Leafs Walking Tall in Mile High
The red-hot blue and white now sit just three points out of eighth place in the east after beating Colorado 4-3 in a thriller that literally went down to the wire .
Thanks once again to the simply spectacular goaltending of James Reimer, the Leafs fought off a number of flurries in which the Avs produced numerous chances to even the score.
The third best team since the All Star Break received all of its goals from the top 6 last night in the Mile High city, with former top 5 pick Luke Schenn leading in shots with five, as the young rearguard demonstrates an increasing knack for offense from the back end. His assist on Bozak's tip-in is testament to the fact that his penchant for doing more than laying down in front of pucks and throwing perfectly-timed hits is emerging. Schennis showing an ability to hold on to the puck in pressure situations, and create chances out of seemingly low-percentage situations.
While Coloradado opened the scoring with a short handed goal early in the first, the Leafs refused to underestimate their opponent, and battled hard to notch things up. Which is exactly what Nik Kulemin had in mind by potting his 27th on a Grabovski rebound resulting from a Matt Duchene giveaway at the Leafs blueline. Kulemin added his 28th in the dying seconds of the first with a weird one from a near-impossible angle to give the Buds the lead going into the first intermission.
The real turning point of the period was either the breakaway save by Reimer, or the Mike Komisarek hit on Mark Oliver, which sent the avalanche player to the infirmary with concussion symptoms. While the hit was fairly brutal, it was clean, it wasn't blind side and Komisarek's feet didn't leave the ice. A pure hockey hit, resulting in a fight with callup Cameron Gaunce.
Ryan O'Reilly answered in the second on a goal resulting from good body position in front of the Leafs goal where he bashed in a rebound that Reimer had no chance on.
Joffrey Lupul, the game winner the night previous in Minnesota, threw a great diagonal feed to Phil Kessel, who as able to sneak into enemy lines undetected for a one-timer at the side of the net that went by Brian Elliot before he had a chance to come across.
Great goaltending, a no-quit attitude, and a healthy respect for their opponent equates to a young, spirited team that lives to fight another day....
Detroit is their next opponent, on Saturday night. Anything is possible...