The Toronto Maple Leafs were able to pull of a 4-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on the road thanks to goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who recorded his first shutout of the year stopping all thirty-six shots that he faced. With the win tonight, Bernier goes 8-1-0 in his career against Nashville. "I guess I feel pretty good playing against that team."
13:18 into the third period with the Predators pushing to comeback already down two goals, Mike Fisher hit former-Pred Cody Franson into the curved glass inside the Maple Leafs' bench. Franson's visor cut the bridge of his nose upon impact and was stitched up after the game. After the hit, Franson went immediately down to the ice bloody. Fisher was given a game misconduct and a five-minute major penalty for boarding. After the game, Fisher said, "If you look at it, it's really not a penalty."
Nashville defenseman Victor Bartley told the Predators' radio postgame show that in the locker room, Fisher asked around for Franson's number to apologize.
Toronto made Fisher and the Predators pay by scoring goals from Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul to secure the win.
1. Jones' rough night: A game after Seth Jones led the team in time on ice and recorded his first NHL point, he goes -3. Jones looked solid on the power play, especially with his keep in's, but his defense was mediocre. It is safe to say his immaturity showed, as expected, when going up against Phil Kessel most of the night.
For the first goal, James van Riemsdyk easily maneuvered himself around an unawaring Jones and setup Kessel for the one-timer in the slot. Most of the night, Jones looked a lost and was out-of-position too much. He loved to join the rush, but he would get caught behind the play. As a nineteen year old entering the league, it will take time to develop. He is surely not a worthy yet to play alongside Shea Weber, but due to the injury of Roman Josi, this just happens to be the case.
Thursday night was Jones' night. Perhaps the Toronto media got to him a bit?
2. Bernier goes 8-1-0 vs NSH: Jonathan Bernier stopped a lot of shots, thirty-six of them. However, maybe ten of those were quality. Many of the shots Bernier face was right at the chest. He left no rebounds for Nashville to cash in on. Mark Masters of TSN asked Bernier after the game what the key to giving up no rebounds: "Get hit in the chest."
The scorers like Craig Smith and Colin Wilson need to wake up and get with the program. Four games in and Wilson is the only one to score a goal. Expect Smith to be a healthy scratch next game, unless Fisher is suspended.
3. Hendricks is that guy: All night, Matt Hendricks was a pest, but showed signs of frustration. Early in the game, Hendricks was complaining about a non-call by the referee (quit your whining and play). He also got into a post-whistle scrum with Dion Phaneuf after giving the Leafs' captain a little slash on the hands. Lastly, he dropped the gloves with rookie David Broll in order to spark the team after being down two goals. That guy is the type of player head coach Barry Trotz wants on his fourth line and he's certainly received what he paid for on July 5.
4. Fisher's hit on Franson: If Mike Fisher's hit happened in another area of the ice, he wouldn't have received a game misconduct and a major. Unfortunately, it did, and it happened to the worst player, Cody Franson. Before the game, Trotz and Rinne were praising his wrist shot saying it was the best from a defenseman in the league. Fisher is not known for being a dirty player and this hit shouldn't change that. It didn't look intentional. Fisher was just trying to steal the puck away. After the hit, there just happened to be an unfortunate incident that cut Franson's nose open.
5. Toronto's stellar defense: Head coach Randy Carlyle has changed the way the Maple Leafs play. Their underrated defense completely shutdown the Predators' offensive production. Sure, the shots would say otherwise, but the Leafs' defenders forced Nashville to play a perimeter game. Any puck that moved inside was intercepted and cleared away. Not enough can be said about those six players because they played a flawless game.
1-0 TOR: Phil Kessel – van Riemsdyk at 13:41 in the 2nd
2-0 TOR: James van Riemsdyk – Kessel and Gunnarsson at 19:51 in the 2nd
3-0 TOR: PP Tyler Bozak – Kessel (2) and Rielly at 16:18 in the 3rd
4-0 TOR: PP Joffrey Lupul – Gardiner and Kadri at 16:59 in the 3rd
NSH: Pekka Rinne (L) – 22 saves on 26 shots; played 60:00
TOR: Jonathan Bernier (W) – 36 saves on 36 shots; played 60:00
My Three Stars
1. TOR: Jonathan Bernier – Shutout, 36 saves
2. TOR: Phil Kessel – Goal, 2 Assists
3. TOR: James van Riemsdyk – Goal, Assist
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Bourque and Josi
Predators starters: Clune, Gaustad, Hendricks, Klein, Ekholm and Rinne
Leafs scratches: Brennan, Bodie and Clarkson
Leafs starters: Raymond, Bolland, Leivo, Franson, Rielly and Bernier