obvious pain, and his screaming could be clearly heard. Mike Brophy tweeted "Chris Pronger is home and resting. Was told by doc he should be okay". Brophy is good friends with Pronger, so this is a great sign considering the incident brought back memories of Marian Hossa on Bryan Berard.
Men of The Match
Leafs: Jake Gardiner - The super freshman had a great night. Gardinder's passing and skating were key to the Leafs offense. The young blueliner also made a couple of great defensive plays against the bigger Flyers James Van Riemsdyk and Wayne Simmonds.
Flyers: Jaromir Jagr - It was a vintage performance from the active leading scorer in the NHL. The former superstar demonstrated that if in the right mood he is able to still take over games. If Jagr can do this on a semi consistent basis he makes the Flyers a dangerous team.
Bowenism of the Night
"Here comes Frattin. Frattin up the wing. Frattin over the line, oh Lupul, now it's Lupul."
The Leafs will head to MSG and face the New York Rangers Thursday night. James Reimer, Tim Connolly and Tyler Bozak are all expected to play.