Sorry for the lack of a thorough post game report. I'll try and get them up regularly but we ain't a daily here! At a minimum, we'll get out some basic thoughts to get the discussion going. Best case scenario, we have a nice post game report format that highlights some of the finer points of each game.
Let's get into it:
1. I stand by my comments from Saturday night - Pascal Leclaire played incredible. I was disappointed and pissed off, but not surprised that the good folks at the Ottawa Sun said he didn't have as good a game as he would have liked. Is that because they beat him four times? Tell me which one of those goals he should have saved? If anything, we should be talking about the brutal defensive breakdowns that led to the odd-man rushes, the breakaways, and the blatant screen shot (c'mon Volchenkov, move a body). Leclaire kept us in the game fighting off three straight powerplays in the first and was a truly calming influence throughout the 58:30 he was out there. If Pascal can play like that all year, we're a playoff team. Moral of this story - I was thrilled with his performance and can't wait til Tuesday night in the big smoke.
2. The kid will make a few blunders. Understanding that he's 19 years old, we're just going to have to take the good with the not so good. The Dubinsky goal was a result of Karlsson over-committing on a pass and then not being able to get back in the play. Chalk it up to experience as he's smart enough not to make that play again. That being said, it is his aggressiveness and his offensive instinct that we lack back there, so let's just hope that the coaching staff knows how to advise him on the defensive side without stunting the offensive side.
3. As Duthie said, we'll love and hate Kovalev back and fourth throughout the year. Given his invisibility Saturday night (and yes, he wasn't the only one that had a soft game), he's not off to a great start. Again, it is one game and we won't pass judgment on any of the weaker efforts just yet, but I really would like to see AK27 light it up tomorrow night.
4. Michalek busting out on the breakaway (and getting stoned by King Hank) was unreal. Imagine if he's good for one of those a week? Once he finds chemistry and finish with Spezza, he's a 35-goal scorer with that speed.
5. My final thought - let's not get ahead of ourselves or too down on ourselves. As I said before camp, this is a team that is going to fight until the 82nd game for a playoff spot. For those of you that think we're competing for the NE division or for home ice advantage has set themselves up for a major letdown. Our defence isn't good enough. And for those that want to throw themselves into the Eternal Flame over the loss, chillax (do the kids still say that?). It was one game. The Wings are 0-2, the Canucks are 0-2, etc. You can't really judge your team's strengths and weaknesses until the 20-25 game point. That gives you enough time to adequately assess where we're headed and enough time to make adjustments. So while I'll join the fans in the highs and lows of each 60 minute game between now and then, I'll keep my emotions on the season in check until we hit that 25 game mark.
In the meantime - wouldn't it just feel great to spot a win tomorrow night AND remind the Leafs that they gave Boston a top ten pick for Kessel?
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