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on the ground. Michael Gordon

 
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Nov - 07:21 (2017)    Post subject: on the ground. Michael Gordon Reply with quote

MONTREAL – One by one did they file off the ice at the Bell Centre as Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens celebrated victory just steps away from the since-vacated crease of Jonathan Bernier. The good saw the Maple Leafs pick up at least a point for the 14th time in the past 16 games (11-2-3), the bad saw opportunity to draw even with a division rival foiled on yet another blown third period lead. Rather than depart the grand old city of Montreal with a share of second place in the Atlantic division, Toronto heads home three points back of their Original-Six rival with an eye on what went well and what mightve been. "Were disappointed to not get the other one," said Dion Phaneuf of the point lost in overtime. "But we did a lot of good things." The effort was vastly improved from a post-Olympic dud in Long Island two nights earlier, one that saw them dribble away a pair of third period leads before falling in the extra frame to a struggling Islanders squad. It didnt start well. Montreal scored twice on this night before the Leafs had even managed a shot on goal in what was a sluggish opening frame for both teams. But from there, the visitors gradually wrestled some control of the hockey game, scoring three unanswered, all from the scorching duo of James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel. Kessel broke a 2-2 tie with his 33rd of the year – the second of two in a span of just over two minutes – dancing around Pacioretty just outside the Montreal blue-line before beating Peter Budaj with a laser far-side. "We came back from it," said head coach Randy Carlyle of the early deficit. "We found ways to create offence and I thought we had a majority of the puck time probably from the second period on so there were a lot of positives in the game." Just as they failed to do against the Islanders, the Leafs could not hold a third period lead, this one of increased importance opposite a foe just steps ahead in the playoff race. Tim Gleason took the first of three consecutive (and certainly contested) Toronto penalties, whistled for interference on Brian Gionta along the wall in the defensive zone. The maneuver (one that drew ire from Carlyle) proved costly as P.K. Subban fired a one-time blast short-side beyond Bernier, evening the score at three. "We had a one-goal lead and we took three straight penalties," said Carlyle afterward. "Now we can challenge the validity of the penalties one way or another, but we took three straight penalties." The last of which was just as unlikely as the two that preceded it. Racing out of his crease to protect a puck that was up for grabs, Bernier was dealt a delay of game offence, the second of two such penalties for the Leafs in overtime. After wiping out the first to Kessel, the Toronto penalty kill could not ultimately hold the fort, surrendering a second power-play goal to the Canadiens. Subban loaded up in this instance for another one-time blast, only his stick shattered, the puck squirting to Andrei Markov and eventually Pacioretty in the slot for the overtime winner. It was the summation of a brief, two-game road trip that could have and (probably should have considering the circumstance) yielded a full four points, valuable points lost in an ever-tightening playoff race. And so while they could point to the good of the evening, there was certainly an undercurrent of what was actually lost and that was an opportunity to catch the Habs. "We turned the tide of the hockey game in our favour for the majority of it and were going to take the positives out of it and move on," said Carlyle. "Were .500 on the road (trip) which in this situation isnt great – wed like to have won both hockey games in our minds, but this is the way it goes." Five Points 1. Dynamic Duo They sizzled before the Olympics, during the Olympics and now after the Olympics. Kessel, who had a goal and an assist for the third straight game, continues to boil at a heat hes never before attained in the NHL. The 26-year-old now has 13 goals and 31 points in the past 17 games and 17 points in the past nine games alone. "Ive said it for quite a few years now that Ive played with him, I think hes one of the top players in the National Hockey League," said Phaneuf. "Hes proving it year and year again that hes extremely skilled (and) he can put the puck in the net with the best of the goal-scorers in the NHL. I think that hes having a tremendous year and hes a huge part of our team and why weve had success." Tied for the Olympic lead in scoring and now with 69 points this season, Kessel is alone in second place to Sidney