Hockey life is sure a lot prettier in Toronto land since that debacle of the Preds game.
So why has it changed? What have the Leafs done to fix it? The simple answer would be because they are scoring more goals. But we all know that hockey has been never simple. In this case, though, it would be not far off.
Phil Kessel scored twice tonight in a 6-2 rout over the Ducks. Phil has scored six goals in last seven games. He has been outstanding all season. He is a leader, and is leading by example. He is doing everything he expects from his teammates.
James Van Riemsdyk
What I like about James game right now is that he is in the opposition’s head. He is using his size and getting the dirty goals. He is getting back in the zone, playing a full game. He is terrific on the powerplay. Basically, he is becoming a full player.
Everyone keeps telling me he should not be a number one center. Guess what? I can tell you why he is. He continues to use his speed and continues to think with the puck. He has been terrific using his speed with JVR and Kessel. He continues to get the puck to Kessel when he needs to.
Ever since they got Lupul back, Nazem has picked up his game. He was fantastic tonight, scoring a goal on a terrific shot. He should have gotten another, if he hadn’t put himself offside. He is beginning to show the kind of player he is.
Lupul is the glue right now. He is making Kadri a better player. He is an outstanding leader, showing his team mates what to do.
Bernier has been outstanding, and tonight was no different. He was fabulous in goal. He made several saves, making sure the Ducks couldn’t get any momentum. He is playing like a bona fide number one goaltender.
Finally, the defense as a group is playing smarter. They are making the plays they need to, and the forwards are getting in there, coming back, and giving them support in their own zone.
There is a lot of positive flow on this team right now.