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

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Colton Orr
Photo: TheStar.com

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
  • Reversethecurse67

    Really looking forward to the regular season. Just moved to London from Ottawa, so games are no longer blacked out for me. Go Leafs Go!!
    PS, how does one post embedded pictures/.gifs/youtube vids?

  • mcloki

    The D is going to be shakey tonight. But I do want to see a real Leaf team play against Detroit

  • Reversethecurse67

    mcloki so many variables going into the season: does Franson sign? does Liles get moves? lots of variables for opening night roster..

  • Waiting4LSC

    Posted on the last thread: luups-Naz- Clarkson could well be the top line. How does this scenario play out for resigning Phil?

  • Cameron19

    Waiting4LSC They won’t be the top line.

  • Tim Horton

    Reversethecurse67 You just do. http://i.imgur.com/yOSglSM.jpg

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Waiting4LSC W4LSC – how would it affect Phil? I still see a need for this elite, top 10 talent, whether he’s technically on line 1 or 2.

  • Waiting4LSC

    Cam: IMO they will show more skil and likely gain more points. Bozak is the let down for Phil and JVR. Interested in what you think will help Phil’s line stay #1.

  • mcloki

    How about Phil wants to play on a winner. The Naz line goes a long way towards that.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Tim Horton Reversethecurse67 did you copy/paste? from a site or your own file?

  • WendelGilmour

    Waiting4LSC I don’t think there’s really a 1 or 2 line anymore. It will not surprise me in the least if Naz’s line is the top scoring line.

  • Cameron19

    Waiting4LSC No one will send out their top D to shut down the Kadri line.  The second they do, Phil; will light up second pair D. And might I remind you, that Kessel has been top 10 in the league twice with Bozak as his center, so I fail to see how he will suddenly be extremely hindered by this.

  • MikeGartner11

    Shift_Disturber1 They made a mural for a first round win?

  • Waiting4LSC

    I think Phil deserves a $8.5M 8 year contract. Potentially hard to justify if the Naz line really out scores them, assuming the line combos are unchanged.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Tim Horton Reversethecurse67 via the FAQ I see that you should easily be able to do it from a URL, but as I was trying, not sure yet if your own file can be supported..

  • MikeGartner11

    Waiting4LSC NO! Good teams have several good players on them. Pittsburg gets to have Crosby and Malkin. Im sure we can figure out Kadri/Kessel

  • Alec Brownscombe

    Waiting4LSC I still expect Kessel to be our top scorer though? Not sure the line production comparison matters

  • Tim Horton

    Reversethecurse67 Tim Horton Never tried from a  personal file..  it takes 5 seconds to upload it to imgurl if you really want to have it embedded though.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Reversethecurse67 Tim Horton 
    Interesting site.  Apparently you can upload pics from your computer to the site…..and then copy/paste the addy here.  I assume that’s how it works.  Of course you would have to register yourself for the site first.

  • Cameron19

    Waiting4LSC Also, Clarkson is an ineffectual top line forward.  He really struggled when he had to do that in NJ.  He is an ideal 2nd/3rd line forward, when he doesn’t have to go against top notch competition.  And Lupul will probably only play 65 games.  And even Kadri is going to have a learning curve going against top lines and D pairs – he was heavily sheltered for good chunks of last season.  So yea, I think there’s a ways to go before anyone supplants Phil Kessel.

  • Tim Horton

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Reversethecurse67 Tim Horton Don’t think so. I don’t have an account and uploaded pictures there to post places.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Radar O’Rielly

    Shift_Disturber1 My response.

    https://twitter.com/Amoroqhttps://twitter.com/Amoroq/status/381894565289926656
    https://twitter.com/Scondrasht https://twitter.com/LiamWCVB https://twitter.com/TheGreatestbar Imagine a bar in Toronto with a mural of Hull with his toe in the crease, with Sabre fans in town,

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Tim Horton Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Reversethecurse67
    You’re correct.
    http://imgur.com/U8QE0bL

  • GreekGod

    Cameron19 Waiting4LSC 
    Well, to be fair he struggled because NJD were terrible at scoring last year. I think with Lupul and Kadri on his line… Clarkson will be more effective

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Tim Horton Reversethecurse67 
    I just uploaded this pic from my computer.  It’s the 427 southbound after that freak rain storm 2 months back.

