Wednesday evening the Leafs played a pair of split-squad games against the Senators. Two games, happening at the same time, 450 kilometres apart.
It was a lot to wrap our heads around, but we came through. Find Jeff’s recap of the Toronto game right here.
Over in Ottawa, the Leafs sent a paper-thin lineup to take on guys like Karlsson, Ryan, Turris, and MacArthur. The game went as expected, but on the backs of Carrick and Rielly, the Leafs kept it close to the end.
First off, let’s talk about the players that dressed in this game. Rielly, Booth, and Winnik were arguably the only true NHL players to suit up for the Leafs. Holland, Frattin, and Ashton were also in there, but this was a skeleton crew for sure.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Leafs kept things knotted through the first, with Bibeau looking strong until the opening goals from Ryan and Puempel in the second. Sam Carrick then used a nice one-hand chip pass from Rielly through the neutral zone to step in and beat Anderson and bring things within one heading into the third.
Bobby Ryan was having a game in this one, and quickly tipped another goal past Heeter to open the third. That whole line of Turris, Ryan, and MacArthur really made things tough for the Leafs’ weak lineup. Otherwise they didn’t look too out of place.
Things stayed at 3-1 through the third until Rielly scored with 26 seconds left in regulation to haul things back to within one, and as the clock was running out, Daniel Winnik pinged one off the post that would have sent it to overtime.
Sam Carrick looked solid in this game. The Leafs’ regulars and fringe guys were fine too, but for guys who haven’t had much of a sniff of the NHL, Carrick was the most notable. He finished with a goal and an assist on the night, and stayed above water at evens with a Corsi For percentage of 61%.
There are still four games left, but the Leafs are expected to make a big round of cuts today, and we’ll see if Carrick sticks around. He definitely did enough last night to get another look or two.
- I was impressed by Winnik and Booth. They both sort of played a quiet game, but didn’t appear to get into too much trouble defensively considering the loaded lineup they were up against. As preseason moves along, I’m interested to see them join a more complete Leafs lineup and get to support better talent around them.
- The Leafs didn’t get one powerplay in this game. There was a call against the Senators in the third, but it just evened things up as Holzer was already serving a double minor. Boring.
- Shots in the game favoured the Senators 35-22 overall due to a lopsided second period where they outshot the Leafs 17-4.