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right corner of the Chicago zone,

in Bilder und Videos 18.11.2019 04:49
von Cl11234566 • 375 Beiträge

TORONTO – Jonathan Bernier had made a mere 54 starts in the NHL before he joined the Maple Leafs this past summer. "I played a lot in junior, played a lot in the AHL, but last three years I didnt play much, so I kind of forgot how to prepare myself," said Bernier in conversation with the Leaf Report. "I forgot how hard it is to be ready every night." He is rapidly rediscovering what it takes. Making his third straight start in a rare Sunday night affair, the 25-year-old stopped 41 shots as the Leafs picked up back-to-back wins for the first time in three weeks, topping the Hurricanes 5-2 at the ACC. Bernier has sizzled with a .949 save percentage in his last five games, settling into a groove in the Toronto crease. He appears firmly on track to start in Wednesdays Winter Classic. "Thats up to Randy," said Bernier with a smile, now ranked eighth in the NHL with a .930 save percentage this season. "Obviously, itd be a really nice experience, but like Ive said since the beginning, you cant control what Randy is going to decide. Thats up to him." Bernier spoke earlier in the year about the mental and physical preparation required to play near-nightly in an NHL crease. Having tended goal as the back-up to Jonathan Quick for years with the Kings, he had forgotten the formula it took for success. With 23 starts already as a Leaf, he is picking it up once more. "Youve got to learn when to push yourself in practice or when to rest yourself, all those little things; when to work in the gym, when not," he explained. "You dont want to overwork, but at the same time you need those good practices to get back in the game and feel good about yourself." He is admittedly better prepared for the workload, one that is considerably more taxing night to night than what he experienced in Los Angeles. Sunday marked the fifth time he faced at least 40 shots this season. Its just another step in the learning process. "Im sure Ill be a different goalie or different person in two years from now," he said. "I never really played that much in this league so far. Its all new for me." Five Points 1. Bozaks Impactful Return Playing his first game since Dec. 3, returning from an oblique injury, Tyler Bozak made a splash with three assists against Carolina. The 27-year-old had a hand in both Phil Kessel goals – Kessels team-leading 19th and 20th – adding his 10th assist this season on Paul Rangers second goal of the year. Bozak, who entered the night averaging upwards of 21 minutes a game, was held to 17-plus on Sunday night, his ice-time managed after more than three weeks on long-term injured reserve. That will change in the near future according to Carlyle, who relies on the fifth-year centre in all situations. "We think a lot of a player by the number of minutes he plays," said Carlyle. "Usually thats a good indication of how coaches feel about players." The Leafs coach spoke of Bozaks intangibles. "Hes a smart hockey player," Carlyle continued. "He does a lot of little things that dont get noticed on the score-sheet and he puts himself in a position to be the safety valve for the other two players hes playing with." Alongside Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Bozak and the Toronto top line enjoyed a flurry of opportunities against the Hurricanes, including a handful of breakaways for Kessel, but also had their issues in the defensive zone, being outshot by the trio of Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin and Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe scored Carolinas first goal of the game with the line out on the ice. Prior to the game, van Riemsdyk spoke of Bozaks ability to impact the trio as a "safety valve" defensively. "Were usually going against other teams top offensive units and hes really good at competing with them down-low, getting the puck out of the zone," said van Riemsdyk. "When he does that…it gives all of us more energy to play offence. When youre not getting hemmed in as much and youre good defensively. you have more energy to expend on offence." Bozak now has eight points in the past five games hes played, also winning 14 of 26 draws on this night. 