Tonight the Maple Leafs showed the forecheck that made Ron Wilson famous. The first and second periods saw the forwards chasing hard in the opposing corners and finishing checks. The goaltending was passable with a few in-tight saves made by Vesa Toskala near the end of the first period, showing the rest of the Leafs corps that he was in the game and willing to win. As the game went on Toskala slowly lost control of his rebounds and needed to be bailed out by his oft-times maligned defense. Blake's new found lust for the net has waned a bit, but he still wants to throw the puck at it as often as possible.
The main story to me, unlike the fawning broadcast crew, is the schizophrenic play of Mikhail Grabovski. I'm not sure that the management and coaching staff could show much more confidence in this kid. So the proverbial ball is in Grabbo's court. It's finally time to man-up. I do believe I saw several signs of it tonight. Although the play he converted on wasn't as spectacular of the ones he either passed up shooting on or missed the net completely, it does mark a goal for two games straight for the future line-mate of Phil Kessel. Yeah, I said that. When are they going to give Kessel a shot with Grabovski. He's a fantastic area passer and Kessel has shown he can hit the tape of a moving target from 100 feet. I'm not sure I understand how they haven't played together, even on the powerplay, when Blake was on the first line for weeks. Even when it was painfully obvious that the Americans weren't clicking.
Here and There
Kessel had a great game after wetting his pants in Boston
Rickard Wallin returned.......to do absolutely nothing
The Leafs penalty kill came through in the third when it really needed to, although it it was only 1 for 2 on the night
The Leafs could not convert on a 5 on 3, but settled down to eventually score moments after a powerplay late in the third
Showing someone actually cares every game, Hagman blocked a puck point blank at the blueline, 5 on 5, with a 5 - 2 lead
Looking ForwardThe Isles will most certainly play Roloson on Wednesday December 9th. I'm not sure that it will be enough. The Islanders are coming in playing .500 over the last 6 games, only averaging 2 gpg. Her's hoping Vesa can pull off another game before he goes Mr. Hyde again