Preseason Post Game: Game #4 – Leafs 3 at Sabres 2 (SO)

Preseason Post Game: Game #4 – Leafs 3 at Sabres 2 (SO)

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It was technically-poor hockey, but between the scrums, fights and disorganized play, this was a pretty fun game to watch. Rather fitting for the game to end in a 15-round shootout that included this:

Note Enroth slashing at Ranger for trying this, making it all the more awesome.

This was a messy, chippy game for the most part, a product of rookies trying to impress and the vets generally looking half-interested.

The Leafs looked terrible for the first 40 minutes and deserved the 2-0 deficit, but they started to come on strong in the third period. A good shift from a line of fringe players vying for jobs got them back into the game. Trevor Smith and Josh Leivo battled down low before the puck made its way out to Mark Fraser on the point. A nice tip by Leivo to the side of the net redirected it to Devane in front, who finished on the backhand for his second goal of the presesason.

A few minutes later, some good work on the board in the neutral zone by Kulemin and Ashton sent McClement goal bound. With Ashton crashing the net with reckless abandon, the puck took a bounce off the defenceman’s skate and beat Enroth between the legs.

The Leafs went on to win the one-goal 15-round shooout. Anybody who watched the Leafs in the shootout last season was probably wondering how many saves they would need from their goaltender to win one of these things. The answer is 15. The scorer for the Leafs was Jay McClement, who snuck a shot through Enroth to secure the all-important two points.

James Reimer was excellent in stopping 38 of 40 shots plus the 15 shootout attempts. More on that in the game notes below. Thanks to Nikhil for chipping in with his thoughts.

- The preseason scoring drought continues for Phil Kessel. Seriously, screw Craig Simpson (context: Simpson actually said, “the frustrations continue for Kessel this preseason,” in the early second period).

- The Leafs defence was aggressively active in the attack tonight, with the likes of Ranger, Gardiner and Phaneuf trying to spark some offense on what was pretty much a one line team up front for most of the night. By one line team, I mean Raymond and Kessel.

- The Ranger and Gardiner pairing was a little all over the place. Gardiner was was here, there and everywhere trying to make things happen tonight. Ranger also likes to join the attack and slip into the high slot when he can (and a few times when he shouldn’t have, tonight). There was a few occasions when there was no one home with this pairing on the ice. I’m assuming Gardiner will rein it in a little when the real games start.

- I don’t think I’m completely confident in the top 4 I saw tonight sans Cody Franson, but it was a pretty tough game to judge.

- Bozak put on a clinic on how to blindly throw the puck in Kessel’s general direction and often times into the other team’s possession. It almost led to a goal when he got a friendly bounce off a forced cross-ice pass, but he had a pretty poor game overall. Credit where it is due, he had one good defensive play in overtime that led to a powerplay. He proceeded to botch three good chances on said powerplay. The Leafs should’ve won the game right then and there, but that would’ve denied us of the best shootout attempt ever concocted via Paul Ranger.

- With 38 saves on 40 shots, Reimer had a fantastic night, fighting back from a two goal deficit with his trademark perseverance. Reimer’s never been given the job with any certainty in his time with the Leafs, with this season looking like it would have been the exception. Competition has never stopped him from excelling or improving in year’s past, and there’s no reason to think that the young tender won’t rise to the challenge of the incumbent Bernier and all his media-driven accolades.

- Mason Raymond saw over twenty minutes of ice tonight and looked good in the process. His speed is his most obvious skill, but his versatility is what will truly make him a valued addition to this team. As opposed to someone like Clarke MacArthur, Raymond can bounce around on any line with any responsibility to good effect. He was used as such in Vancouver and early indications are that he will perform well in such a capacity in Toronto. Compare that to MacArthur, who struggled mightily out of a top six role on his way to numerous healthy scratches. Raymond created a lot of offensive opportunities tonight and made a few good plays on the backcheck to boot.

