Leafs Postgame: Toronto Split Squads Go Two-for-Two

There’s fewer things better than watching the Toronto Maple Leafs beat up on the Ottawa Senators, but twice in one night? Apparently we can have nice things!

Both of Toronto’s split squad teams were victorious tonight, winning 4-1 in Toronto and 4-3 in OT in Ottawa. Read on for the run downs on both games…

Toronto Rundown (from Justin)

Before we kick things off… Mike Babcock. Behind a Leafs bench. Coaching a Leafs team. When you see it for the first time, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Carrying on…

I get that it’s just a preseason game, but it would have been pretty bad to watch the Leafs lose to the much, much, much less talented half of the Ottawa Senators organization. With their star players back home in Kanata, the Senators sent a hodgepodge squad mostly consisting of role players, prospects and long shots to Toronto. It wasn’t really a surprise to see 

Newcomers P.A. Parenteau and Nick Spaling would open the scoring midway through the first period, scoring a couple quick goals just 30 seconds apart to put the Leafs up 2-0. After a scoreless second period, Toronto would pick up where they left off in the first with two more goals in the third from Parenteau again and Stuart Percy. They would concede a goal early in the third frame on a Mike Hoffman breakaway goal, but Toronto would outshoot Ottawa 39-29, thoroughly outplaying the Senators throughout the game.

And while he wasn’t exactly pushed to his goaltending limits, Jonathan Bernier had a solid 25-save night. Though he had the option to give way for Antoine Bibeau, Bernier stayed in the game for a full 60 minutes and looked sharp throughout.

Ottawa Rundown (from Jeff)

While the Leafs looked out of this game within minutes of it starting, the group in white showed that there’s room for a strong effort at any point in the year. Rather than curl up into a ball and look ahead to the next one after Bobby Ryan put the Sens up 2-0 just thirteen minutes into the game, the group recomposed themselves spectacularly.

Full credit goes to Dmytro Timashov for helping reverse the tide; he used the point well to feed both Dion Phaneuf and TJ Brennan for the goals that eventually evened things up. Erik Karlsson put the Leafs in trouble again midway through the second period, but at this point, the big guns took over. Nazem Kadri set up Joffrey Lupul not once, but twice  in the remainder of the game, including the game winner.

That game winner, by the way, came in three-on-three overtime. That was something else; one mistake is enough to change the entire course of the game, and Karlsson certainly showed up. Because of this, Kadri was able to send TJ Brennan out to pull the trigger on what became the close-quarters feed for Lupul, which he used to seal the deal.

The Leafs outshout the Sens 37-32, and really, looked good for the bulk of the game. Considering this was the least impressive of the two matchups, the preseason has certainly gotten to a very good start.

Blue Warrior(s)

In the Home Game, P.A. Parenteau gets the Blue Warrior title tonight. In his first game in a Leafs uniform (preseason, I know), one of Toronto’s key free agent signings made a great first impression with two goals. Shoutout to Morgan Rielly who was fantastic on the back end, and William Nylander, who’s pretty pass set up Parenteau’s second goal.

In the Ottawa game, there are a few worthy players but we’re going to go with Joffrey Lupul. Not only did he score the game-tying goal and the overtime winner, but he also managed to not get hurt. This is a big deal these days. But seriously though, if Toronto has any hopes of surprising some teams and creeping up the standings this season, they’ll need Lupul to play like a real top six forward – he’s certainly off to a good start. If not Lupul, you could make a solid argument for Nazem Kadri and Dmytro Timashov deserving the Blue Warrior honours tonight. 

See You Tomorrow

The Leafs preseason tour continues tomorrow in La Belle Province against the Montreal Canadiens. Tune in to TSN4 at 7:30pm.

  • Gary Empey

    I could only get the Ottawa game here. What I noticed was all of the five forwards coming back when Ottawa had the puck. Very fast paced game. Reimer looked a little shaky letting in a couple of long wrist shots. I think Ottawa expected to walk all over the Leafs.

    My Blue Warrior:

    Dmytro Timashov’s ability to hit an open man with a perfect pass.

    I wonder if Ottawa should bench Erik Karlsson for having long hair and a moustache and goatee ?

  • SEER

    I also watched the Ottawa game , and it was great to see the Leafs play!
    I dont remember the Leafs being trapped inside the defensive zone for long stretches and they weren’t massively outshot either.
    I thought C Glencross was very noticeable out there even if he didn’t score.
    Certainly a great start all in all!

    • Gary Empey

      Hi Allan. Nice to see you checking out this site. I think it is the best site for Leaf fans. Lot of thoughtful articles and comments to be found here.

      As for the Leafs it is looking like the only way they are going to be beat it to outwork the whole team for 60 minutes each game.

  • V

    I saw the Toronto game. If have to say that babcocks coaching was noticeable through the game; subtle line changes, teaching from the bench and the systems look better than in years past ( even for just the first game).

    Another player I think needs to be mentioned is JVR. He seemed to really take well to babcock. Hustle on the back check and a few good offensive plays he had and we can almost forget the hit he layed out.

    I also like grabner paired up with setoguchi. Seto might not have been super noticeable, but he worked hard while he was out there and I wouldn’t be mad if we signed him. Even as a redemption contract for a fourth line player.

    Can’t wait to see tomorrow’s game live in Montreal!! Perks of moving into enemy territory I guess…

  • Gary Empey

    For a first yr CHL player to put up 71 assists, is remarkable. More remarkable is that he fell to the fifth round. Super stars have stats like that in junior. After reading up on him and seeing a few vids, I think we got a steal… Dmityro for Captain! Someone has to set up all those goals Willie is going to score.

  • giproc

    How did everyone view the dmen? I went back and forth between the 2 games on HockeyStreams. From what I saw, Reilly excelled and Gardiner was very good.

    I thought Loov and Marincin were both solid. Percy was okay.

    Polak was out of position a few times, possibly trying to do too much, but he made up for it by hammering the guy that ran Connor Brown. Hunwick and Brennan seemed a little inconsistent.