A Wild And Crazy Ride
When I last posted the Leafs had just won their first game in a run of five straight road games with a solid performance against the Carolina Hurricanes. Since then the Leafs have returned home the proud owners of a 4-1 record on their travels. The key to their success was the continued great goaltending of Andrew Raycroft (he won the Battle of Ontario 'Name' Game) and a new dedication to discipline. It is no surprise that in their four wins the Leafs gave up four, two, three, and three powerplays while giving up eleven powerplays in their only loss.
While getting ready for tonight's rematch with the rampant Penguins let's take a stroll down memory lane and check out just how the Leafs vaulted themselves back into playoff contention.
Leafs 2 v. Rangers 1: Razor Sharp
Leafs 3 v. sens 2 (SO): 'Name' Game
This game pitted Razor against his jumped-up opposition Ray Emery for the right to the sharp nickname. Both goalies had outstanding games but in the end the Leafs' tender emerged victorious thanks to his brilliant performance in the shootout. Leafs Nation invaded the Bank (including yours truly) and proceeded to outcheer and outjeer the hometown's fans as they shrank back in the face of our deafening roar. O'Neill and Sundin gave the Leafs a 2-0 lead heading into the third but the Leafs wanted to provide some drama. They allowed the sens to send the game to a shootout befor John Pohl beat the goalie formerly known as Razor with a nice backhand.
By all accounts the Leafs won this game with solid defence, clutch goaltending, and just enough offence. This gave the Leafs a chance to clinch their first 5-0 road trip in franchise history. It was not to be but this 4th straight road win and 5th straight overall put the Leafs not only within two points of 8th place but within striking distance of 4th in the Eastern Conference.Leafs 2 v. Predators 4: Missed Opportunity
The Leafs missed a great chance to topple one of the West's top teams as a lack of discipline and shoddy refereeing torpedoed their chances at victory. The Predators are faster than greased lightning but the Leafs were generally able to hold their own. The line of The Soviet Bloc and the Captain were dominant. They held onto the puck at will and only some timely pokechecks, saves, and blocked shots kept them from putting up more than one goal.