- Carter Ashton or Jamie Devane for that fourth line winger slot? Most would go with Ashton’s significantly higher upside, hockey skills, and draft pedigree. But, this team’s personnel is decided in large part by Carlyle. With that in consideration, you know that a bruiser like Devane will always get some looks to replace the injured McLaren/Orr. It doesn’t hurt his case that Devane has some ability to work along the boards with modest offensive inclinations.
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- I’m not going to look up the Leafs’ PK numbers in the preseason, but I think it’s been doing pretty well. Tonight, the primary forward duos of Kulemin and McClement and Ashton-Colborne got plenty of work as there were no shortage of penalties in this one.

- A better night from Joe Colborne. Strong two-way play throughout, and he looked a little looser out there than games previous, holding onto the puck a little more down low.

- David Broll is already a better hockey player than Orr and McLaren, but he’s no heavyweight pugilist. He does weigh a lot, but he’s got a ways to go in the fighting department. He got kind of embarrassed by Cody McCormick in a first period bout.

- Ashton got into it with Ott by the Buffalo bench in the first period and acquitted himself well in the ensuing scrap. Ashton is considerably bigger and stronger than Ott, and it showed as he caught the Buffalo captain with a couple of good ones before scoring the take down. As Ott quickly realized, while Ashton is a rookie and not a known fighter, you don’t have to be to beat up Steve Ott.

- Stuart Percy was good again tonight. His ability to make the right play with a high level of consistency is really impressive for a defenceman his age. I don’t think he missed the mark on any of his passes, and his best play of the game was cutting out a 2 on 1 when Dion Phaneuf got caught up ice on a pinch.

Post Game Discussion Questions:

1) Where does Stuart Percy stand on the depth chart?
2) Who among Joe Colborne, Carter Ashton, Jamie Devane, Trevor Smith and David Broll is going to be on the opening roster? A lot of cap considerations involved there.
3) How comfortable are you with a top 4 of Phaneuf, Gunnarsson, Gardiner and Ranger to start the season?
4) Is there any one against giving Raymond a one-year deal at this point? The better question is – is it even workable under the cap?

402 comments
Long Sufferin Leaf Fan
Long Sufferin Leaf Fan

damn that line of Lupul, Kadri and Clarkson will be a force to be reckoned with if they stick, really excited to see those guys play together

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

Please ,yes Im beggin all U hockeys gods ,Please no shoot outs tonight ,Leafs win 6-1

GreekGod
GreekGod

anybody know if the game tonight is televised or we need to stream it?

thelongroad
thelongroad

Ok we need Franson, Rielly and Raymond in the lineup Oct 1 time to package Liels and get this season going!

theacs1966
theacs1966

No way he didn't know Gagner was there or where his stick was going.  That wasn't momentum or inertia, that was follow through.

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

Kassian should get suspended for 30 games.  10 for the high stick and 20 for being a vancouver schmuck.

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

I can't really tell.. what exactly happened to Gagner there? 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Anyone know of a site that shows how many compliance buyouts teams have next summer? Capgeek doesn't seem to have a specific list

wendelsway1
wendelsway1

Nice chatting, Guys......Mexican food is on the menu for tonight's game.....gotta get cooking....Later...GO LEAFS GO!!!

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Dallas in Edmonton, Burkie in Calgary. Little more interest in the West for me this season. Blue and White loks great on paper, but so far the offensive zone presence has been lacking. Really looking forward to Naz and Luups lighting the lamp.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

JSportsnet: No question...League is looking into Kassian/Gagner incident last night in Edmonton.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

SportsnetSpec: Canucks took head shot at Hall, hi-stick at Gagner, and ran 18YO Nurse all night. It's not just VAN. Anyone would, will. Because they can.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

That has to the top line, which could create an interesting scenario in resigning Phil

Bon Scott was a Leaf fan
Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

@Leafs rule 

I'm not a big fan of the shootout either.  However, I think it'd be interesting to see Bernier go through umpteen rounds and prevail.


Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Long road: I lived on The Long Road in Farnham, England. You are preaching to the choir. You need to be tweeting to NoNo and Franson's agent. According to NoNo, no talks. Need NoNo to become YesYes, and Franson to find an acceptable movement. I was really excited about Franson this year. The life of a Leaf fan.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Look at the second video below at the view from above. One-handed stick swing to the chops.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Dallas needs to sign One of our tough guys, MacLaren preferably.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Waiting4LSC He was actually very careful not to say there'd been no talks.  He said there had been no change, but would not say there weren't talks.  I took his interview on TSN to mean that they were still talking, but with very little movement on either side.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Shift: please knock it off. You are a long suffering leaf fan, and this is just part and parcel of your dedication. :))))

Alec Brownscombe
Alec Brownscombe moderator

@Xxxxxnew Ah, just saw the vid. I see. Don't think it was intentional but very reckless. Gotta be in control of your stick.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Needs an operation, they're saying.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@Shift_Disturber1 Still cannot believe we used a compliance buyout for 3.5 million dollars and 1 year remaining.  Ridiculous.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Ahh, that's closer. It'll be interesting to see how many get used if the cap goes up as expected. Been reading how the six outdoor games alone are expected to suck in an extra $180 million this season by themselves.

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Waiting4LSC 

No thanks... MacClaren and Orr did a great job for us last year. No reason to change it.

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Waiting4LSC

“I grew up a Leafs fan. We’ve got a lot of unfinished business as a team and I feel like we’re moving in the right direction. It’s obviously something I want to be a part of and hopefully the current situation doesn’t take too long,” 

Cody Franson.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

I found the suggestion of Eurpoe strange, as Franson's experience in Sweden, during the lockout, was far from encouraging. I hope we are at the point of no return, and common sense prevails.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Cam: I had taken his comment to be there were no talks currently. He was quick to suggest Franson was wanted. You are spot on with NoNo's intent.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

It's following the CBA system of negotiation. Nothing happens until the last possible moment of no return.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I think the stick swing was intentional. I don't think he knew his stick was up that high.

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Shift_Disturber1 @Cameron19 

I believe the reasoning behind it is that Liles can get his career back on track perhaps and there will be some sort of market for him. Komisarek had no value whatsoever.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Same here. Not a math geek but I am interested in numbers that can't be diluted by opinion or argued.

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

I have to say, the hockey world is endebted to capgeek. Smooth site with lots of non advanced stats!

Leafs rule
Leafs rule

@Xxxxxnew Re  Looks way worse in the view from above. 

Good observation  ,now we know ,thanks

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Looks way worse in the view from above. In the ice level version it actually looks like he got a piece of the body but in the top view he doesn't get near him and swings his stick at head level.

Cameron19
Cameron19

@DeclanK @GreekGod @Waiting4LSC It's not just about the willingness to fight.  It's about creating the unwillingness in your opponent.  Broll/Devane don't do that.  Orr/McLaren do. 

DeclanK
DeclanK moderator

@GreekGod @Waiting4LSC 

Both were spanked in fights this past week. They have some skill for the 4th line, but need to handle themselves, which they can't do just yet.

Orr/McLaren are 2 of the toughest in the league, hands down. They are two scarey ombres. 

Xxxxxnew
Xxxxxnew

Succinct. And true. Looks like his upside would be tough as nails grinder without being a belt contender.

GreekGod
GreekGod

@Waiting4LSC 

Broll is tough but hasn't really impressed me in fights. Devane has good skills but still needs more time to develop in the AHL. I like Devane a lot.

I think we go with Orr and MacClaren this year. No question Devane will get a call up at some point.


Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Greek God: posted with sarcasm, but we have Broll and Devane now, both have better skating and hockey abilities. Personally, I would like to see Devane and Orr on enforcement duty. Would help us sign speedy Gonzalez .