Home 2013 Preseason Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #5 – Sabres at Maple Leafs (7...

Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #5 – Sabres at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., Leafs TV)

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Colton Orr

It’s a quick turnaround for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they play the home leg of their preseason series against the Buffalo Sabres tonight.  Jonathan Bernier will get the start anyway for the Leafs tonight, and Joffrey Lupul is expected to make his preseason debut.   Here’s the primer for tonight.

- The Buds won last night’s contest against the Sabres 3 – 2 after a protracted shootout.  All things considered, the Leafs were lucky to eke out a win in the First Niagara Center last night.  Their play was sloppy, and they were heavily outshot.  But a gutsy third period saw the Leafs force their way back into the game as Jay McClement tied the game at twos with less than five minutes left in the third.  The Leafs had some primo chances in OT, but failed to capitalize.  After 29 shooters failed to get the job done in the skills competition, McClement tallied the winner because he finishes pretty much everything he starts.

- As of this writing, the forward lines for tonight’s game haven’t been released by the Leafs, but whatever they are, don’t get used to them.  Tonight will probably be the last game a lot of the bubble players will play for the Leafs this preseason.  After tonight, the Leafs will have three preseason games between Tuesday and Saturday.  They’ve got tomorrow off, so expect axes to fall sometime midday.

- Should Carter Ashton or David Broll be in the lineup tonight, expect them to leave it all on the ice.  Given the uncertain injury situation with some of the Leafs bottom six players, either guy could still snag a spot.  Both provide a lot of physicality and energy and also bring more offensive upside than either the maimed Frazer McLaren or the lamed Colton Orr.  I’m rooting for either or both of them.

- It’ll be great to see Bernier between the pipes tonight, and even better if he takes in the full 60 minutes.  The Leafs made a fairly large investment in Bernier this offseason, and after a false start in his first preseason game, he’s left fans anxious.  A good game tonight will go a long way to allaying concerns.

- For his sake, I hope he faces less rubber than James Reimer did last night.  I know it’s only preseason and it’s an incomplete picture on the ice, but 40 shots is a hell of a lot any time of year.  That’s a trend I’d like to see the Leafs shake heading into this season, so we’ll see what tonight brings.

- Perhaps to mitigate the shot count, the Leafs seem likely to ice a very different blueline tonight. Out are Gunnarsson, Fraser, Percy, Ranger and Phaneuf while Rielly, MacWilliam, Liles, Brennan and Holzer are expected to figure into the lineup.  The only holdover from last night is Jake Gardiner.

- If we can expect the coaching staff to pare down their roster to something closer to the real lineup for the final 3 games next week, this is an important game for some of these bubble defencemen.

- Joffrey Lupul is expected to play to tonight, and may be on a line with Nazem Kadri and David Clarkson.  That is already most people’s projected second line, so it’ll be really intriguing to see how well they mesh tonight.  While he may never live up to his contract, Clarkson should bring some snarl and puck retrieval skills with him to that line, freeing both Lupul and Kadri up to work their magic.

- Sure, the games are pretty much meaningless, but hell, let’s see the Leafs pull out a W tonight.  Enjoy the game, ladies and gents.

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines vs. Buffalo Sabres
Forwards
JvRBozakKessel
LupulKadriClarkson
LeivoColborneDevane
AshtonSmithBodie
Defense
BrennanMacWilliam
GardinerLiles
HolzerRielly
Goalies
Bernier
MacIntyre
1510 comments
gunner_36
gunner_36

Everyone's leaving, so I guess I'll ditch too. Later, and sweet dreams MLHS.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

well that was a wildly entraining night, im out boys and girls, tak'r ez MLHS

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

I'm calling it a night folks. I hope I'm wrong but I have feeling the shit show has just begun . I expect the league to come down hard and I have feeling we won't like the outcome. The anti fighting lobby are gonna be out in full force over the next couple of days so expect lots of crap to fly.

ShiftyD
ShiftyD

Have a good night MLHS'ers. Interesting to see what comes of all of this.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

Is Kessel now a power forward?

AsburyJukes75
AsburyJukes75

Y'know, I long for the day when our fighters could also play. Clark, Probert, every member of the 70s Flyers and Bruins, Howe, Lindsey....

John Scott is a shit stain that shouldn't even be in the ECHL never mind the NHL. 

At least the B's thugs have a bit of skill. To take one from The Iron Shiek - "John Scott? HAWK PTOO! I put you in camel clutch make you humble!"

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

so Raymond, Ashton, Devane, Rielly, Percy all possibly in.....Clarkson, McLaren out.....Franson can watch from home

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

In other news...after watching Colborne throughout camp, I am really wondering if he makes the team. I know we need depth at C but he just hasn't looked very good. Only a couple games to go.

ShiftyD
ShiftyD

I would be similarly pissed if Orr did the same to another teams Star player (Buffalo now excluded)

moimoi
moimoi

Kessel has no priors and is a star, he shouldn't get suspended. That always worked for Alfie and Niedermayer.

Reversethecurse13
Reversethecurse13

@Burtonboy I don't think there will be any surprises. Clarkson auto 10 games, Kessel gets a fine and/or some preseason games.

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Bigger the dick, better the ratings. Can't beat Simmonds though. ;)

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Funny, but a little harsh, considering Miller was probably trying to defuse the situation. Glad to see Michael taking a positive Leaf stance though.

Reversethecurse13
Reversethecurse13

@Dangle_My_Berries Opening Night:
JVR - Bozak - Kessel
Lupul - Kadri - Raymond
Colborne - Bolland - Kulemin
Devane/Ashton - McClement - Orr

Gunnar - Phaneuf
Gardiner - Ranger
Fraser - Liles/MacWilliam

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Dangle: I can't decide whether Rielly should stay. he has played well, but is he better served...... half of me says he should stay, the conservative half says develop more slowly. I am lost.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@B_Leaf I thought he played really well tonight. That line had the beck cycle game I've out of a Toronto team in yrs 

JR from Halifax
JR from Halifax

@moimoi We will get bent over on this somehow. I don't care. This wasn't just fun for us or a statement to Buffalo....this sent notice to the league. 

Waiting4LSC
Waiting4LSC

Bruins reputation is gonna crumble soon. Walls of Jericho come to mind after tonight, and Sparks showing true blue and white commitment too.

gunner_36
gunner_36

@Waiting4LSC Looks like Bernier goaded him into it too.

Doesn't Miller weigh like 150 lbs or something? No wonder he got filled in.

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

@Waiting4LSC I think the kid has NHL speed/skill and passing ability. He's not gonna like it but I send him back, but at of no fault of his own, just a numbers game

Dangle_My_Berries
Dangle_My_Berries

@JR from Halifax @moimoi no one walks into our barn and screws with our players, the Leafs should have a pack mentality now. Bernier and Clarkson certainly showed it tonight