2. Face-off Work Carlyle stressed the need for increased competitiveness in the face-off circle prior to Sundays game and he got it. The Leafs won 60 per cent of their draws against the Hurricanes, led by Jay McClement, who emerged victorious on 15 of 24 face-offs. "If youre not having success against the individual, then Im about being competitive and I believe that our team has to become more competitive in those small areas," said Carlyle earlier in the day. "When theres a 50-50 opportunity to come up with the puck, I think we have to show more tenacity, more bite, and what it comes down to, its more competitive spirit." Jerred Smithson, reassigned to the Marlies on Saturday, recently offered a similar sentiment in conversation with the Leaf Report. "Its just wanting to win the battle more than that other guy," said Smithson, who held a 59 per cent mark in 17 games with the Leafs. "Thats the biggest thing for me, anyway. You know theres always different techniques, but just the will and the compete going into the circle and wanting it just that much more." Outside of Smithson and McClement, Toronto centres have all dipped under the 50 per cent mark. Even Bozak, long the teams best face-off man, has fallen to 46 per cent in 17 games this season. Centre Face-off Percentage Jerred Smithson 58.6 Jay McClement 54.9 Tyler Bozak 46.6 Trevor Smith 45.2 Peter Holland 45.2 Nazem Kadri 42.1 Dave Bolland 41.3 The Leafs, at 47.2 per cent this season, sit 25th overall on the draw. 3. Opposing Strategy Despite beating the Hurricanes handily, the Leafs did not play what could be considered a smooth game. Carlyle felt his team was "overmatched in a lot of areas" and were outshot 43-27 and out-attempted 75-49. The Leafs coach has identified the formula of opposing teams. "They got to the red-line and they dumped the puck in," he said of the Hurricanes. "That seems to be the mandate for teams coming in here: you try to force us to play as much defence [as possible] in our own zone." Carlyle said opponents have been intent on forcing his team to recover pucks down low and along the walls in the Toronto zone, pinching their defencemen where possible for added support. "Its no secret," he said. "We havent been able to hand that or manage the game properly in that area and weve got to get better at it." 4. Best Period as a Leaf? David Clarkson left the bench for the final 13 minutes of the second period. The 29-year-old required stitches for a gash on his elbow. He returned a different player for the final frame. "Probably the best period of hockey hes played for us," said Carlyle of Clarksons third period. Employed in checking line duties alongside McClement and Nik Kulemin for the past five games, Clarkson seems to be gradually finding a role with the Leafs. On Sunday, his units duties included a showdown with Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu. And though they were outshot, the trio managed to keep Carolinas top line off the scoresheet. "We feel confident that we can put that line on the ice against any line weve played so far," Carlyle said. "So when you have that type of confidence in the group, the sum of the three, its a good sign for the coaching staff. We feel confident in those players. And if you notice their minutes, they get to play a lot." 5. Hollands Opportunity With Bozak back from a 12-game stint on injured reserve and a checking unit of Clarkson, Kulemin and McClement remaining intact, Peter Holland moved down the lineup Sunday into the fourth line centre position. The shift wasnt because of performance. Holland has made good use of an opportunity presented by the teams injury troubles. He entered the evening with eight points in the previous 10 games. "I thought Ive come in and Ive gotten stronger pretty much on a consistent basis, game in, game out," said the 22-year-old, shooting a blistering 23 per cent on six goals this season. "Whether Im playing five minutes or 15 minutes, I think Im just trying to do my best to earn the respect of my coaches and the rest of my teammates. Just do the little things right; winning battles; winning face-offs; being on the defensive side of pucks. I think when Ive done a good job of that the offence has come, so I just need to stick with that." Holland, who played only eight minutes against Carolina, is tied for third on the team in December scoring. Stats-Pack .949 – Save percentage for Jonathan Bernier over the past five games. 43-72 – Leafs in the face-off circle against the Hurricanes. 17:14 – Ice-time for Tyler Bozak in his return to the lineup against Carolina. 6 – Seasons with 20-plus goals for Phil Kessel. 8 – Points in the last five games for Bozak, who had three assists against the Hurricanes. 8 – Goals from the Toronto defence in the past 12 games. Along with Ranger, Dion Phaneuf scored his fourth marker of the season on Sunday. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-2 Season: 22.3% (5th) PK: 1-2 Season: 77.5% (27th) Quote of the Night "I wasnt waving the pompoms to be involved with it to start with." -Randy Carlyle, on the upcoming Winter Classic. Up Next The Leafs face the Red Wings in Wednesdays Winter Classic. Fake China Jerseys . When Reyes signed a US$106-million, six-year deal with Miami last month, there was speculation Ramirez was unhappy about being supplanted at short. But new manager Ozzie Guillen sold Ramirez on the idea. China Jerseys Cheap .Y. -- Phil Jackson lost out on his preferred coach, but hes working hard on keeping his star player. https://www.chinajerseyscheap.us/. -- Louisville backup quarterback Reggie Bonnafon ran for two touchdowns and passed for another and the No. China Jerseys Stitched . - Erick Torres scored his 10th goal of the season on a stunning volley, and Chivas USA edged 10-man Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday night. Cheap Jerseys From China . -- Keith Aulie has joined the Tampa Bay Lightning.CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks are trying get into a groove so they can head into the playoffs firing on all cylinders. Even without star forward Patrick Kane, the defending Stanley Cup champions showed signs of moving in the right direction Tuesday night. Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith each had a goal and an assist, and Chicago held on for a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. "We did some good things throughout the game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "All four lines were contributing and our special teams were good as well. Good win." Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa also scored for Chicago, which needs just one more point to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth straight season. Patrick Sharp added two assists to help Chicago finish 4-1 against Dallas in the Central Division rivals regular-season series. "It was a big win tonight," said Keith, second in scoring among defencemen with 57 points. "Theyre a hungry team, fighting for their playoff lives." Ryan Garbutt scored twice for the Stars, who fell three points behind Phoenix for the final Western Conference playoff berth. Dallas matched Chicagos speed and effort early, but eventually the Blackhawks took over and built a 3-1 lead. Garbutts second goal cut it to 3-2 late in the third, but Hossa empty-netter sealed the Blackhawks solid effort. Chicagos Corey Crawford made 25 saves, while Dallas Kari Lehtonen blocked 38 shots. "Theyre a fast team, can really skate," Crawford said. "They got the jump early and then our D were able to shut them down really good. "They really shut down everything in the third period." Dallas Tyler Seguin set up Garbutts goal in the second period to extend his point streak to 10 games. He has seven goals and 10 assists during the run. Blackhawks top prospect Teuvo Teravainen didnt record a point in his NHL debut, but logged 11 minutes and 39 seconds of ice time. The 19-year-old forward was Chicagos first-round draft pick in 2012 and led his team in Finland, Jokerit, in scoring this season. Chicago played its third game without Kane, who is on long-term injured reserve and may miss the rest of the regular season. Dallas had several good chances early, including Garbutts breakaway just over 2 minutes in. Crawford stopped his close-in rising shot with a glove save. "We hung around the first 10 minutes and Garbutt had the breakaway,"t; Stars coach Lindy Ruff said.dddddddddddd "But I thought they slowly started taking it away from us. "We slowed the game down and they sped it up all the time." Chicago took charge as the period progressed, then Shaws power-play goal with 18 seconds left in the first opened the scoring. Shaw swept in a rebound of Sharps shot from the blue line with a highlight-reel effort. Shaw was knocked to the ice by Dallas defenceman Trevor Daley in the crease, but backhanded in the loose puck as he fell to his knees and while facing away from the net. Versteeg was credited with a goal at 4:12 of the second that made it 2-0. After Dallas Antoine Roussel failed to clear the puck, Versteeg slid a pass toward Hossa who was cruising in down the slot. Rousell reached with his stick to break up the pass, but deflected the pucks past Lehtonen. Garbutt didnt miss on his second breakaway of the game, and cut it to 2-1 midway through the second. He skated in behind the Blackhawks defence after Seguin banked a pass off the left boards from the Stars zone. Garbutt cut across the crease and slipped a backhander between Crawfords pads. Keith restored Chicagos two-goal lead at 3-1 with 5:45 left in the period on a fluttering screened shot from the left point. Garbutts second goal cut it to 3-2 with 5:40 left in the third. Following Nick Leddys turnover in the right corner of the Chicago zone, Garbutt carried the puck to the net. Crawford stopped his first shot, but Garbutt stuffed in the rebound from right side of the goal. "Its too bad we couldnt get the third (goal) there," Garbutt said. "Its doesnt matter if its pretty or not this time of year. "Well just take what we can get and need to start scoring more as a team." Hossa fired into an empty net with 33.3 seconds left to complete the scoring. Notes: Keith has six goals and 51 assists for his 57 points. ... The Blackhawks won 49 of 71 faceoffs on Tuesday. Captain Jonathan Toews was 23-for-28 and Teravainen was 7-for-7. Blackhawks F Bryan Bickell (upper-body) and D Michal Rozsival (lower-body) each missed their third games with injuries. ... Dallas F Erik Cole sat out his third game with an upper-body injury. ... Long-time Blackhawks beat writer Tim Sassone, who passed away Tuesday, was honoured with a moment of silence before the game. He covered the team for the Arlington Heights, Ill. Daily Herald for the past 26 years. ' ' '

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