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05.12.2018 08:46
chance. The goaltender was equally helpless five minutes later when a turnover by teammate Deryk Engelland handed Skinner and L Antworten

TORONTO – What a difference three and a half weeks makes. Reds Billy Hamilton Jersey . At about this point last month the Maple Leafs were embarrassed, disillusioned, and broken after the second serious drubbing in a matter of days. “It can’t get worse than that can it?” Phil Kessel wondered a day after his team was pumped for nine goals at the ACC. Completely unforeseeable then, the Leafs have emerged almost unscathed from that point, now pushing Tampa, Detroit and Montreal for a share of the Atlantic Division lead. They won for the ninth time in 11 games Sunday night (9-1-1) – fifth straight – edging past the defending champs in a shootout on the second end of a back-to-back. “I think we’ve definitely come a long way,” Cody Franson said after the 4-3 win over L.A., the 13th for Toronto in 20 home games. “We’ve paid attention to the details that make us successful and we’re becoming more consistent with it.” They’ve won in all kinds of ways since that low-point, but the Leafs have mostly relied on the league’s hottest offence, solid special teams and, of late, very fine goaltending. It’s not always been pretty or consistent in the manner conducive to long-term success, but this group has managed to stack chips in an unforeseen way since they were booed off the ice in mid-November. On this night Toronto built up a two-goal lead, fell back in a middle frame owned by the Kings, lost control of the lead and then rebounded to win on the strength of a power-play goal and perfect shootout effort by James Reimer. They did this just one night after outplaying the equally hot Red Wings in a game that showcased the kind of structure they’ve strived to play with more consistently. “I think it shows we’re growing as a team,” said Stephane Robidas, credited with 12 hits against the Kings. “We always talk about playing the right way and we want to do it for 60 minutes. And obviously playing two games in two nights you’d need to play the right way, you just can’t show up.” L.A.’s size presented a whole whack of challenges for the Leafs and they dominated the possession battle as such. But the home side stuck with it even after Marian Gaborik pushed the Kings ahead early in the third frame, tying the score on a James van Riemsdyk power-play goal. What’s maybe most impressive about this stretch for the Leafs is how little they’ve really gotten from van Riemsdyk and some of their top players. Power-play theatrics aside, the Leafs top line of Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak has done little in the past month. Not only is the trio not producing offence at even-strength, but they continue to spend shift after shift in the defensive zone. The line held less than 30 per cent possession on Sunday and has been under 40 per cent for the past three-plus weeks. Instead it’s those like Mike Santorelli, Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri who continue to make contributions in their place. That trio not only produced two of the three goals on this night, but held L.A.’s top line of Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown off the board entirely. “I think this is probably the best our team’s been playing,” said Kadri. “These aren’t easy games to come out and play, especially off back-to-backs.” The Leafs have beaten a slew of quality teams during this hot streak, topping the Lightning, Canucks, Wings (three times) and now the Kings. They’ve outscored the opposition 44-25 in that span, the goaltending picking up steam along the way. Reimer, who made 33 saves Sunday, and Jonathan Bernier have combined to post a .957 save percentage in the past five games. “We’d like to keep this ball rolling in our direction and not allow it to go in any other direction,” Carlyle said. Five Points 1. Top Line in Name Only Continuing one of the better all-around stretches of his NHL career, Kadri led Toronto forwards in ice-time Sunday, also out-pacing Bozak in that department for the seventh time in nine games while adding his 10th point in the past 10 games. He and linemates, Winnik and Santorelli, were the Leafs most productive at playing in the offensive zone, thereby forcing the Kings top trio, whom they were matched up with, to defend. “They’re able to play their game and they’re able to create chances and positive possession time and positive zone time,” Carlyle said. “So I think those are the three things that you look at. If you’re playing in the other team’s zone it’s pretty hard for them to score on you.” On the opposite end of that spectrum were Kessel, van Riemsdyk and Bozak. They were the Leafs worst at possessing the puck and have been for the past month. 2. Unsustainable Only Kessel has more points at even-strength among Leafs than Santorelli, who celebrated his 29th birthday with his sixth goal of the year and an assist. Santorelli has an unlikely 18 even-strength points and is on pace for 60 points overall, a mark that would smash the career-high 41 points he managed as a Florida Panther in 2010-11. It’s unlikely though that he continues to produce offence at such a potent rate. The B.C. native entered the game against the Kings with an on-ice shooting percentage (which measures team shooting percentage when a player is on the ice) approaching 13 per cent, an inflated level that’s higher than the career mark of Sidney Crosby. Kadri thrived with such luck during the lockout campaign. He posted 44 points in 48 games on the strength of a league-best on-ice shooting percentage of nearly 15 per cent. That number tumbled to a more reasonable level of nine per cent last year and a dip in production followed; Kadri posted a respectable 50 points, not close though to the near point-per-game mark of that fortunate season. Likely offensive cool-down aside, Santorelli has nonetheless been a valuable find at $1.5 million for the Leafs. He was recently added to both the penalty kill and power-play units. 3. More Santorelli Daniel Winnik offered this assessment on Santorelli. “I think probably the most unique part of his game is his cutbacks,” Winnik said. “I don’t think I’ve played with a guy with quicker turn-backs than him.” That’s an area of the game – quickly changing directions along the boards – Santorelli targets daily after practice and during the offseason. 4. 