Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Staj(an) is set

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

So what to make of the Leafs win over the Flyers yesterday?

Many members of Leaf Nation, including my man Tilt, much to my chagrin, cringe with each Leafs victory; the thinking is that each victory takes them further away from the lottery draw of the June 08 entry draft, with no real hope of making the playoffs.

Yesterday's game meant much more than 2 lousy points is being viewed as an impossible run at a playoff spot - with Mats Sundin gone midway through the first period, the team could have quit...they had every reason to quit with their leader out. They didn't quit, they fought through the adversity, and had a few guys step up - can they continue to win without Sundin? The answer is no - however, what last night's game did was force some players to prove they are ready to take on expanded roles as this team moves forward.

The star of the game, from my humble viewpoint was Matt Stajan - without a doubt. With Sundin gone, Stajan was forced to take most (if not all) of the big face-offs in the second and especially third periods. Stajan not only won the majority of the big face-offs, he managed to create some offensive chances as the Leafs were pushing for the final goal. Stajan's performance was reminiscent of the playoff performance put in a few years ago by former Leaf C Alyn MacAulay, who stepped up HUGE in the absence of Mats Sundin in a playoff series victory over the SenaTards. Carlo Colaicovo was also very good - he was physical in his own end and composed when he skated the puck out of trouble; by the third period, Bryan McCabe was deferring to CC on rushes out of the Toronto zone.

Jiri Tlusty didn't score, was partly responsible for both Flyers goals - the first was failing to get himself in position to be an outlet pass out of the zone, the second was taking a stupid penalty in the Flyers zone - but the kid responded when Paul Maurice bumped him up to first line duty with Antropov and Ponikarovsky in the third period - flattening Scott Hartnell will endear the kid to Leaf Nation.

The Leafs might not make the playoffs - they can point to at least five games where they gave away points they should have had - but this team isn't nearly as bad as the media and some disgruntled fans would have you believe.

Big game at the Banknorth Garden tonight - the Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning. For the record, I have stated that I think the Bruins are in free-fall mode - so I think they are going down tonight to the Lightning. Mark my words gang - a loss at home tonight to Tampa Bay WILL doom this team for one of the bigger regular season chokes in recent memory. Not surprising to members of Leaf Nation, considering the contingent of former SenaTards that have made their way to Boston and Claude Julien behind the bench.


Toronto Maple Leafs C Matt Stajan stepped up huge last night - while Pavel Kubina scored his second consecutive game winner against the Flyers, the Leafs aren't in the game without Stajan. Goalie Vesa Toskala wasn't overly busy last night - but he came up with some great saves to keep the Flyers at bay.

Your three stars - all Maple Leafs. Yeah, yeah, Ovechkin had two goals...but since we are chasing Washington, he gets no love today.

Another good night, going 2-0 and raising the total for the week up to + $300; let the good times roll as the total for the week goes up and the total for the years starts the climb up to respectability. Tonight's suggestions:

Nashville over Los Angeles - still hating the Kings for blowing it against Vancouver on Monday night. The Predators are scrapping for a spot at the playoffs, so they won't be caught off guard by the Kings. Lay $100 on the Preds - $225.

Calgary over Atlanta - after falling to the Caps last night, the Flames will respond with a win over the Thrashers...count on it. Lay $100 on the Flames - $155.

Colorado over Edmonton - the Oilers have been playing well of late, but they don't have enough to keep up with the Avs who are finally healthy (relatively). Lay $100 on the Avs - $210.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!


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