Leafs Down Flyers 4-3 in Preseason Opener

Justin Fisher
September 15 2013 08:28PM

Little David Broll. Still terrifyingly huge.

Hey look, hockey is (kind of) back!

A handful of Leafs regulars and a supporting cast of hopefuls took down the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this evening at the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, winning their first preseason game 4-3.

The Leafs came out strong, scoring early and often to jump to a three goal lead. Nazem Kadri opened up the scoring when he toe-dragged for what seemed like eternity around a sprawling Hal Gill, then snapped a shot past goaltender Steve Mason.

Newcomer Troy Bodie was the next to score, burying a puck in the low slot after 2013 first rounder Frederik Gauthier retrieved the puck from behind the net and fed it out front.

That goal was shortly followed up by a Mason Raymond breakaway marker, largely a product of his ridiculous foot speed.

With a comfortable three goal lead, the game began to turn on the Leafs. No longer forechecking and looking a little passive, the Flyers responded with three straight goals from Doug Clarkson (David's brother!), Brayden Schenn (Luke's brother!), and Nick Cousins (Some guy!).

Flashes of black and gold. Classic!

James Reimer, who started the game, gave up three goals on 17 shots, giving way to Christopher Gibson after 28 minutes of play. This was a planned switch, so stop freaking out.

Later in the second period, Paul Ranger scored the go-ahead goal and made everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. Because everything Paul Ranger does makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside. And that's ok.

And that's how it ended! 4-3 win for the Leafs! A sign of things to come, surely.

(4-3. The Leafs will win every game this year 4-3.)

Some thoughts…

- Mason Raymond looked good. I'd wholeheartedly endorse the Leafs signing him to a one-year deal for almost any amount under $2M, if it wasn't for the fact that the Leafs' cap situation is kind of a mess. I'm not signing Raymond if it means Cody Franson isn't coming back.

- James Reimer gave up three goals. Jonathan Bernier, who didn't even dress tonight, gave up zero goals. I'm pretty sure that makes Bernier the Leafs' new number one goalie, so get over it will you?

- Gauthier's assist on Brodie's goal was really nice to see. Not that it was some wildly amazing seeing-eye pass, but because Gauthier used his massive frame behind the net to dig the puck out, create separation, and make the pass. Good work from one of the youngest guys on the ice.

- During intermission, LeafsTV aired a short clip of David Broll scoring a goal for the Toronto Young Nationals back in his pre-OHL days. Even as a 15 year old, I'm pretty sure Broll could kick my 25 year old butt.

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Justin Fisher is a Toronto-based writer of sorts. He likes hockey and comic books and sriracha sauce. He doesn't like Don Cherry. Follow him on Twitter: @thejustinfisher
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#1 KentDouglas
September 16 2013, 06:35AM
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Paul Ranger is a cerebral Dion Phaneuf and he makes the Leaf captain expendable. If there is a contract that should be moved it is Phaneuf's. Ultimately the Leafs can't afford both Kessel and Phaneuf so trade Phaneuf now to the Oilers for a good young forward, sign Franson and Raymond and lets get on with it.

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#2 LeafHead2154
September 16 2013, 07:49AM
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Two random thoughts:

1. With Carlyle musing openly about the salary cap being a factor in choosing players out of camp, what happened to the 'best players out of camp will make it' line from Leafs management?

2. Most of the prospects and even Ranger said that they got used to the pace after the 1st period. Then why did the Leafs suck in the 2nd period? They gave up 3 goals and allowed the Flyers to even the score. You see, what everybody forgets is that in these pre-season games, the veterans usually shut it off after a while and that does have a major effect on the game.

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