Sunday, October 3, 2010


The Toronto Maple Leafs ended their pre -season against the Detroit Red Wings in a home and home affair.  Friday, the Leafs played poorly, with the exception of the top line.  A largely full NHL lineup for the Red Wings, was too powerful for the Maple Leafs penalty killing or young goaltender Jussi Rynnas, who was lit up in the 7 - 3 defeat.  Kris Versteeg was a wizard with the puck, as he set up Kessel's goal on the power play, as well as combining with Phil Kessel to set up Tyler Bozak for a one-timer in the slot.  On the Kessel power play goal, Versteeg took the puck on the half wall, circled the net and looked at all four other teammates before finding Phil Kessel.  Not once in the whole sequence did Versteeg look at the puck, he had his head up the entire time.  Mikhail Grabovski scored the third goal on a solo end to end  rush, in an otherwise un-inspired effort by the rest of the team.

The scene shifted to the Air Canada Centre for the rematch.  Detroit dressed mostly their AHL roster due to playing three games in as many nights, while the Leafs dressed what should be their opening night lineup, barring any unforeseen injuries. The usual suspects were key contributors for the Blue & White. Kessel had three assists, while Bozak and Versteeg both scored.  Clarke MacArthur scored the Leafs first goal of the game, on a beautiful setup by Grabovski, while Tomas Kaberle added some insurance on the way to a 4 - 2 win. Ron Wilson tried a new strategy on the power play by having Kaberle and Kessel at the points while captain Dion Phaneuf was parked in front of the net, screening the opposing net minder. The strategy was more then effective as three of the teams four goals came way of the man advantage.  The opening night roster is a few days from being officially announced, but I'd be shocked if it's drastically different from the team that took the ice Saturday night.  The Toronto Maple Leafs finished the pre - season with a winning record of  W- 5 L - 3 OT - 1, and will look to carry that winning momentum into the regular season, beginning Thursday October 7, 2010 at the Air Canada Centre, against our most hated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. 


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