Second game of the preseason: also against the Senators, also a loss. But before we get to that, important new information has come to light regarding Mitch Marner.
Things I did not know: Mitch Marner's nickname as a kid was Mickey Mouse.
Now it's his nickname with the Leafs. Better than Mitchy.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) September 19, 2017
Such great stuff we miss when Marner isn’t in the lineup. (See also: his assist on van Riemsdyk’s goal tonight.)
Back to the hockey part of things, here’s the lineup both teams went with for Leafs-Sens Preseason Matchup 2.0:
Marleau – Kadri – Komarov
JvR – Bozak – Marner
Johnsson – Smith – Grundstrom
Rychel – Greening – T. Moore
Gardiner – Borgman
Marincin – LoVerde
Valiev – Holl
McCormick – Thompson – Pyatt
VandeVelde – Brown – DiDomenico
Batherson – Reinhart – Kelly
Formenton – Chlapik – Blunden
Borowiecki – Claesson
Harpur – Wideman
Burgdoerfer – Sieloff
This game started out a lot better for the Leafs than the last one against Ottawa. They opened with a few nice scoring chances, but a Marincin giveaway on the PK gave the Senators another early lead.
Halfway through the first, the Leafs were able to tie it up 1-1. Not to get too excited, but Patrick Marleau’s first goal in a Leafs sweater was definitely something we’ll enjoy seeing more of. Marleau saw his chance and took off ahead of the defence before going top shelf on Mike Condon.
The followup a few minutes later was a tic-tac-toe powerplay goal from James van Riemsdyk, assisted by Marner and Gardiner, which was a nice way to finish up the first period, up 2-1.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) September 20, 2017
There was almost some excitement early on when Mike Blunden didn’t like a hit he took from Andreas Johnsson. But after a confrontation and a brief wrestling match, Johnsson got Blunden down on the ice. Blunden got hit with a misconduct and an instigator penalty on top of the five for fighting, and Johnsson just sat for five, since the officials didn’t agree with Blunden that it was a dirty hit.
Fredrik Claesson evened things back up for Ottawa with another powerplay goal in the last five minutes of the period, after Martin Marincin was called for “slashing”. According to NHL.com there were only five slashing penalties called in this game, but by the new standards apparently being used, maybe there should have even been a few more.
Marincin gets stick on stick. 2 minute penalty.
Borowiecki with the exact same play. Nothing.
— Flintor (@TheFlintor) September 20, 2017
Gotta love pre-season officiating! (We can probably afford to give them a pass for now, on the grounds that “it’s pre-season for everybody.”)
Kasimir Kaskisuo took over in goal for Frederik Andersen to start the third, and after half a period without much action, Erik Burgdoerfer came straight out of the box and got one past him. That one was kind of an unlucky mess for the Leafs, and it ended up being the game-winner.
With the new rules being enforced so heavily in the first 50 minutes (especially at the faceoff dot), the last ten minutes of this game really seemed to fly by without a whistle, including the two empty-net goals Ottawa slipped in to win the game 5-2.
Although the Leafs’ top two lines in this game (and the Matthews line) are a lock for the opening night roster, it’s been nice to see some genuine competition for the last few forward spots. Carl Grundstrom and Andreas Johnsson had some good moments, as did the Holl-Valiev pairing on the back end.
I quickly lost count of how many times someone was thrown out of a faceoff, but Tyler Bozak did the math.
Bozak on face-offs: "I think I got kicked out more than I took tonight almost. It's going to be a learning curve."
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) September 20, 2017
Quote of the game, however, goes to Ottawa’s Fredrik Claesson, who responded to an intermission question about his goal by saying, “I just sniped it, you know.”
Also worth mentioning is Mike Babcock’s postgame comment that the Leafs won’t be making any more cuts for now, as they plan to keep the current 49 guys to finish out the pre-season.
And the Leafs will be back in (preseason) action this weekend with a similar back-to-back against the Buffalo Sabres.