For Joffrey Lupul's birthday, Ron Wilson decided to ice a team made up of most of the Leafs' regulars. The Lupul-Connolly-Kessel line looked dangerous, the MGK line was effective as usual, and Nazem Kadri showed us how to stick handle in a phone booth.
That the Leafs lost doesn't disappoint me too much, since it was a solid effort that saw the Leafs out-shoot the Sabres 34-33, with Ryan Miller putting up a wall on a few occasions to preserve the win.
James Reimer looked solid in net, and made a number of key saves, despite not getting much work in the second period, when the Sabres were limited to only 4 shots. I wouldn't pin either goal on him.
Jake Gardiner played 21:32, and looked very confident. He made safe plays, jumped into the rush at appropriate times (ARE YOU WATCHING, DION!?) and didn't take any dumb penalties.
Matt Frattin looks like he can play with the big boys, but it's going to take some time with the Marlies before we can determine whether he's a second or third-line player. He was the extra attacker that Ron Wilson put out in the final minutes of the game with Reimer pulled, and has been getting opportunities to shine, without producing much in the way of either disappointment or impression.
Team Clown Colton Orr took a stupid penalty early in the game and was generally useless from there on in. At this point, I just can't see how he's important enough to the success of this team to be on the opening night roster, but then, I won't be surprised if he's there anyway. At least if we only have one useless player dressing regularly this season, it'll be an improvement. Small victories.
Strange story: with only 22 seconds left in the third period, there was a scrum in the Sabres crease that started when Clarke MacArthur careened in for a loose puck and bumped Miller. It wasn't a dirty play, but Patrick Kaleta took the easy opportunity to make it a bigger issue. I'm not sure what on Earth happened, but somehow, John-Michael Liles wound up pulling Nathan Gerbe's jersey over his head.