Slow first period for Maple Leafs helps Senators open preseason with a win: Maple Leafs postgame
Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
By Joseph Zita2 months ago
After what was a long time without a Maple Leafs game on TV, we finally got to see them in action as they visited their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, for their first preseason game this afternoon.
Before the game, the Maple Leafs announced the roster that would play in today’s game. Obviously, with it being the preseason, there was going to be a split between AHL and NHL players on both teams.
For Toronto, it was mostly AHL players with about seven everyday NHL players.
It wasn’t a good opening period for the Toronto Maple Leafs. They started off out-shooting the Senators 4-2 and had a couple of good looks early on, but once the Senators went on the power play and started creating chances as well as scoring on them, it went downhill fast for Toronto and they didn’t generate much at all through the first 20 minutes of play.
Not only did Ottawa out-shoot Toronto 24-7 in the first period, but they also out-scored them 2-0 with goals coming from two of their star players, Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle, as Toronto simply had no answer for the Senators’ offence at even-strength and on the power-play.
However, the second period and beyond was a different story for both teams. If it wasn’t for a horrible start for Toronto, they would have had a legit chance at being 1-0 to start the preseason.
After getting dominated through the first 20 minutes, the Maple Leafs came out after intermission and looked like a different team.
Out-shooting the Senators 17-4 not only helped them change the momentum of the game, but also helped them to get back in the game and eventually tie it late in the second period before Tim Stutzle scored his second of the night to take the lead again.
The two Toronto goals came from defenseman William Lagesson at 9:32 of the second period and forward Alex Steeves at 17:50 of the second period as the power-play was just expiring.
The third period was similar to the second period for the Maple Leafs just without the scoring part. After out-shooting Ottawa 17-4 in the previous frame, Toronto continued that into the final period and out shot them 14-4 to try and come back to tie the game up but were not able to after a brilliant game from Senators goalie Anton Forsberg.
As the game progressed, we got to see William Nylander and Max Domi form some pretty nice chemistry and that is fantastic to see early on, that’s for sure.
However, despite out-shooting the Senators 31-8 in the final 40 minutes, it wasn’t good enough to grab their first victory of the preseason as they fall to their rivals 3-2 in regulation.
What went wrong:
Although they found the scoresheet on the power play late in the second period, they didn’t look all that great on the man advantage in today’s game and ended up going 1 for 6 in their first preseason game under new assistant coach Guy Boucher. They only managed four shots through the first three attempts and despite having six opportunities, they couldn’t get back in the game on the scoreboard.
Sticking with the special teams, they took four penalties – three in the first period – and were only able to kill off two of them going 50% on the penalty kill today. Now obviously it’s the very first game of the preseason and we shouldn’t expect them to be near perfect on special teams, but you could make an argument that on top of a slow start to the game, the special teams didn’t help them at all in today’s game.
The Maple Leafs are back in action tomorrow night against the Senators as they host them at Scotiabank Arena. Puck drop scheduled for 7:00 pm ET on Sportsnet.
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