The First Fake Game is in the Books
The Senators took two penalties within the first five minutes preventing both teams from getting everyone an early shift. Dion Phaneuf threw a stiff bodycheck on a Senators forward. Perhaps a sign of things to come in the fact that Phaneuf was given a two minute penalty for a clean hit. Jared Cowan attempted to endear himself to both management and teammates by instigating an uneventful fight with the Leafs captain. Colby Armstrong capitalized on the Leafs second power play on a gorgeous feed from Jake Gardiner. Very odd seeing #24 and #51 in blue and white. Hopefully John Michael Liles and Jake Gardiner can exorcise the demons of Brian McCabe and Rickard Wallin. Speaking of Wallin, Jonas Gustavsson looked horrible in the first period. He's either rusty, or he wasn't able to learn how to follow the game over the summer. Kenny Ryan had a huge blocked shot and hit, if he can grow a mustache then Mike Brown will have competition. Plenty of giveaways on both ends, first preseason game and all. Joe Colborne and Matt Frattin were too slow and weak in the defensive zone. Big Colborne was stopped on a semi-breakaway, but his soft hands are hard to ignore. Senators ended the period on a power play.
Leafs begin the second by successfully killing off their first penalty of the preseason. Frattin stopped on a mini-break by Auld. Good speed shown by the college boy. Gardiner jumps into the offensive zone and draws a penalty on a good chance. His speed makes him a threat every shift. Tyler Bozak looks much more comfortable away from Phil Kessel. Nazem Kadri makes little three or four foot passes that create so much space for his linemates. Bad giveaway by Frattin in the defensive zone leads to Filatov setting up Cowan for the equalizer. No chance for Gustavsson on that goal. Robing Lehner comes in to replace Alex Auld while Ben Scrivens takes over for Jonas Gustavsson. Carl Gunnarsson makes an early statement in his quest to land a job on the Leafs blueline by wristing a shot past Lehner for the Leafs second power play marker on their fourth try. Great pass by Mikhail Grabovski to set up Gunnarsson. Good screen by MacArthur on the goal. Gardiner gets his second assist of the night on Gunner's first of the preseason. Apparently clean hits are now illegal as Jay Rosehill is penalized for taking out David Runblad. Either the Leafs penalty killing looks good, or the Senators power play looks bad as Rosehill steps out of the box. Scrivens is much more quiet and composed in the net than Gustavsson. Phillip Dupuis and Ryan demonstrate to Leaf fans what they've been missing on the penalty killing by getting down to block a shot as the period expires. Once again the Senators end the period on the power play.
Filatov makes Phaneuf look slow by blowing by him for a chance on net, but he is calmly set aside by Scrivens. Frattin with another giveaway at centre, leading to a Senators odd man rush. Some bad mistakes by the young Leaf tonight. Scrivens like James Reimer looks very composed between the pipes. Bozak capitalizes on a breakaway putting the Leafs up 3-1. Matt Lashoff, Gunnarsson and Keith Aulie all had a quietly effective night defensively. Jared Cowan with his second of the game thanks to a Clarke MacArthur deflection. Both teams glaringly running out of gas in the last ten minutes of the third. Bozak scores his second of the game to ice it as he put in a Phaneuf rebound. Soft play by the Senators in front as both David Runblad and Patrick Wiercioch watched Bozak swat at the loose puck.
Men of the Match
Leafs: Tyler Bozak - Unlike last season Bozak took advantage of the ice time he received by potting two goals and an assist. His finishing touch was on tonight, but his playmaking abilities from behind the net and sideboards are what caught my eye.
Senators: Jared Cowen - Potting both goals for the Senators the former first round pick (9th overall in 2009), had a good night offensively, while also sticking up for his teammates in the first period by instigating a fight with Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf.
The Leafs will take on the new and improved Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night.
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