The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators decided that the best way to keep the fans happy was to play two games in two cities at the exact same time. I don’t know if it did anything other than tutor everybody on the difference between TSN4 and TSN 5, but I digress. Ryan will hook you up with what you need to know about the game in the Canadian Tire Centre, but here’s what happened in Toronto:
They don’t call Nazem Kadri’s hands “Nifty Mittens” for nothing. Just two minutes in, the super skilled centre took a shot from the point, got blocked, and, well… just watch.
Gorgeous. But one of just four shots of the period for the Leafs, while the Sens just poured in on, chucking fourteen pucks at James Reimer in the opening twenty.
Midway through the second period, the Leafs found themselves on one of a handful of powerplays, thanks to a Patrick Wiercioch trip on Nazem Kadri. Thirty seconds into the man advantage, Jake Gardiner found himself with an opportunity to shoot and traffic in front of the net, and scored his first of the preseason.
Things weren’t all roses, however. Late in the period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau blazed past Stuart Percy, and while Christopher Gibson (who swapped with Reimer midway through) stopped the first shot, he couldn’t handle Shane Prince’s rebound.
The Leafs regained momentum to start the third period. Just under five minutes in, Cody Franson accepted a pass from Phil Kessel and turned it into a slap pass that neatly found its way onto James van Riemsdyk’s stick, beating Robin Lehner to bring the lead back to two. A little over two minutes later, however, Franson handed Jake Gardiner a saucer pass that really shouldn’t have had any sauce on it. The puck bounced off of Gardiner’s stick and into the possession of Alex Chiasson, who scored a shorthanded breakaway goal.
With six and a half minutes to go, Nazem Kadri found himself stuck in a scramble and attempted to dump the puck. Unfortunately for him, it went straight into Darren Kramer’s chest, and eventually lead to Ryan Dzingel tying the game. Eventually, things headed to a shootout, where Connor Brown scored for the Leafs, but Chiasson repeated history and Milan Michalek eventually scored the game winner.
I really wanted to give this one to Nazem Kadri, but making the play that lead to the tying goal is a deal breaker. So instead, I’ll go to James Reimer, for stopping all eighteen shots in his half game. In typical Leafs fashion, Reimer was hung out to dry, but made due with what he had.
- Nazem Kadri’s stretch pass to Phil Kessel in overtime was really nice, and almost won the Leafs the game.
- Petri Kontiola got put into some big even strength situations, including the last few shifts of the game. Next to no special teams time, however.
- William Nylander, while not as productive as last night, showed off some moments of skill once again.
- Connor Brown was far and away the best possession player on the team tonight; the Leafs had six more attempted shots for (13) than against (7) with him on the ice. Jake Gardiner was closest with two, and only Kadri and Nylander were also positive.
- The Leafs play again on Friday, taking on the Sabres in Buffalo.