A disappointing loss for the Blue and White tonight. Another strong effort thwarted by a hot goalie, timely scoring and a more physically effective opponent. And to any loyal Leaf fan, the sting of the “Thank You…” chant from the Bruin faithful after Tyler Seguin’s second career goal. Another largely ineffective effort was turned in by Phil Kessel in Boston – the target of the aforementioned chorus – who looked tentative with the puck, electing for a pass first philosophy in a 2-0 loss.
- The Leafs are no doubt an improved club in 2010/11. The goaltending and defense is holding its own, and sporadic bursts of scoring have been the difference in the Leafs 5 wins this season.
- Jonas Gustavsson has looked strong early on, still prone to positional wandering on occasion, the Monster continues to hone his craft in North America.
- Phil Kessel is on pace for a very nice season scoring wise. It should be noted this is a player who scores in bunches and has been prone to stretches of ineffectiveness in the goal scoring department, a 40 plus marker season is certainly within reach. Kessel has looked stronger, more fit and able to translate this into prolonged bursts and dazzling displays of speed on a nightly basis so far this season.
- Tomas Kaberle has looked good alongside a vastly improved Luke Schenn, and the pairing is logging big minutes in key situations this year. Schenn’s poise with the puck and physical dominance are among the most impressive aspects of his game versus a season ago.
- What to do about centre? Tyler Bozak and Mikail Grabovski have combined for 1 goal on the season. Certainly not the production necessary for a team that hopes to play meaningful games late in the season.
- Physical play. The forward group is on the smaller side of large, and can be physically intimidated by a more physical opponent; case in point, tonights loss to the Bruins. Luca Caputi was impressive in his first game since being recalled from the Marlies, and the player that I believed deserved a roster spot over John Mitchell coming out of training camp was rewarded for his effort by head coach Ron Wilson, earning a tap during the empty net play late in the 3rd.
- Mike Komisarek. Are the Leafs easing him back into play or is Big Mike just not up to the challenge right now. It seems like an awful lot of money to be tied up in an already deep blueline, especially when playing in the 13:00 mpg range. Komisarek – when on the ice tonight – played a physical game, and I especially enjoyed his exchange with Bruin tough guy Shawn Thornton.
- 5-3-1 after nine; if not for a 4-0 start, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of complaining in Leaf Nation when you consider the terrible 29th place finish of a year ago, not even mentioning the horrific start to last season.
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