The baby Leafs cruised past a Philadelphia Flyers B team playing an increasingly dirty game Thursday evening. The first victory in a, so-far, entertaining pre-season; the Leafs acquitted themselves well with a lineup that could be argued weaker than that iced the night previous.
Of particular note was the game Kadri and Hagman had going on together. Great chemistry on what was a dynamite line for the night combining for the opening two goals.
With the two teams meeting again on Saturday night, the opportunity for renewed rivalry will make the rematch a tantalizing prospect, especially as the fragile Leafs of last season looked a distant memory, even with the likes of Orr, Primeau and Mayers scratched. Carcillo and Asham in particular should be deserved of some attention.
Hagman: First star performance and the architect of a superb night for Nazem Kadri. Combined with the young Knight superbly, worked tirelessly and confused the Flyers defence with his continued forays into open ice.
Kadri: Looked far more settled tonight and playing alongside more offensively aware partners in Stempniak and Hagman looked the real deal. Full of tricks and scored a great goal in front of his junior team fans.
Stempniak: The Stempniak of old, or the Stempniak of the Blues pre-season a year ago? Was less instrumental to Kadri than Hagman but scored hounding the front of the net.
Rosehill: So much more than a slugger, great industry and energy in the first two periods and showed a lot of heart standing up for his teammates. Could have scored late in the game and didn’t look out of place replacing Stalberg on the college line. A good game.
Stalberg: Staking a claim at the big time last night, looked a different player tonight. Struggled with the puck and showed a lot of movement but it all resulted in a whole lot of nothing. Injured in the third.
Hanson: Plays hard through the middle and got himself a goal in a crease scramble. Utilitarian and unspectacular in application.
Bozak: Suffered the quieter form of Stalberg. Still working great of the puck but needs to make more heads up plays on special teams.
Wallin: Showed himself a competent Pk’er but looked too easy to shift from the puck in corners.
Grabovski: The ire of the Flyers dirtiest plays, looked lightweight in getting repeatedly hit but got up and scored an ugly goal. Industrious, tireless and hard working.
Ponikarovsky: Aside from a few nice linkups, didn’t dominate the young offense as much as he should.
Ondrus: Looks every bit the AHLer, but what a punch when facing a beatdown. Worked hard in the corners but lacks that extra quality.
Kulemin: Hit and miss again. Assisted on Grabovski’s goal but skates in and out of shifts. Needs to apply himself more consistently.
Schenn: Workmanlike. Took care of his end and stood up for his teammates. Did well on a 2 on 1. Prototypically astute Schenn performance and looks all the more mature.
Komisarek: Did Kabby’s dirty work and did it well. Pairing him with the fragile Czech looks like a match made in heaven.
Kaberle: So much more time, looked more at home on the bench and assisted on both goals manning the point with greater authority. Should enjoy a brighter year alongside Komisarek.
Gunnarsson: Inconsistent. At times looks settled and showed himself to be more truculent in the corners. But turned over the puck way too often and was lazy getting back after the fact.
Blacker: Once more the occasional suicidal trek forward, but was more accountable at back than he was in the rookie tournament and owned Richards and Carter on a couple of plays. Had the audacity to tell Kaberle where he wanted him on the PP. Looked good on the point.
Rogers: Solid, little more.
MacDonald: Had little to do in his portion of the game but what he had to do he did well. Absorbed potential rebounds.
Reimer: Hold the knee jerk reactions, is this the kid from the rookie tournament? Pulled off several important saves and looked comfortable.