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Leafs win and Vintage Leaf needs the replay...

This will be brief:  a long-standing commitment meant I was not able to see a single moment of Game 5 in Boston on Friday night.  The Leafs won, as everyone knows by know, to ensure there will indeed be a Game 6 at the ACC Sunday night.

I did not predict it, but I did allude to a gut instinct that this would happen. 

It did.

But since I saw nothing of it (not even a "replay" as I post this), I will rely on my friends here, the thoughtful regular VLM readers, to fill me in on an encouraging moment (pivotal?) in recent Leaf history:  a second playoff win on the road against the experienced Boston side, and a win in an elimination game.

Tell me what you saw….


  1. I am extremely superstitious, Michael, so my first instinct is to lock you in a steamer trunk for game 6...;) but for the first half of the game the Leafs picked up where they left off, outshooting the Bruins by far, but Rask stood on his head. If JFJ was anywhere within 6 miles of my house his ears would have been on fire with the vitriol I was spewing. I was waiting for the inevitable goal by Boston when Bozak did that 'thing that Bozak does' and got us a shorthanded breakaway goal...and I don't really remember much after that because all of a sudden I was emotionally invested in this team again after being utterly drained of my Leaf related passion(so I thought) on Wednesday night. Others will have to fill in the finer points of Macarthur's goal and the rest of the night, but to me the overwhelming impression is that for the first time in this series, Reimer stepped up and outperformed Rask, who himself was stellar tonight.

  2. Ah, a steamer trunk!

    Thanks for the recap, Sean. Others can fill in some of the blanks. Good to hear Bozak scored a shortie and Reimer was what he can be. Good stuff.

  3. I only recently discovered that you can watch replays of entire games. Here is the link for tonight so you can watch it in all its glory:

    What did I see?

    The Leafs dominated early, playing a very patient game and Reimer stole a game when the Bruins woke up in the third period.

    The Leafs looked nervous in the third period and would not ice the puck and it cost a shutout.

    The key moment?

    Reimer's toe save on Bergeron.

  4. I agree about Reimer. While I thought Reimer has been fine all series tonight he went to a different level. I honestly thought the young inexperienced Leafs were going to be beat tonight but they were very good. These guys are growing by leaps and bounds every single game. They just look like a completely different team from the end of the year. Boston really has no answer for all the speed TO has. Sunday is going to be outstanding. My poor mom and wife might not be getting my full attention at our Mother's day get together. Full credit to the boys for a stellar win. To me the Leafs have been the equal or better than the Bruins for all of the last three games. The agony of the playoffs if only Frattin's shot had been 2 inches to the left.

    Sorry about the rambling nature of the post but my brother and I as well as a few Leafs fans watched the game at our local pub. They won, we celebrated. Work is goig to suck tomorrow.

    1. But the Leaf victory should ease the pain at work tomorrow, Willbur! Thanks for the report- and you know we've talked here often about how fans sometimes judge things (and players as "winners") can indeed be a question of an inch here or there- not talent or determination. The Frattin goal post in overtime in Game 4 is but one fleeting (and often forgotten) example.

      On to Game 6....

  5. Thanks for the link- and the game recap, DP. The toe save sounds like a beauty!

  6. "The toe save sounds like a beauty!"

    See it for yourself:

    One of the best Leaf pictures that I can remember.

    I wouldn't mind that in HQ

  7. kulemin was very physical (taking on the role of a pest!). bozak short-handed (deflating the egos of the bruins team/bench). reimer though, was unreal... transitioning from 'young goalie with talent,' to 'master netminder.'

    1. Thanks for that Doctor Alex! Just got up after a long day (and night). Good to hear about Kuli, Bozak and, of course, our man in goal. Thanks again.

  8. Last night was quite the white knuckle ride. If you have nothing but the box score, that alone can tell a story with the shots for and against in the first and third periods.

    Having seen the game myself, I was happy with the puck movement all over the ice, lots of great skating and passing. Grabovski was a man on a mission, recklessly throwing himself all over. Too bad he continues to be snakebit. Frattin was a good physical presence, Lupul appears to be the forward the Bruins fear the most.

