Randy Carlyle

Leafs coach liked what he saw in the second period against the Bruins

There seems to be a contingent of Maple Leafs fans that get its hackles up whenever the fact is raised that Toronto gets outshot in almost every single game it plays.

This is understandable, given the Leafs are 11-6-0 and tied for second in the Eastern Conference. Hockey games are won by scoring the most goals, not by getting the most shots.

But shot totals are often a reflection of how much a team has the puck. After all, you can’t shoot the puck unless you possess it first.

Also, puck possession is something that Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has said he wants more of. So if it’s important to the coach, it’s probably worth mentioning.

Specifically, Carlyle would love his team to have the kind of possession it enjoyed during the second period of Saturday’s game in Boston when the Leafs outshot the Bruins, 18-10, and outscored them, 1-0.

“I think every coach would like their team to play that way,” Carlyle said, per the Globe and Mail. “That’s more the type of hockey that we’re going to ask the hockey club to play. A little bit more of a cycle game, a little bit more of a puck-possession game, you know, instead of the up and down, trading chances.”

Writes the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle:

The analysis of the Leafs’ shots-on-goal problems has been beaten to death over the past 10 months, but the real issue in the long term is one of zone time, not simply putting meaningless rubber on goal.

By any measure, Toronto spends a disproportionate amount of time in its own end, with new statistics estimating their offensive versus defensive zone time at 41.4 per cent, the second-worst rating in the league.

At the end of the day, there’s no right way to win hockey games. The Leafs have overcome their lack of puck possession with great goaltending, good special teams, and a high shooting percentage. For the team’s fans, it must be frustrating for critics to keep saying the collapse is coming. But it’s not personal; it’s mostly just an interesting narrative, particularly for those who are interested in hockey’s so-called advanced statistics.

By the way, Toronto is in Minnesota on Wednesday to play a Wild team whose possession stats have improved dramatically this season.

The Leafs have lost two of their last three, including Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to the B’s.

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    In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)

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    Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

    Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

    Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

    The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

    Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…

    Two-for-two: Another successful coach’s challenge as Sens reverse Kane’s goal

    Dave Cameron
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    Coaches are quickly getting the hang of this challenge thing.

    Following Mike Babcock’s successful challenge in Toronto’s opening-night loss to Montreal on Wednesday, Babcock’s provincial rival — Sens head coach Dave Cameron — got it right as well, successfully reversing Evander Kane‘s would-be equalizer in the third period.

    From the league:

    At 10:34 of the third period in the Senators/Sabres game, Ottawa requested a Coach’s Challenge to review whether Buffalo was off-side prior to Evander Kane’s goal.

    After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Linesman determined that Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons was off-side prior to the goal. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Linesman, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that one or more Players on the attacking team preceded the puck into the attacking zone prior to the goal being scored and that, as a result, the play should have been stopped for an “Off-side” infraction; where this standard is met, the goal will be disallowed.”

    Therefore the original call is overturned – no goal Buffalo Sabres.

    The clock is re-set to show 9:32 (10:28 elapsed time), when the off-side infraction occurred.

    As the league later noted, this was the first coach’s challenge under the offside scenario.