Just 24 hours removed from taking the opening beating of the pre-season at the ACC, the Leafs returned the favor to the Sens last night, hammering 30 shots at hopeful Ottawa starter Brian Elliott, who played all 60 minutes in a 4-1 losing effort. The biggest difference tonight was the presence of the first line. For good portions of the game, when the Kulemin-Bozak-Kessel line came on the ice, you noticed the play swing from being a back-and-forth contest to the Leafs streaking down the ice and creating chances.
It was Kulemin that opened the scoring on a Toronto powerplay early in the first, a welcome sign after the Buds went a woeful 0-for-8 the night before. After Nick Foligno knotted the game at 1-1 with his 2nd goal in as a many games, Kessel put the Leafs ahead for good while on a 5-on-3 a bit later in the period, taking a pass from Jesse Blacker and snapping it home before Elliott knew it had left his stick. Continuing to capitalize on the man advantage, Luca Caputi drove to the net hard on the next shift and chipped in a rebound to make it 3-1.
Caputi probably felt pretty damn good about the work he did to improve his chances of making the Leafs last night, as he busted his ass all night long and reaped the benefits. Midway through the 2nd period, he took a dump in from Clarke MacArthur and walked it around an Ottawa defenseman before slipping it through the slot where Grabbo was able to flip it top corner. MacArthur finished the game with 2 assists, as did defensemen Francois Beauchemin and Jesse Blacker, who looked very comfortable for most of the game. Luke Schenn led all defensemen with 4 shots on goal and led all Leafs with 24:13 of ice time. Mike Komisarek also looked very solid in his first game in over 9 months, tossing Francis Lessard, a wannabe Ottawa enforcer, into Pierre McGuire’s box between the benches when Lessard ran him at one point.
The 3rd period was scoreless, which is as much a testament to Brian Elliott as it is to rookie goalie Ben Scrivens, who turned aside all ten shots he faced in his debut with the Blue and White. Although the game had already been lost, Elliott stopped all 13 Toronto shots in the 3rd, and he finished with 26 on the night.
No rest for the victors, as they travel to London to take on Billy Guerin and the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. The game will be shown live on the NHL Network, so you won’t have to hunt for a stream tonight if you wanna watch.