The Toronto Maple Leafs survived blowing a 3-0 lead to beat the Red Wings in a shootout on the back of goals by Nikolai Kulemin, on his patented (only) move, and John (effin'!) Mitchell, with a rocket glove side. A brace by Viktor Stalberg and another goal from Nazem "I never want to go back to London" Kadri put the Leafs up 3-0 early in the second. But Ron Wilson didn't note that the Red Wings had a very strong squad out for nothing.
Last year's Stanley Cup Finalists seemed to be skating downhill after that as they piled up four straight goals including two 14 seconds apart by Johan Franzen. The mental mistakes that led to those goals were not punished, however, as Mikhail Grabovski jumped on a deflected shot by Kulemin and wired it through Chris Osgood's legs. There was one last breath-taking rush by Stalberg just before regulation ended but Tyler Bozak just couldn't finish off the pass.
Overtime solved nothing and the Leafs won a second straight shootout. This is clearly the pre-season. There was a lot of good in tonight's game. The Tlusty-Grabovski-Kulemin line showed an incredible amount of chemistry as they combined precision passing with excellent movement and forechecking. I think Wilson might have hit onto a combination that could get the best out of Jiri Tlusty. In addition, Carl Gunnarson had a hell of a steady game. He's not flashy but his positioning is strong and he uses his body well.
Wins in the pre-season are sometimes given short shift - check Twitter for about 1000 "Plan the Parade" jokes* - but as 1967ers pointed out the 1998-1999 Leafs rode a 7-2 record in the exhibition games into a trip to the conference final. Lightning's not likely to strike twice (understatement of the year) but with a young team it could go a long way towards helping get the season off to a good start.
So what did you guys like? What could have been better? This is your post-game instant reaction thread!