In a coming week when their West Coast body clocks will be severely tested by time change, at least the Maple Leafs know their Bodie clock is working fine. Badly needed secondary scoring, especially with a post-Olympic penchant for blowing third-period leads, appeared in some unusual forms in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Troy Bodie, who has been taking a larger role as a big shouldered forechecker, produced two assists, including one on the goal that should have given Toronto a regulation victory with 6:26 to play. Braydon Coburn tied it with the finish line in sight, but with Phil Kessel’s trio silenced, the winner came from second tier left winger Joffrey Lupul, who now has three points in five games post-Sochi. His centre Nazem Kadri has now scored in back-to-back contests for the first time since late October and there were points from four of the seven defencemen coach Randy Carlyle used once again. Bodie’s two-point game was a first this year, as Carlyle patched together third and fourth lines after losing David Clarkson earlier in the day. Much of the attention paid to Bodie after signing a two-way deal in the summer was because he’d just become Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Tim Leiweke’s son-in-law. But the Manitoba native earns his keep in the dirty areas and now is getting some reward on the board. “Get in on the forecheck, muck it around and let the chips fall where they may,” said Bodie, a 6-foot-5 right winger who has had two stints with the Marlies and two stretches in the press box. “Tonight was an opportunity with Clarkson out and sometimes this game is all about opportunity. You just try and do something with it.” He kept a puck alive for Jake Gardiner’s goal on his first shift of the game, disrupting the Flyers and goalie Steve Mason on a charge towards the net. After Kimmo Timonen’s second of the night early in the third marked the fourth time the past five games Toronto gave up a lead, Bodie was back in Mason’s kitchen. After Mason Raymond’s bad angle shot plopped behind Mason, but not over the line, Bodie’s presence of mind to keep digging at the disc caused the goalie to knock it the rest of the way. “We got mileage from Bodie, Jay McClement, Peter Holland,” Carlyle said. “We need contributions from different sources as we go deeper into this season. Troy is very noticeable, a big, hard-working honest player.” Carlyle was once again torn between scolding his team for letting up in the third and praising them for pulling two points out of the fire. “We just flattened right out, but we did get our game back, creating offensive zone time on the forecheck. We found a way to sneak a big play in overtime and Jonathan Bernier made some big stops.” The Leafs will fly out on Sunday for three games in California and two in Washington and Detroit on the way home. Carlyle circled this trip way back in October as being a measuring stick for his club. The Ducks, Sharks and Kings occupy three of the top six positions in the Western Conference, all three have hulking lineups and all are anxious to face the Leafs at home after a long absence caused by the lockout. “We don’t probably have as much rest as we’d like,” said Lupul, noting Anaheim and San Jose are on consecutive nights to open the trip. “We’re going to play some really tough teams, defensively. We have to be ready.” If he and Kadri can get in a groove again, with Nikolai Kulemin handling the corners and watching the back door, Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk won’t have all the responsibilty on them. “As good as our first line has been, that would be asking a lot of them to sustain the pace they’ve had the past 15 games,” Lupul noted. The win, in which Toronto out-shot the visitors 36-31, allowed the Leafs to gain a point on Philly and put some pressure on the Canadiens prior to their late game in San Jose.
Maple Leafs beat Flyers in overtime
Toronto Sun | Mar 9