The first goal was a bit of a defensive breakdown - Dion drops in to the corner (exactly as last recap's Phaneuf troll wanted), JVR doesn't pick up the man in the slot, and the best player in the world can get the puck where he wants it - in this case, on Dupuis' stick as he's right at the back door. On the second goal, Dupuis finds a no-mans land between JVR's coasting backcheck and Holzer-Phaneuf puck watching with the best seats in the house. Grabovski was matched up against Neal and Sutter, while the top line of JVR, Bozak, and Kessel were playing aginst Crosby - Grabbo even ended up with more OZone starts than DZone. With softer competition, Grabbo looked like a threat. JVR's name pops up twice in the goals against, but I think the fault was more on the defensemen in each goal - it would've been a low pickup for JVR on the first goal, and the d-men were just covering open space on the second. JVR did have a good night generating offense, but Carlyle had them matched up against an incredibly talented player and they got burned twice. Quality of competition and zone starts matter - they're numbers in the aggregate, but tonight's game is a good example of what those numbers represent. Orr and McLaren played 2 minutes TOI, and it was great. I mean, it had the Leafs playing just three lines, but Bylsma and the Pens would've slaughtered those two if they'd taken a d-zone shift. Why are they on the roster again? The team looked good with a defenseman that was capable of moving the puck. Liles was on ice for a team-leading 13 shots for. Liles played like a man who really, really hates the press box - scratching him for 12 games almost makes you think that maybe Carlyle's personnel decisions on defense haven't been the greatest. huh.
Leafs Look Good in 3-1 Loss to Penguins
Pension Plan Puppets | Mar 15