Leafs shutout Predators for third road win of the season.
Although neither team got the start they wanted, it looked like it could be anybody’s game throughout the first half of the Leafs’ match up against the Predators on Thursday night. Both teams were trading chances in the first period and each had their turn to capitalize on the powerplay, but couldn’t seem to gain any momentum.
After their first loss of the season to Colorado on Tuesday, the Leafs were anxious to redeem themselves and would finally get on the board midway through the second period with a goal by Phil Kessel. But Nashville kept the pressure on through the rest of the second and had several chances to tie the game. With just nine seconds left in the second period, James van Riemsdyk scored on the wrap-around, giving the Leafs an assurance goal and a 2-0 lead.
As the third period began, the Predators weren’t bowing out of the game yet, and almost got within one on a shot by Eric Nystrom. But Bernier’s huge save proved that he would be the difference in the game and he would eventually get the shut out.
With less than 10 minutes left in the third period, Cody Franson took a hit from Mike Fisher, which sent him face first into the stanchion. It was a scary moment as a pool of blood formed under Franson and he was assisted off the ice. Fisher was given a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct. The Leafs were able to take advantage of the powerplay twice with a goal by Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul.
With a strong outing from Jonathan Bernier who was a large part of the Leafs win, it was clear that many were ready to start speculating as to whether he would be named the number one goalie. But Randy Carlyle was quick to quiet any rumours in his post-game scrum that a starting goaltender had already been chosen and said that it was far too early in the season to decide.
After having a 4 goal win in a game against the Predators, a team that they hadn’t beaten since November 16th, 2010, the Leafs will hope that their home record can match the success they have had on the road as their next three games are against teams they haven’t met in over a year and will all be played at the ACC.
Leafs scorers: Phil Kessel (2), James van Riemsdyk (3), Tyler Bozak (2), Joffrey Lupul (3)
Goaltenders: Bernier (Win), 60:00 minutes played, 36 saves, O GA, Rinne (Loss), 60:00 minutes played, 22 saves, 4 GA
Guest writer Pamela Yap is a Sheridan College post-grad in Journalism New Media and wrote for CBC during the 2012 London Olympics.
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