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Messages - Chris

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1
Man, if Matthews didn’t hurt his wrist, he might be pushing 50 goals already.

He's gonna do 50 in 50 one of these years if he stays healthy.

2
Kerfoot literally right tackled to the ice. Nothing.

Muzzin called for…. That?
It's sad really. Call it both ways..

The reffing has been something else. I mean, sure Muzzin interfered a bit with the guy, but (1) that kind of minimal interference is going on all the time and (2) it didn't appear to impact the play. Leafs had someone back to pick up the puck.

3
Tavares line in trouble again in their own end. This has been turning into a habit lately.

Yes...are they out there with Rielly most of the time? Certainly were that shift.

4
Matthews has the midas touch, geez.

5
Leafs looking off thus far.  Passes aren't tape to tape or crisp enough.
Yeah, they look slow or lethargic or maybe a bit disinterested so far.

6
Outside of their 2 mini (mostly goaltending/regression-driven) slumps, the Leafs have only lost 4 games in regulations and only 7 overall.

That's quite impressive. When the Leafs get reasonable goaltending or don't face a goaltender playing at their absolute best, they're a pretty elite squad.

Agreed. If they get their injured back (especially Hyman), get reasonable goaltending from someone, and can avoid any other injuries before the playoffs, they actually look like a team that is a serious contender. It's hard to know how they'll match up against a team like Vegas since they haven't played, but I suppose Vegas could say the same about the Leafs.

There is a nucleus of "grit" (for lack of a better term) now that hasn't existed before. Muzzin, Bogosian, Simmonds, Foligno, Thornton in particular. This could well be Thornton's last crack at the Cup so I expect he'll be especially motivated and I think we've started to see that over the past 3 games or so.

Still prone to the odd defensive breakdown but the team has shown that they are more committed to playing in the defensive zone and are mostly doing it better than in previous years. Can't wait for the playoffs to start.

7
This game lacks definition, the run of play never really got going in one direction or the other.  Have to like a 4-1 lead given that.

Tough game to get a read on. Leafs get the early 2 goal lead, then I think the Canadiens probably were a bit more desperate and aggressive and generally tended to outplay the Leafs, but not by a lot. Certainly they had some really good chances and Campbell stoned them. Good win overall. Some positive signs for the PP once set up but man, they need to figure out how to get to that point!

8
That wasnt a good goal.

Meh... the leafs deserved that the way they’ve been playing. Maybe that’ll wake them up.
He still needs to stop those shots whether deserved or not. Let's hope that's it for the Habs.

I don't know...partly or totally screened and shot is up high and in off the post. How many of those does a typical goalie stop?

When Matthews scores one like that it's a great shot. Same here. I put more of the blame on Holl and maybe even Nylander for giving up too much space.

9
At least it wasn't Caufield.

10
Campbell making some terrific saves this game.

11
Matthews is freaking amazing.

12
Nice missed call loserrefs.
Total crap. Missed the crosscheck

How do they miss that one, happened right where the puck was.

13
Hey, now that's how to start a game!

14
Robertson needs to fix his skating posture; like, I don't want him to die because his head is at hip height the whole game. Just watch videos of Nylander: not the biggest, not the fastest, not the strongest, but applies the speed and strength he has in the right moments.

That and maybe some more awareness of when he is in dangerous situations near the boards. There have been a number of times when I've cringed seeing Robertson "almost" get destroyed. All it will take is once.

Kerfoot is another one who maybe should be more careful, I don't think his skating style is an issue but man, he takes a lot of punishment and some big hits along the boards. Yet he gets up and keeps going (so far).

15
There's still 3.5 weeks left in the season so that's a lot of time for things to change depending on who's hot or not or who's healthy or not, but I think it's starting to look like there might be a world where Galchenyuk it the one who sees himself in the press box for game 1 of the playoffs. I still like Gally and would definitely be interested in bringing him back on another fair contract next season but I think he's the most expendable roster piece once everyone is healthy.

I don't want to draw too many conclusions from these past two games, but I think Thornton and Simmonds went a long way to pretty much locking up line-up spots for game 1 of the playoffs. Even if their play dips a little bit in the coming weeks they'll be seen as guys who can turn on that playoff mentality once the games matter. I still think Nash is going to be in the line-up for similar reasons, and hopefully he's able to recover from his injury in time to get in a few playoff games so the team gets a better look at him. Nash would bump Kerfoot out of the 3C spot allowing the team to move him to the wing on the second line where he's arguably played his best hockey with the team.

Foligno-Matthews-Marner
Kerfoot-Tavares-Nylander
Mikheyev-Nash-Hyman
Thornton-Spezza-Simmonds

That seems reasonable overall and I would also be interested in Galchenyuk coming back next year on a cheap contract. He has meshed will with Tavares and Nylander but really hasn't contributed much on the scoreboard, doesn't PK and has exhibited some defensive/mental lapses. I do like that he plays with a bit of an edge.

The one concern I have with your lineup is Foligno on the top line. Maybe with time he'll get up to speed but in the first 2 games he appeared to be a bit of a drag on Matthews and Marner, kind of how Thornton was for large parts of the season or how Hyman was in his first couple of years (* see below). Plays seemed to be dying when the puck wound up on his stick. As I said, maybe as he gets familiar with M&M that will improve but I'm not sure he can play at their speed. Hyman can, so maybe Foligno would be a better fit on a real checking 3rd line. I don't know but it's a nice problem to have.

(*) Hyman of course always had the speed to be disruptive and recover pucks, but often when the puck wound up on his stick in open ice he would fumble it away. The transformation in his game in that respect has been amazing to watch.

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