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 again didn’t make much of an impact in his third game of preseason before leaving the game.
  • Brandon Kozun looked pretty good again, and really stood out covering ice on the penalty kill. It doesn’t sound like Booth’s injury is too serious, but Kozun would probably be the left winger to step into his place if need be.
  • Sam Carrick didn’t see much ice, playing under eight minutes this evening. Matt Frattin saw just 12 minutes as well.
  • A good lesson on the importance of blueline depth these past two games: Henrik Tallinder’s chances of making the team went kaput with his shoulder separation and the Leafs may now be without a significant piece on the back end if Cody Franson‘s kneecap injury is serious. Whether it was good idea or not, the Leafs  coaching staff seemed to have some thoughts about a Phaneuf and Franson pairing, so what they’ll do if Franson is out for a significant amount of time we’re not sure.  We’ll await word on the magnitude of the injury.
  • An encouraging sign: Morgan Rielly looked good playing a whopping 27 minutes of icetime this evening. With their already-thin blueline depth possibly taking a hit tonight, the Leafs can nary afford him taking a step sideways, let alone backward, this season; he’s had a good preseason that would suggest that won’t be the case.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Buffalo Sabres Player Stats

C. FransonD011-1031200-4:000:5715:12
P. GranbergD0110011110-0:104:0920:23
D. BoothL0000001102-0:050:4710:05
J. van RiemsdykL101-1250110100%3:511:1721:51
P. HollandC000-101120153%0:053:4616:44
C. OrrR0000702000-0:000:004:03
J. LeivoL0000211002-2:100:0014:35
M. FrattinR0000001100-0:150:0012:24
T. BozakC000002200063%3:510:5921:44
N. KadriC000004100160%2:101:3720:05
M. RiellyD000-1012010-2:523:0527:10:00
S. PercyD0111010010-2:013:5122:02
J. GardinerD000-1211112-3:300:0524:40:00
S. CarrickC000000000047%0:003:167:57
K. HolzerD0000213310-0:152:3720:45
W. NylanderC0000021000-2:120:0017:38
B. KozunR0000021201-0:003:1711:56
P. KesselR112-1040000-4:030:0021:04
A. Bibeau0 - 0000:00
J. Bernier36 - 380.947064:31:00

Game Highlights

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosted "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covered the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at