Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #6 – Senators at Maple Leafs (7...

Preview and GDT: Preseason Game #6 – Senators at Maple Leafs (7 p.m., Leafs TV)

The Leafs will ice their top 6 forwards and what seems to be (as of today) their opening night defence group against a fairly weak Senators lineup in game #6 of preseason at the Air Canada Center tonight.

Nikolai Kulemin will flanking Kadri in David Clarkson’s projected spot. I think he’s the best fit for filling that role in Clarkson’s absence; of all of the productive line combinations Kadri centered last season, I thought the best iteration was him with Lupul and Kadri. Kulemin played one of his best stretches of hockey since his 30-goal campaign in his stint beside Kadri last season. He was doing all the small things right (first in on the forecheck, defensively responsible), battled hard as he always does, and can keep up with the pace of the other two. His play opened up some space for Lupul and Kadri to work their magic.

On defence, this group of 6 does not instill total confidence in me for when the real games start:

Phaneuf – Gunnarsson
Fraser – Gardiner
Rielly – Ranger

Phaneuf and Gunnarsson have proven capable of being a better than adequate top pairing, and Rielly and Ranger could potentially eat up weaker competition off the bottom pair, hopefully without costing the team too much in their own end of the rink. I’m not confident Fraser-Gardiner would be up to the task against the other team’s second scoring line. Maybe Ranger plays his way onto that second pairing and makes us forget about Franson, but to be honest Ranger and Gardiner seemed to be (while a very talented pairing) hazardous together. It might be best to ease Ranger into NHL action.

Part of my concern is Fraser clearly being out of his element when he flirted with top 4 minutes toward the end of last season. The other part is that Gardiner may need to play with someone capable of compensating for his loose defensive play. In principle, I like the idea of Gardiner being complemented by a stay-at-home guy who can win battles and make a short pass over to Gardiner. I’m just not sure this combination is up to the task under a 20 minute workload against good competition.

James Reimer will get the start, looking to build on his strong performance on Saturday in Buffalo (38 saves, 15 stops in the shootout).

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines

Maple Leafs Pre-Season Lines vs. Ottawa Senators
Forwards
JvRBozakKessel
LupulKadriKulemin
DevaneMcClementBroll
AshtonColborneBodie
Defense
PhaneufGunnarsson
GardinerFraser
RiellyRanger
Goalies
Reimer
MacIntyre

Senators Pre-Season Lines

Senators Pre-Season Lines vs. Maple Leafs
Forwards
MacArthurTurrisStone
DziurzynskiSmithNeil
GreeningDa CostaPetersson
CowickO'BrienRobinson
Defense
CowenWiercioch
BorowieckiCeci
SdaoCorvo
Goalies
Lehner
Hammond
536 comments
Thedoor29
Thedoor29

cant wait till friday doing my annual detroit preseason game and bringing my 5 year old to his first game

Optimustic
Optimustic

The last two game vs. Detroit should be interesting.  The players on both teams need to be getting a hate on for the opposition to revive the rivalry.   Ooooohhh Baby!

Zep2
Zep2

JVR has looked terrific so far, Lupul looked good and Kadri quiet tonite

On D, Ranger made a couple of poor pinches that hung Riemer and Rielly out to dry

Carlyle must have given Rielly the green lite - he was pushing fwd all nite. He was probably a -2, but not all his doing

For a a couple of big m id round picks, Devane and Broll can play the game a bit

Right now, Devane looks to have Fraser Macs spot and  Ashton takes Clarksons

whalz
whalz

Lost to the Baby sens tonight, good bc now cuts will be made tomorrow..JC, BROLL, HOLZER, Smith are my picks....Keep Ashton and Devane up.

JC had a horrible gm tonight, too many giveaways and no offense.,

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

Fuck I hate Ottawa !  That jersey is repulsive and that organization shouldn't exist.  *spit*

Luke_R
Luke_R

Soooo close there

Cameron19
Cameron19

Would be OT in regular season. 

mike_84
mike_84

almost had that tied up

GeorgeCastanza
GeorgeCastanza

C'mon Kadri. Bury one . Fuck I hate these turds preseason or not.

ingy56
ingy56

...and there's the Lone Ranger quip...what a waste on that play. 

Luke_R
Luke_R

Kule looking replaceable by the game

whalz
whalz

I think your on to something Wiski, I'm gonna BBM nonis right now.

whalz
whalz

I agree with you, he's a cheap option but man I'd trade him with LILES in a heartbeat to get some cap space...Not impressed at all with JC...Ashton and Devane have showed more

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Cameron19 @lukethenuke holy shit... like phaneuf, like clarkson earlier, like lupul, like colborne, i dont care who it is they havent looked good YET.  When they do, i will acknowledge... if kule was a rookie fighting for a 3rd line role right now i wouldnt be too too impressed thats all... show me something soon like the rooks are.  

Devane, Macwilliam, JVR, Gardiner, Rielly, reimer, bernier, gunner, ranger sometimes have all impressed!

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Cameron19 @lukethenuke other vets have looked good (kessel, JVR, Gunner, Ranger ...), others havent... and ive called out the poor performing vets... clarkson being one, who turned it around... waiting for lupul, bozak  still and if dion plays like he did after his goal then he too has turned it round.  

Cameron19
Cameron19

@lukethenuke @Cameron19 Umm, that this happens literally every year, and every year the people who take your position are horribly, horribly wrong...?  I honestly can't believe we go through this every year and still the same crap gets said.   

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Cameron19 @lukethenuke and in all fairness Dion hs looked better since that goal... confidence or a spark of adrenaline maybe is what he needed

Cameron19
Cameron19

@lukethenuke @Cameron19 LOL, Then you don't call the player replaceable if you mean "they haven't looked good in pre-season".  Holy Christ.  He's not even close to replaceable. 

Luke_R
Luke_R

@Cameron19 sum it up: not expecting word beating performance, but more than plug like- replacable like performances lol... play better than the bubble players thats it lol