leafs feb 9The Toronto Maple Leafs manhandled the Canadiens 6-0 Saturday night in a fight filled game at the Bell Centre.  Leo Komarov, Tyler Bozak, James Van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel scored to give the Leafs a 4-0 lead at the end of the second period.  Korbinian Holzer and Dion Phaneuf added goals in a third period that degenerated into a series of fights.  The Canadiens have lost both home games against Toronto this season.  The season’s  final three games will be played at the Air Canada Centre.

The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 37-27.

The game’s three stars were goaltender James Reimer, Van Riemsdyk and Bozak.

Random Thinking –

Buried Early – Toronto scored what turned out to be the winning goal of the game at the 59 second mark of the first period.  Nikolai Kulemin burst past a sluggish looking Andrei Markov creating a 2-on-1 and then fed the puck across to Leo Komarov who scored on a helpless Carey Price. 

Bad Sign  – In the first three minutes of the game, the Canadiens were guilty of four poor passes that led to turnovers.  It didn’t get any better as the period unfolded.  Toronto had six solid scoring chances and led 2-0 by the mid-point of the first period.  Only Rene Bourque was close to getting a chance in the opening minutes.

Seen Enough – Erik Cole did little to keep himself in game shape during the lockout and it’s showing.  Michel Therrien took him off the Desharnais line.  He spent most of the rest of the game on the third or fourth line.   In the end Cole’s icetime was 11:08.

Nightmare – At no time could Carey Price be faulted for the six goals against.  The first five goals were the result of errors that left the defence outmanned in front of Price.  The sixth goal was a deflected shot on a power play.

Meaningless Statistic – The Canadiens outshot the Leafs 20-8 in the second period but were outscored 2-0.  The lions share of the shots caused goaltender James Reimer little difficulty.  He left few rebounds and in the rare occasion that there was one, the Canadiens net-presence was non-existent.

Gong Show – NHL refereeing has become a farce.  Tim Peel, who was unable to see the goaltender interference in the tieing goal at Buffalo Thursday, was back at it in this game.  Brendan Gallagher was collared by and thrown to the ice midway through the second period.  Peel called Gallagher for “embellishment”.  It did not sit well with the crowd who could see it replayed on the scoreboard.

Tough Guy – .  Brendan Gallagher had six shots on goal and got into a third period fight with Michael Kotska who is four inches taller and outweighs him by 22 pounds.  He was one of the few Canadiens that showed any interest in going to the blue paint.

The Best of a Bad Lot – Outside of Gallagher, Plekanec and Bourque were pretty good.   Max Pacioretty seemed alone on the Desharnais line.  I thought Raphael Diaz played well on defence.

Quote of the Night – “When it’s lopsided the jokers take over”   Carey Price referring to the 94 minutes in total penalties in the third period including six fighting majors.

One for Shanahan – During some mid-third period pushing and shoving the Leafs Mikhail Grabovski bit down on Max Pacioretty’s right wrist.  Referees didn’t see it but replays showed it and Michel Therrien said in his post game interview that the league disciplinarians will be made aware of the situation.

In Addition – The league might take a look at Colton Orr’s kneeing attempt on Tomas Plekanec with five minutes left in the game.  It led to a double minor to Orr and ten minute misconduct and a fighting major to Josh Gorges who moved in after Gionta and Bourque failed to get at Orr.

What it Means – The Canadiens have lost three in a row and are 2-3-1 against Northeast Division opponents.  They play their first back to back road games in Florida Tuesday and Thursday and then come home to face the Flyers next Saturday.