Crosby in the scoring race. He is four goals from matching a soon-to-be broken career-high of 37. James van Riemsdyk meanwhile continues to fly himself. The 24-year-old, who matched a career-high with three assists in Long Island and finished third in Olympic scoring, scored twice against Montreal. His first of the night and second shorthanded marker this season was a thing of beauty. Racing past Subban on a failed Markov feed, he burst in alone on Budaj, tucking a nifty backhand through the five-hole. "At first I wasnt even sure if I was going to even go for it, but I realized that they looked pretty tired and just kind of took off and went from there," he said. Totaling 52 points on the year, van Riemsdyk is up to 24th in the scoring race. 2. Officiating Concerns Carlyle didnt hide his displeasure with the officials after the Pacioretty goal, barking at them as he left the ice in defeat. What stuck most in his craw was the call on Gleason which preceded Subbans game-tying goal. The 31-year-old Gleason stepped in the way of Gionta just ahead of the puck and was hauled off for it. "I was under the impression that if it was one one-thousand you could take the players body if the player tries to make a play on it," Carlyle said. "I just said how do you call that in a 3-2 game and I figured I really didnt even hit him, I just kind of one-armed (him)," said Gleason of his conversation with the officials afterward, not having seen the replay himself. Further concerns were raised when Kessel was called for delay of game in the final moments of regulation. He attempted to ring a puck off the glass – and did in the minds of his teammates – but was called for the penalty anyway. "Maybe youd like to see that video review for that because you cant get that wrong at that time of the game," said van Riemsdyk. "Its definitely a tough one. Couple other ones that were a little debatable." The last in dispute saw Bernier jump out of his crease in overtime, snatching hold of a loose puck from Daniel Briere and freezing play. "I havent been called for that ever I guess," said the 25-year-old. "I dont even know whats the rule, how far you can actually get it and freeze it." The rule in this case is clear (63.2). "If the goalkeeper races out of his crease in an attempt to beat the attacking player to the puck and instead of playing the puck jumps on the puck causing a stoppage of play, this shall be a minor penalty for delay of game." 3. Slight Dip Jonathan Bernier entered the Olympic break on a roll, winning five of his last six starts while stopping 105 of the final 109 shots he faced. But in two starts post-Olympics he has looked rather ordinary, yielding five goals to the Islanders on Thursday (without much help) and four more to his hometown Canadiens on Saturday. "I thought it was actually a tough game for me," he said of a rare night with fewer than 30 shots against, Montreal mustering just 29. "They had a lot of bodies in front of me. They were hitting me quite a bit. It was a tough game. And thats one thing that when youre away from the game thats the hard part for a goalie is to find that seam and find that puck through traffic." Never in his NHL career has Bernier played as much as he has this season for the Leafs, starting his 40th game on Saturday. His performance as the no. 1 down the stretch under such strain will certainly be worth monitoring and key for a club that has relied on great goaltending from the Laval, Quebec native on many a nights. 4. Bollands Mountain Climb Dave Bolland missed his 47th game Saturday because of a once-severed and now healing tendon in his left ankle. The four-month recovery process has been taxing on the 27-year-old, who is close to a return, but not quite there yet. "Its sort of a slow mountain climb for me this whole rehab," said Bolland. "Its been painful and slow and grueling. Im ready to get back on the ice as soon as possible." Bolland is listed as day-to-day and according to head coach, Randy Carlyle, is at the stage where he, the player, will decide when exactly he is ready to return. For the Mimico native, who played in 15 games for the Leafs in October, its about being up to speed with the fundamentals, areas such as being strong in the corners and fully able to handle defensive responsibilities at full speed. "I dont want to be a liability out there when transition comes around and Im the one thats last getting back and I cant back-check because of my ankle," he said. "I want to be sure that when Im out there Im going at a 100 per cent and Im ready to play." He doesnt appear to be at that point yet, even suffering a setback in practice earlier in the week. "Thats just the way these injuries heal," Carlyle said. "Its a severe injury to a vital part in his body, specifically a tendon in his foot. When you put a skate on