Sometimes She Goes, Sometimes She Doesn't Go - Kings Down Leafs 3-2 in SO
From a game in which James Reimer seemed to finally re-emerge, the Leafs were undone by a couple of unfortunate bounces as they lost 3-2 in the shootout to the Los Angelas Kings. While Reimer stopped 40 of 42 shots on the night the Leafs were certainly in the game until the final shot in the shootout. In a first period in which Toronto outshot Los Angelas 15-14. The opening goal of the game came when a bounce off the glass of a Drew Doughty shoot-in had every player on the ice heading in one direction as the puck fell onto Justin Williams' stick alone in front of Reimer. Williams deposited the shot past the helpless Leafs goalie, and the blue and white were down in a game in which they were the better team. John Michael Liles tied it up shortly after with a complete blast over Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and the first period ended with the score tied at ones.
The Leafs were completely out-skated and dominated in the second period as the Kings attacked relentlessly in the middle frame. Reimer stopped 15 of 16 shots in that period and was the lone reason that the Leafs were still in the game. Demonstrating what most Leafs fans expect out of Reimer, the young goalie made numerous saves to keep hold the Kings back. When Reimer is on his game the saves aren't extraordinary, but solid. The only puck that managed to elude Reimer came off the stick of forward Dustin Brown. The only problem though was that the play was clearly offside, yet linesman David Brisebrois allowed play to continue. The goal should have never happened. Therefore two unfortunate incidents went against the Leafs directly leading to the goals against.
As was continuously mentioned on Twitter as well as by the moronic Leaf broadcast crew (moronic in general, not because of the stat) the Kings are an incredible 67-0-4 when leading after two periods of play. That didn't stop the Leafs though. Matt Frattin converted off a beautiful Mikhail Grabovski pass and once again the game was squared. Both teams had their fare share of chances both in the third period and overtime, yet the two goalies were up to the task. In the shootout Phil Kessel stung a wrister off the post and missed, while Brown rung one off the post that went in giving the Kings the extra point. Not being a fan of shootouts I've reached the point where I look at these games as ties. Whatever happens in the shootout is irrelevant since, as tonight's game proved, it's really just a crapshoot.
On the bright side, the Leafs hung tough and fought back against a tough defensive unit. Toronto was unfortunate on some occasions tonight, but at least Reimer looks to be rounding into the form he showed before his six week hiatus.
Men of the Match
Leafs: James Reimer - Was the best player on both teams tonight. This is the Reimer that I have grown to count on, and it was refreshing to see him bounce back. The Leafs' #1 'keeper should be able to build on this performance.
Kings: Dustin Brown - Once again my player to watch from the game preview ends up killing the Leafs. Brown displayed his sniper skills with his regulation goal and in the shootout. Was also a force cycling the puck in the offensive zone.
Bowenism of the Night
"I've already starting dipping into the christmas cheer" - No shit Joe.
Next Game: The Leafs will face the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in less than a week on Thursday night.