    Defensively, I have to give props to Gardiner for his PHYSICAL play finally. Franson was solid throughout as well, and I was happy to see Liles back in the lineup too, even if at the cost of Fraser's injury.

    I'm even happy to report that the linesmen dropped the puck efficiently. Eve Don Cherry brought that up in last night's tirade. In the end, Reimer outdueled Rask. Rask was generally solid and kept it scoreless for a long time, but he was made to look real bad by MacArthur on his goal.

    Moving forward, if the Leafs are to continue to stay alive, they need to keep winning puck battles in their own zone like the first two periods (and as they did in game two). Lets hope they come home with the same fire they started with last night. I am becoming convinced they are the more skilled team in this series, albeit less experienced.

    1. I like to hear that about Gardiner, Pete. We all know about his immense talent. It's the other stuff, physicality, play in and around his own net, etc. that we also know he needs to keep getting better at. Once he has that going for him too, his upside is significant.

      Franson, for his imperfections, has given us a lot this season. Do you ever wonder how many goals Grabbo might manage if could could get just one these days?

      Thanks Pete! It's hard to assess something when you did not even see the game, so I appreciate everyone bailing me out today.

  9. Michael
    One of the more exciting plays did not actually result in a goal. Grabovski had the puck behind the Bruin's net. He was all alone and not challenged. He darted from side to side trying to find someone in front to pass to.
    Seeing nothing, he decided to put the puck on the toe of his stick and flip it directly over the top of the net. As it was in the air, he darted around to the front, past the Bruin's defenceman, and batted the puck out of the air toward the net and right into Rask's glove. It wouldn't have counted if it had gone in as his stick was above the crossbar when he hit the puck but it sure electrified the crowd.
    I'm sure you will find it on a highlight reel show.
    Leafs played a very strong game in the first two periods but the third was a cliffhanger for sure. Grabovski was most impressive all night as a whirling dervish all over the ice and often flying past the Bruins like they were standing still.
    I thought all the Leafs made a gritty effort and they definitely showed they can beat the Bruins with speed. It will make an interesting finish to the series if they can keep up the pace for full games as they continued to make the Boston team look very beatable when they were flying.

    1. Skill, grit and speed- sounds like the game Carlyle wants these guys to play, Ed. Along with the play you mention and DP's 'toe save' recommendation above, I have some fun highlights to check out. Thanks for helping me out, Ed. Always good to hear from you, another old-time Leafer (and Windsor-area guy!).

  10. The Leafs had it all over the Bruins in the first period - 19-8 shot differential! Second period was a little more even, but the Leafs got a shorty on a breakaway from Bozak of all guys. Third period, the ice, as they say, was tilted towards the Leafs end. Despite a 2nd goal by MacArthur, they started to panick as soon as the Bruins started putting on the pressure. And it was a LOT of pressure.
    Reimer faced more rubber of quality in that third period than the entire 40 minutes prior and was up to the task with the exception of the one goal that everyone on the planet could see coming. The Buds couldn't get the puck out despite many chances and tripped over their own feet, gave the puck away or just couldn't get to it. Bam! And the Bruins really overpressured.
    Reimer was the sole reason we won after that third period and his save on Patrice Bergeron coupled with the save on Jaromir Jagr were the two best. If you haven't seen them yet - they're all over the net. Reims stole that game, something we haven't seen in quite some time from a Leaf goalie in a game of consequence (in the playoffs, no less).
    Watch it over and over again - it will make your blue & white heart sing!

  11. That's a great summary, sprtysmrf - I will be reviewing the key moments. From what everyone has described here yes, it sounds as though we were hemmed in throughout the third period. But hearing that Reimer, much like Game 2 and a couple of late-season games, "stole" one for us is the best tonic possible, in a lot of ways. Thanks for chiming in!

  12. I almost forgot about the Delay of game penalty to Bozak with 3:30 to go in the third. I was dead certain Boston would tie it up...but the hockey gods smiled on us.