This game was an abject waste of everybody’s time. On top of being one of the poorer-played games we’ve ever seen out of two NHL teams, the refs’ eagerness to call everything and anything made it a choppy, special-team-dominated affair. 18 minor penalties and one major penalty were assessed in sixty minutes of truly uninspiring hockey.
The teams split 11 shots in the first period despite six penalties being assessed. The Maple Leafs won last night after allowing 38 shots on goal, and lost tonight after allowing just 17.
The biggest positive after this eighth game of preseason: Just one more...
The Maple Leafs trimmed the roster down to 29 earlier today, but even subtracting William Nylander and one of Colton Orr and Fraser McLaren, the Leafs still have 16 forwards vying for 12 spots. David Booth's foot fracture (out for at least a month) brings that total down to 15 for now. Still lots left to sort out with two games to go.
We'll update with the defence pairs when they're known.
The Maple Leafs moved to 4-1-1 in preseason with a game that followed an awfully familiar script:
The Leafs' first line was dangerous in both ends.
The Leafs gave up way too many shots, including 15 in 13 minutes in the 2nd period, and 38 overall.
Jonathan Bernier was the Leafs' 1st star.
The Leafs won an unconvincing game in a shootout.
We won't hit the panic button until the results are similar with the full lineup, and system changes aren't learned and executed perfectly overnight, but the early signs could be more encouraging.
A few other quick notes:
David Booth left the game with a bruised foot from a shot block, but...
With three preseason games remaining, the pace should start to ramp up as the vets begin to ramp things up to regular season intensity and the roster spot battles come down to the wire.
Stephane Robidas has been cleared for contact, so he'll begin participating in the battle drills, but he won't play tonight.
The Leafs' top line from last season is expected to play together for the first time in preseason.
The Toronto Maple Leafs still seem to be working through systemic issues, learning new defensive and neutral zone systems, but the shots against remain a red flag.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres Player Notes
Tyler Bozak - Had an up and down first game. Bozak had three points, but he also gave up the puck in the middle of the D zone leading to a goal, and had an opportunity to make a play on another puck during a different goal against (albeit, it was a tough play and bouncing puck). Was nice to see him producing without Kessel though, and he...
A Leafs team that was short on energy after playing back to back and a veteran group short on effort gave the fans little to cheer about consistently. A fairly boring game—even by preseason standards.
James van Riemsdyk - Very good game for JVR. Had a number of good chances, was trying unlike a lot of the team.
Mike Santorelli - Another good showing for Santorelli. Even in back-to-back games, he kept his legs moving all night, was hard on pucks, showed some good hands and was a consistent performer.
Phil Kessel - Certainly not a game he was challenged in....
The Sens' top line of Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur could do whatever they wanted against a weaker Leaf lineup, but the Leafs got pretty good goaltending and hung around despite a 35-22 shot count, skating to a 3-2 final.
The Leafs made it mildly interesting in the final minute when Morgan Rielly scored with 30 seconds left, and Daniel Winnik nearly put an exclamation mark on a nice game by nearly tying it, hitting the post with a few seconds remaining.
Some player notes:
Morgan Rielly – Good game. Started with a nice rush in the first; followed it up...
Jonas Siegel @jonasTSN1050
Probable lines for Leafs in TOR:
Jonas Siegel @jonasTSN1050
10 Questions: Part 3 — Will the Maple Leafs change the top line? MLHS
10 Questions: Part 2 — Will Stephane Robidas and Roman Polak improve the defence? MLHS
Randy Carlyle Post Game – Leafs 3 vs. Flyers 2 MLHS
Game Review: Preseason Game #1, Leafs 3 vs. Flyers 2 (SO) MLHS
Randy Carlyle Post Game – Leafs 4 vs. Flyers 0 MLHS
Game in Six Minutes – Game #2 vs Flyers MLHS
Game Review: Preseason Game #2, Maple Leafs 4 vs. Flyers 0 MLHS
Dave Nonis on Prime Time Sports MLHS
Can William Nylander make the jump like a certain small, speedy Maple Leaf...
Thanks to a 4-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, the Maple Leafs are now 2-0 in preseason. While that means exactly nothing, especially given this was the exact same Flyers lineup playing its second night in a row, we did get our first looks at William Nylander (rookie tourney notwithstanding), Mike Santorelli, Roman Polak and Henrik Tallinder.
With five regular NHL defencemen in the lineup, it was good to see the Leafs gave their goaltenders just 14 shots of work through two periods, although Antoine Bibeau needed a 13-save effort to preserve the shutout in the third. We'll have to see what he...
It’s our first look at William Nylander in NHL action and it’s just as we dreamed back in June – on a line with Phil Kessel.
Mike Santorelli will play between them in a nice opportunity in his first game as a Leaf. Hopefully looks good in the middle because the Leafs could use the additional options at center to be sure.
Five of the six D are NHL regulars, with the sixth being Viktor Loov, who is looking to build on a rookie camp showing that turned some heads.
The loveable #47 is back in Blue and White for the first time this...
Tuesday Night Lineup vs. Flyers
Game Review: Preseason Game #1, Maple Leafs 3 vs. Flyers 2 (SO)
Painstaking details on the preseason opener.
Elliotte Friedman: 30 Thoughts -- Summer training a growing concern
Re: The Swarm: "One of the keys, apparently, is the team will not “swarm” until the puck is stopped or the puck carrier under control. Last year, the swarm began beforehand, which led to breakdowns."
Jonas Siegel: Petri Kontiola gives the NHL one last shot
Not the best opening salvo, but it's early and he's got adjustments to make.
Toronto Star: Maple Leafs couldn't veto NHL expansion to GTA, Bettman says
"If you’re asking...
It was choppy (early)preseason hockey to be sure, but some players stood out for different reasons.
The Maple Leafs played a good first, were mostly snowed under in the second – falling behind 2-0 – but battled back on goals from Nazem Kadri and Tom Nilsson (set up beautifully by Kadri). David Booth was the lone goal scorer in the shootout.
- Expect Petri Kontiola to get lots of ice this preseason, or the coaching staff would be wise to give him lots anyway, because it's clear he is experiencing an adjustment, perhaps moreso than any of the other bubble forwards....