Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This is a recording, the latest Toronto Maple Leaf pre-season two game set, this time with the Buffalo Sabres, saw both teams gain a victory. The Sabres gained the upper hand in the game in Buffalo with a 3 - 1 win. That game featured a Sabres squad full of NHL talent, playing their first exhibition game, against a Leaf team that was playing their fifth game in five nights. The Leafs dressed one of their most inexperienced rosters to date, and had it not been for the goal tending of Jonas Gustavsson and Jussi Rynnas, the score would have been that much worse. The only goal scorer for the Maple Leafs was Nikolai Kulemin, who scored on an offensive zone face-off after Grabovski won the draw.
I was in attendance for the second game at the Air Canada Centre, and saw my first live win in two seasons, as the Blue and White won a back and forth battle 5 - 4. The Leafs line-up was very close to what we will see on opening night, and the Leafs top players made the difference. Kessel and Kulemin scored two goals each, while Christian Hanson notched his first goal of the pre-season. I was really impressed with the top line of Versteeg, Bozak, and Kessel. That line is a scoring threat with all three players capable of scoring. Versteeg is something special with the puck on his stick. I haven't seen a Maple Leafs first line of this quality since the days that Gary Roberts, Mats Sundin, and Alex Mogilny played together. The second line was also solid with Kulemin, Grabovski, and MacArthur. Kulemin will provide the goalscoring on this trio, with Grabovski being the playmaker(yes, he can actually pass the puck), and MacArthur doing the gritty work to get those two the puck. I was also impressed with Luca Caputi, who is really making the most of this preseason, with his nightly effort in an attempt to make this team. Mike Brown has been a pleasant surprise. He won't score many goals, but he is tenacious, physical, and defensively conscientious on the penalty kill. The Leafs will continue to trim the roster to its final form in the final three pre - season games starting Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators at 7:30pm