it, theres a lot more complications than just you and I walking around. Hes putting skates on and putting a lot of pressure in that area. "Basically its up to him. Hes got to be the guy that tells us hes ready to go." 5. Hollands Lace-Bite It was the final game of January and Peter Holland played 11 minutes in a 6-3 win over Florida. He was in pain the whole night, but didnt think much of it. "I went to sleep and woke up in the morning and could hardly put any weight on it," Holland said of his foot. The 23-year-old had suffered from lace bite before (which causes pain from skates being too tight) but nothing quite like this. "It was just released as lace-bite but it ended up getting pretty badly infected," said Holland, recalled by the Leafs for Saturdays game against the Canadiens. "I was in the hospital for four or five days with an IV in my arm trying to look after it. It was pretty painful for a while there. I was on crutches (and) in a walking boot and couldnt put too much weight on it." Holland missed four games with the injury before being assigned to the Toronto Marlies for two games. He played just under 12 minutes against Montreal, centering a line with Mason Raymond and Nik Kulemin. Stats-Pack 31 – Points for Phil Kessel in the past 17 games. 14-14 – Goal differential between the Leafs and Canadiens this season. 30:34 – Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf on Saturday, a season-high. 13-6-3 – Toronto record versus the Atlantic division. 11-2-3 – Record the past 16 games. 11 – Goals in the past 17 games for James van Riemsdyk, who has a career-high of 26 so far this season. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 21.4% (4th) PK: 3-5Season: 77.5% (28th) Quote of the Night "Weve had lots of those lessons. The teachers tired sometimes of bringing the same lesson." -Randy Carlyle, speaking of his teams performance in Long Island ahead of the game in Montreal. Up Next The Leafs return home to host the Blue Jackets on Monday night. Myles Garrett Jersey . They all do actually — Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 22, 2014There is no confirmation that the date is actually happening, but that didnt stop Embiid from getting dressed up. Fresh cut..... Getting ready for dinner http://t.co/NNIfKyZQzx — Joel-Hans Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 23, 2014 Almost 930.. Isaiah Crowell Jersey .The Williams siblings, with 25 Grand Slam titles between them, will have a couple of Madisons joining them, too.Madison Keys had a 6-4, 7-5 upset win over two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday night, and Madison Brengle beat Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2 in an all-U. http://www.brownsauthenticproshop.com/Customized/ .com) - Even on the day his New Hampshire football team became the nations top-ranked team two weeks ago, coach Sean McDonnell conceded something about the team they replaced at No. Marcus Martin Jersey . Dallas also Monday recalled defenceman Aaron Rome from his conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and assigned goaltender Jack Campbell to the AHL squad. Josh Gordon Jersey . -- Miguel Angel Jimenez quickly shifted his focus back to the Ryder Cup after winning his first Champions Tour event.Mobile, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - In the final bowl game before the College Football National Championship, the Toledo Rockets will meet the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the 16th installment of the GoDaddy Bowl. Toledo compiled an 8-4 record during the regular season, including a 7-1 mark in Mid-American Conference play. The Rockets won the final two games of the regular season, and are making their second appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl (it was known as the GMAC Bowl back in 2005, though). Toledo is 9-4 all-time in bowl games. Arkansas State, of the Sun Belt Conference, nearly backed into the postseason, but saved itself from a three-game losing streak to end the season with a win over New Mexico State. The Red Wolves have made it to an unprecedented four consecutive GoDaddy Bowls, going 2-1 in their previous three trips to the bowl that features a MAC and Sun Belt school. The GoDaddy Bowl marks the third time in history Toledo and Arkansas State will meet on the football field. The Rockets own a 2-0 all-time lead over the Red Wolves, with victories coming during the 1990 and 1992 seasons in Toledo. Toledo needed a few things to go right in the final week of the regular season for the Ohio-based program to make it to the MAC championship game. But the Rockets were left on the outside looking in when it came to vying for a conference championship. Now theyll turn to their focus on trying to make it 3-0 against ASU all-time. Toledo averaged 247.3 rushing ypg as a unit this