-The world is pumped to see Trevor Smith’s Maple Leafs debut
After a 4-3 win last night, the Toronto Maple Leafs take to the ice again against the Philadelphia Flyers. They will have a similar roster to last night’s contest in London while the Leafs will swap out 17 players, giving fans our first look of the season at Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak. We’ll also see Trevor Smith and T.J. Brennan make their anticipated Leafs debuts, and to a lesser extent, David Clarkson and Jonathan Bernier.
I think our impressions of the Flyers last night were less than positive. A couple of their goals made their way through screens, and Philly’s defence looked awful to start the game. The Leafs’ first four shots were all excellent scoring chances, and it isn’t a ringing endorsement of Steve Mason to point out that all of them went in, although the first 10 minutes of a preseason contest isn’t the place to judge a goaltender.
(21) van Riemsdyk- (42) Bozak- (81) Kessel
(37) Ashton- (39) McKegg- (71) Clarkson
(29) D’Amigo- (23) Smith- (41) Kulemin
(48) Ross- (58) Crescenzi- (40) Bodie
(51) Gardiner- (25) Brennan
(8) Granberg- (44) Rielly
(2) Fraser- (57) MacWilliam
At least this update gives you jersey numbers, and at least the Leafs only have two guys with numbers in the 50s tonight. Again, here’s the Flyers road travel team.
What to look for? I don’t know. The Leafs’ first line will probably carve up that Flyers defence that is, again, without its three top players. The Flyers only sent a few NHL forwards up to Toronto on the trip, and with the Leafs icing what looks to be a stronger roster tonight with a few more vets in the lineup, it could get ugly.
Jake Gardiner and T.J. Brennan is an interesting defensive pairing. Both shoot left, and Brennan is on the bubble to make the Leafs this season. They don’t seem like a good fit, since Gardiner should be with a stabilizing presence like Mark Fraser or Cody Franson that can handle defensive minutes, but Brennan is a good skater and both guys should have no trouble activating themselves in the right situation. One thing Leafs defencemen didn’t do last season is pinch from the point, but with Gardiner in the lineup the whole season, plus the apparent fight between Brennan and Morgan Rielly for that final roster spot, the Leafs’ horses may be a little more capable this season.
Jerry D’Amigo, Trevor Smith and Nik Kulemin is another of those “potential fourth lines” you like if Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren are out for any reasonable stretch. Bernier gets the start. I’d expect it to be like James Reimer and Christopher Gibson last night, where they switched halfway through.
Puck drop is at… 7 Eastern. Sportsnet Ontario.