  • Jmessih

    So the live draft for our league is at the same time as the game….nice

  • Reversethecurse67

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Tim Horton Reversethecurse67 yea that’s like 10 minutes from my folks place

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Tim Horton Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Reversethecurse67 
    Many thanks, Tim!!  I had no idea.  I figured there was no way to post pics from one’s computer with the switch to Firefly.
    Thx again…

  • Cameron19

    GreekGod Cameron19 Waiting4LSC Lupul is a downgrade on Kovalchuk, and while Kadri may be better soon, Elias has been a top 10 scorer in 2012, and has put up 114 points in his last 129 games. It’s not like he’s going to a better situation line-mate wise, so I don’t see how he’s going to be more effective.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Tim Horton Reversethecurse67 test for Burkie!
    http://imgur.com/Sd1U2WM

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Reversethecurse67 Bon Scott was a Leaf fan Tim Horton 
    Oh man…that’s fucking priceless!!

  • Waiting4LSC

    I expect so to. Mike makes a good point. I just question at this point, if RC maintains the pairings whether Phil is able to produce at his best. Put him with Naz and Luups, or maybe Naz and Clarkson and he has every opportunity to hit the next level. He needs the playmaker, he needs the puck getter, and he needs the skill to read his play making. I don’t see that potential with his current line.

  • Reversethecurse67

    Leafs Game! Leafs Game!
    http://imgur.com/Sd1U2WM

  • Tim Horton

    -Keon- TheCanucksnaphook Got rear ended on the 417 in Ottawa 2 days ago… In my BRAND NEW 2013  RAV 4… I walked away completely unscathed but my girlfriend is on 4 different pain meds and can barley walk. Its kinda weird how the injuries like that turn out… I was in a accident on the 401 a few years back where everyone but me ended up injured. I think I may be made of rock.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    Tim Horton -Keon- TheCanucksnaphook 
    I know the 417.  I drive it often on route to my cottage.  Was there 2 weeks ago, actually.  Glad you survived.  Hope your GF recoups ok.

  • Cameron19

    Tim Horton -Keon- TheCanucksnaphook Glad you’re okay.  Hope she has a quick recovery.

  • Jmessih

    TheCanucksnaphook Defence does not look the greatest….

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook 
    Bernie gonna get a zero GAA tonight, sucka!!

  • Tim Horton

    -Keon- Tim Horton TheCanucksnaphook Thanks she will be alrght. She broke her back and had it fused when she was 16 so she mainly just aggravated that. Never seen it, but I should.

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton -Keon- 
    Life can change in a split second, bro.

  • Waiting4LSC

    If he plays really well, greater fuel for the #1 debate. Hockey Gods love setting the Leafs up.

  • Tim Horton

    Bon Scott was a Leaf fan TheCanucksnaphook Tim Horton -Keon- Ya it is really a crazy world. My girlfriend works with someone who was on the bus in ottawa that crashed into a train and killed 6 people.

  • Waiting4LSC

    Key to Bernier’s game will be rebound control, Reims’ Achilles heel.

  • GreekGod

    Cameron19 GreekGod Waiting4LSC 
    Kovalchuk played most of last season on the second line with Henrique. While Clarkson played on the top line with Elias and Zajac.
    Personally, I consider kadri to be more creative then Zajac. Lupul has shown, when healthy, that he can put up points like a Kovalchuk or Elias. 
    Lupul – Kadri – Clarkson is better then:
    Elias – Zajac – Clarkson

  • Waiting4LSC

    Lmao. Thank you. :)))

  • theacs1966

    TheCanucksnaphook Waiting4LSC Mmmmmm, maybe the five hole too.

  • Reversethecurse67

    -Keon- that’s like blowing up an ant with a nuclear bomb. Save the dirtiest tricks for the dirtiest scum: the Scabs and the Turds!

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/winsford99https://twitter.com/winsford99/status/381900227101601792
    “https://twitter.com/reporterchris: Heard outside the Air Canada Centre: “Hockey tickets half price.” So they were only $200 each?

  • Reversethecurse67

    TheCanucksnaphook Reversethecurse67 -Keon- not if Broll is in the lineup

  • Bon Scott was a Leaf fan

    wiski 
    STFU Strachan!!  You are a has-been.