48 Hours Sunday’s affair against the Kings completed the Leafs seventh back-to-back set of 18 this season. They improved to 5-1-1 in the second game of those sets, an impressive mark. Robidas, on the road to 1,000 NHL games, says two games in 48 hours should be no big deal. “You’ve just got to go out there and play,” he said. “We’ve done it in the past. You play in the minors [and] you play three games in three nights. For me it’s not an excuse.” The early 5 p.m. start time required some adjustments to routines, though, including the always important pre-game nap. “You address your schedule accordingly,” said Winnik beforehand. “Just push everything back two hours pretty much.” 5. Mumps Sidney Crosby’s positive mumps diagnosis dragged the issue into the NHL’s forefront, even pushing Carlyle to get his shot Sunday. “They dragged me in,” he said with a chuckle. “I was the last one. I thought that I had it 58 years ago so I didn’t think I’d need another one, but I guess there’s a new strain out...” Players have been offered the shot and advised to take precaution where possible. Crosby was the 13th NHL player diagnosed with the mumps this season, Rangers centre, Derrick Brassard joining that list later in the day. Stats-Pack 20 – Points combined in the past 10 games for Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli. 12 – Hits credited to Stephane Robidas on Sunday. 7 – Number of times in the past nine games that Kadri has gained more ice-time than Tyler Bozak. 5-1-1 – Leafs record on the second game of back-to-back sets. 6-2-1 – Leafs record vs. the Western Conference. 13-0-0 – Leafs record when scoring first. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-3 Season: 20.7% PK: 2-2 Season: 83.6% Quote of the Night “Looking back at that that was definitely a time of a little bit of soul-searching. We knew that’s not going to be acceptable, especially on home ice. The way we lost that game was very disheartening, but we took it the right way and were able to learn from it and it turned out to be a good thing I guess.” - James van Riemsdyk, on the Leafs response to a 9-2 home loss last month. Up Next The Leafs host the Ducks on Tuesday night. Reds Scooter Gennett Jersey .J. - Trying to learn and absorb the new West Coast offence being installed by new offensive co-ordinator Ben McAdoo, the New York Giants wrapped their final organized team activity Thursday before a three-day mini-camp next week. Reds Austin Brice Jersey . a€“ All signs point to the Maple Leafs having their top offseason acquisition in the lineup on opening night. .com) - P.K. Subbans power-play goal 4:08 into overtime sent the Montreal Canadiens into the All-Star break with a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading to the playoffs for an eighth straight year. Barring an epic collapse, a Metropolitan Division title is all but clinched. What happens after that, however, is anybodys guess. Dominant in the beginning but dismal at the end, the Penguins let a chance to clinch their second straight division crown slip away in a 4-1 loss to Carolina on Tuesday night that left Pittsburgh just 8-8-2 since returning from the Olympic break. Not exactly the kind of momentum a Stanley Cup contender wants to bring into the final days of the regular season. "If youre not 100 per cent, they can expose you and make you look pretty silly," Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik said. "Thats what happened here tonight." Carolina rookie Elias Lindholm scored twice for the first multi-goal game of his career, Eric Staal and Justin Faulk also scored while Jeff Skinner added two assists. Anton Khudobin stopped 30 shots as the Hurricanes avoided being swept in the season series by Pittsburgh for the first time in 18 years. "I thought we kept it simple and kind of slowly frustrated them as it went on and it was a win we needed," Staal said. Chris Kunitz scored his 35th goal to give Pittsburgh an early lead, but the Penguins crumbled over the final two periods. Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to push his NHL-leading point total to 100, but the Penguins appeared to lose interest after failing to bury the Hurricanes during a frenetic opening barrage in which they appeared ready to run Carolina out of the arena. "We all felt like the first 10 minutes we were carrying the play ... for whatever reason we got away from that," Crosby said. "Maybe we thought that came easy or we could get away with cheating. And it didnt work." No, it didnt. Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves, but received little help playing behind a sloppy defence. The Penguins turned it over 13 times, including a series of miscues the Hurricanes were only too happy to turn into goals. "I think we started mismanaging the puck and started having turnovers in the neutral zone," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. The Penguins appeared to right the enigmatic final third of their seeason with a spirited 4-1 victory over Chicago on Sunday night. Reds Jesse Winker Jersey. Two days later, the sense of urgency evaporated when the Hurricanes -- who are about to miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year -- failed to roll over. Pittsburgh recorded 12 of the first 14 shots, including Kunitzs wrist shot from the left circle that Khudobin never saw. Crosby picked up the secondary assist to lift his point total to the century mark for the fifth time in his career, drawing a roar from the usual sellout crowd at Consol Energy Center. It had all the makings of a blowout. One developed, just not the one the Penguins were expecting. Carolina steadied itself late in the first, evening the game on a knuckling slap shot by Faulk that gave the Hurricanes the confidence boost they needed to get back in it. The Penguins malaise did the rest. "That goal from (Faulk) really evens it up and then we kind of just took a deep breath, got our legs going better and then I thought we just started moving better and playing a much smarter game," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. Lindholm put Carolina in front to stay 9:24 into the second with a power-play goal that included a pretty feed from Skinner, who threaded a pass between Pittsburgh defenceman Olli Maattas legs right to Lindholms stick. Fleury never had a chance. The goaltender was equally helpless five minutes later when a turnover by teammate Deryk Engelland handed Skinner and Lindholm a breakaway that Lindholm converted into the first multi-goal game of his brief career. Any late push by the Penguins ended when Staals tip-in eluded Fleury with just over 8 minutes left. Instead of skating off the ice with their fourth division title since Crosbys arrival in 2005, Pittsburgh trudged to the locker room wondering when the consistency that propelled them to the top of the Eastern Conference before the Olympic break will return. "Theres not much good to take out of it," Crosby said. "So weve just got to make sure we respond the next game." NOTES: Carolina played without F Alexander Semin, who was scratched due to an illness. ... The Hurricanes return home to face Dallas on Thursday. ... 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