Leafs take first pre-season game, 4-3
Early on it looked like it might have been a blowout. However most of Leafs Nation knows better than to think that for too long.
Albeit it is a pre-season game, and most people don’t give a rat’s ass about them anyways (the games, not the Leafs), one only gets that same feeling of nausea deep down when watching the Leafs pick apart teams the way they did last night at the Budweiser Gardens in London (which is home of the OHL’s London Knights).
According to various reports, Leafs only played four of those players that were on the roster during May’s travesty in beantown, and they still just barely escaped last night with a win against the Philadelphia Flyers, who were actually dubbed as a home game, despite playing in a game outside of their own country!
Nazem Kadri opened the scoring with another one of those toe-drag goals. If you happened to be watching it live, you just knew it was going in.
The second Leafs goal was some rookie named Bodie after being set up from behind the net by top Leaf draft pick Frederik Gauthier.
Participating on a tryout basis, Mason Raymond showed that it may be tough to let him go, broke in alone and beat Flyer goalie Steve Mason to the blocker side to make it 3-0 Leafs. Raymond’s goal was also scored shorthanded.
Everything’s all fine and dandy now right?
Here come the Flyers.
Philadelphia would rebound with three consecutive goals, including Clarkson in the first and two more from Schenn and Cousins in the second.
It should come as a surprise to no one, coach Randy Carlyle didn’t think too much of this game.
“I would give this game an overall average grade. We are trying to establish some of the staples of a hockey system here,” he said. “It is interesting to watch how some players separate themselves from the rest of the group.
“The NHL plays at another level and you can’t make some of the mistakes we did tonight in certain areas
of the ice.”
To show the kind of effect that Canada’s Major Junior system has had on the pros, there were six former or current London Knights on the rosters for last night’s game.
Toronto’s contained Kadri, David Bolland and Ryan Ruppert. While Steve Mason, Stolarz and Zac Rinaldo were dressed for the American ‘visitors’.
These two clubs meet again on Monday at Air Canada Centre in Toronto as the Leafs tune-up schedule includes eight games over 14 days before opening the regular season Oct. 1 in Montreal.
The Flyers open their official schedule versus Toronto at home on Oct. 2.