This is not a recording. The Ottawa Senators fired 74 shot attempts (37 of which were on goal) at the Leafs’ net, and if it weren’t for James Reimer’s brilliance, this game would’ve been over before it began. The Leafs made a game of it, battling back from a 3-1 deficit to come within one, and Nazem Kadri had a glorious chance as time was running out right in front of the net, but the rally fell short. Dion Phaneuf shot the puck from the point, the rebound went to Tyler Bozak on the side of the net who passed it to Kadri in front with a wide-open net. I’m still not even sure how that puck didn’t go in. Here’s the Game In Six from MapleLeafs.com:
Here are some other thoughts on tonight’s game:
Reimer Stands On His Head (Again)
As I already mentioned, Reimer was nothing short of terrific in this one. The Leafs were absolutely horrendous in their zone tonight and Reimer bailed them out on multiple occasions. The goals he let in were from a partial breakaway attempt by Zack Smith that snuck through his five-hole (probably had a lot to do with the new NHL-mandated equipment); a puck that deflected off Jim O’Brien’s skate after Reimer made a huge initial save (if it was a regular season game, the goal would have been reviewed and probably called back in my opinion); and a fluke bounce off Joe Colborne’s skate that went right to Colin Greening in the slot. This game induced a lot of violent flashbacks for me to last year when the Leafs just couldn’t get the puck out of their end. I’m not sure who will get the start in goal on opening night, but Reimer was back to his old tricks in this game.
Bozak Not So Good
Bozak is doing nothing to prove he’s worth anywhere close to the five-year, $4.2-million contract he signed this summer. He had a terrible sequence in the first period when he refused to shoot on a great opportunity and instead turned the puck over by attempting to pass to a covered David Clarkson. When the puck went back into the Leafs’ zone, he then gave the puck away again behind the net, leading to a Senators’ scoring chance. He had another play late in the game when he threw the puck into the slot in the Leafs’ zone trying to make a pass. Luckily, the puck ended up going out of the zone, but it was a risky pass nonetheless. He only played 14:52 and managed to get two assists, but his boxscore stats really don’t tell the story of how he played. The whole team was bad in their zone but Bozak was one of the worst.
Broll vs. Colborne?
I keep coming away from these preseason games disappointed in Colborne’s play. You always expect him to be better, but he usually ends up being invisible. Meanwhile, I like David Broll’s game a lot. He’s not a one-dimensional face-puncher by any means; the guy can skate. He could end up making the team on the fourth line, and it might be at the expense of Colborne. Maybe Colborne needs to drop the gloves a few times to grab Randy Carlyle’s attention.
LKK Line Doesn’t Do Much
Joffrey Lupul, Kadri and Nikolai Kulemin were put together on a line in practice after Sunday’s game and were kept together for this game. The line did some great things early, holding possession in the Senators’ zone, but otherwise they didn’t really do much. Kadri’s skating looks much improved, as he seems faster and stronger in his lower body. I like the idea of keeping this line together, but I was also expecting more from them this game, especially against a Senators’ team that featured mostly AHLers.