A Win For the Dads: Leafs 4 Bolts 1

This was the second game of the father son road trip for the Leafs and it could have easily been 6 or 7-1 with all of the chances and breakaways the Leafs had. This was also David Clarkson’s best game as a Leaf in my opinion, and guess who was on his line for this game…that’s right Lupul and Kadri. He had a few great breakaway chances that he couldn’t capitalize on, some nice setups to his line mates, and racked up an assist on, (I’m about to say something very rare) the Jay McClement goal. MccClement doesn’t score often, but when he does, he does it in style, or it’s an empty-netter. He also had an unreal goal against the Habs last season. This game was a great example of what an ideal Leafs team should play like; great goaltending, goals from every full line, and generating enough shots to out-shoot a top team.

 

Things I Noticed…

 

Troy Bodie:

Bodie has been impressive this season with the big club. He lacks a lot of talent that other players have, but makes up for it with his heart and desire to play hard. Bodie is the definition of #FTB (For The Boys). He will do anything it takes to help his teammates be successful. Based on his pre game pump ups from 24/7, he has a positive influence in the locker room and fires up the team before and during games. When Bodie blocks a shot, gets an offensive chance, or gets into a scrap, it fires up the team to do well and try as hard as he does. Even though he has been a bubble player, bouncing back and forth from the Marlies to the Leafs, I think he deserves a roster spot even when injured players return.

Lineup Shakeup:

Randy Carlyle went with three full lines, McClement & McLaren, and three full pairings, with Ranger as the extra d-man. He had the JVR Bozak Kessel line in tact as usual, and had the new 2nd line of Lupul Kadri Clarkson, but took a risk in dressing only three true centers. Kulemin was taking most of the draws for his line of Raymond Kulemin Bodie which is risky. I like this move by Carlyle and staff because I think they finally realized that they shouldn’t be dressing guys like McLaren, Smithson, and Orr once their lineup is healthy. This was a preview of what could happen after the Olympic break, and it will be interesting to see what the lineup looks like Saturday against Vancouver.

Healthy Lineup:

Once the Olympics are over and everyone is healthy on the Leafs, I think the lines will look something like this:

1st Line: JVR Bozak Kessel – Gunnarsson Phaneuf

2nd Line: Lupul Kadri Kulemin – Rielly Gardiner

3rd Line: Raymond Bolland Clarkson – Gleason Franson

4th Line: McClement Holland/Smith Bodie

Leafs management finally looks like they realize that Orr and McLaren have no place on a roster like this because all they do is fight, they can’t play. Unless they really work on their raw skill over the Olympic break, I don’t see them back in the lineup anytime soon.

Next up is Vancouver in Toronto to close out the first half of the season. Hopefully James Reimer starts this last game before the break and JVR, Kessel, and Kulie all stay healthy during the Olympics.

~ Justin

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