season, as sophomore back Kareem Hunt (173 carries, 1,360 yards, 11 touchdowns) led the way for the ground game despite missing three contests due to injury. Terry Swanson (six rushing touchdowns) is also a dangerous threat. Perhaps the Rockets are wondering what could have been, had regular starting quarterback Phillip Ely not been lost to an ACL tear two games into the season. However, backup Logan Woodside performed admirably in Elys absence this season, as Woodside passed for 2,087 yards and 19 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, helping the Rockets to average 34.4 ppg. Alonzo Russell (team-best eight touchdown receptions) and Corey Jones (team- best 66 catches and 812 yards) are the top two targets in the passing game for Woodside. Both receivers are averaging over 60 ypg through the air. Big receiver Justin Olack is third on the team with 19 receptions for 287 yards and four touchdowns. The Rockets won games this season thanks to a strong offense, but lost games because of a defense that seemed to struggle from time to time to slow opponents down. Toledo gave up 29.3 ppg this season and over 400 total yards of offense each game. It was especially troublesome against the pass, as Toledo allowed 282.4 passing ypg and 32 passing scores this season. Linebacker Junior Sylvestre led the team in tackles, registering 94 stops with 9.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and four quarterback hurries. He and Trent Voss (11 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) will be looking to keep Arkansas States run game at bay, while Christian Dukes (10 pass breakups) and cornnerback Jordan Haden (three interceptions) will be in charge of containing the Red Wolves pass attack.dddddddddddd. Haden is questionable to play however, with an undisclosed listed injury. We are honored to be chosen to play in the GoDaddy Bowl and looking forward to playing a very good Arkansas State team, said Toledo coach Matt Campbell. If the hospitality we received today is any indication, we are going to have a terrific bowl experience when we travel back here. Toledo will have its hands full trying to contain athletic signal caller Fredi Knighten for Arkansas State. The quarterback did it all in 2014, passing for a team-leading 2,874 yards and 19 touchdowns (against just seven interceptions), and added 11 rushing touchdowns with 775 yards on the ground. Knighten alone accounted for 239.5 passing ypg and 64.6 rushing ypg. He led the Red Wolves to 36.1 ppg this season, which included a 68-point outburst in the teams most recent clash against New Mexico State. Like the Rockets, Arkansas State finds itself relying heavily on the run game. The Red Wolves enter the GoDaddy Bowl averaging 229.0 rushing ypg with 35 of their touchdowns this season scored on the ground. Michael Gordon accounted for the good chunk of that total, rushing for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns on 149 carries this year. He and Knighten make up much of the run game, with Johnston White (six touchdowns) contributing to the cause. With a focus on the run game, the Red Wolves havent had many breakout players through the air this season. Tres Houston leads the team with 51 receptions, for 607 yards and three touchdowns. Dijon Paschal tops the squad with 642 yards and four receiving scores. We installed the game plan before we left (for Christmas break), and were going back through it again, said Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson. As much as anything, were just trying to get readjusted. You can tell the guys were focused in meetings, and theyve got a healthy respect for our opponent. Theyve watched enough tape to know that Toledo is a good football team, so I think they are prepared in that sense. Defensively, the Red Wolves may find it difficult to slow down a strong Toledo run game. Arkansas State is allowing opponents to gain 191.9 rushing ypg this season, and has surrendered 27 touchdowns on the ground in 12 games played. Overall, the Red Wolves are giving up 27.8 ppg to opponents, and hasnt held a challenger to fewer than 35 points in each of the teams last three games. Linebacker Qushaun Lee enters the bowl game leading his team in tackles, having registered 96 stops this season. But Lees stat line goes beyond the tackles, as hes also recorded seven tackles for loss, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Defensive end/linebacker JaVon Rolland-Jones tops the Red Wolves with 12 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2014, but hes missed the last two games with a knee injury. He will not suit up for the GoDaddy Bowl. Defensive back Artez Brown (four interceptions, five pass breakups) will likely lock onto either Russell or Jones in an attempt to defend the pass. 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